7 Minutes of reading
Blended learning: what does it mean for trainers?
The training sector is evolving in line with technological advances and neuroscience discoveries about learning. With it, the role of the trainer is being transformed, too. Gradually, trainers are evolving into digital learning project managers, tasked with staying on top of the latest teaching methods and adapting to them rapidly. It’s therefore not surprising that the effectiveness of a blended learning course partly depends on a trainer’s stance on digital learning, along with their ability to juggle in-person sessions and e-learning modules.
Adapting to any circumstances
Since distance learning arrived on the scene, trainers have had to rethink their way of doing things. Back in the day, trainers would have a standard timetable of classes where they would meet with one or several learners in person in a given location. Nowadays, though, they are having to learn to master new teaching methods.
In a blended learning course, for example, training can take the form of a virtual class, e-learning modules or even exchanges via a forum or chat. Faced with all of these new methods, blended learning trainers need to be able to offer learners an experience, rather than just a training course.
Mastering digital tools
Because, of course, digitalising training requires digital tools! E-learning has given rise to raft of new tools and other applications, meaning that training courses can be created more and more quickly. Trainers, or digital learning managers, need to be able to master these if they want to create an effective training course.
But what are the tools that blended learning trainers can’t do without, and what do these tools enable you to do?
a) An LMS platform
If you had to choose one tool over all the others, it would surely be this one. An LMS platform is practically indispensable if you want to manage and run a blended learning course without any hiccups. What’s more, it can help you to save a lot of time by automating the administrative chunk of training courses.
For digital learning trainers, an LMS platform is undoubtedly an ideal work tool as it allows them to release their training courses to a wide audience. Having an LMS platform also means that all teaching resources are accessible via a single platform.
And with a blended learning LMS, trainers can manage online modules and in-person sessions at the same time. For instance, they can organise virtual classes and even schedule face-to-face lessons directly from the platform.
For more information, why not consult our white paper and discover the right LMS platform for your company?
b) Virtual classes
As a key component of blended learning courses, virtual classes are an excellent way to train learners remotely while mixing up the learning formats.
By integrating virtual lessons into online training courses, digital learning managers can alternate between synchronous and asynchronous learning. With synchronous learning, learners and trainers meet at the same time and in the same location, either online or in-person (e.g., during face-to-face classes or virtual webinars). Asynchronous learning, on the other hand, is all about autonomy (e.g., learning via e-learning modules or forums). Presenting a variety of formats offers learners a comprehensive training package tailored to their learning needs.
However, a word of caution: hosting a virtual class is often harder than it seems. Often, trainers wrongly assume that what works in a face-to-face setting will work virtually. They forget that keeping remote learners engaged can be very challenging. This is because learners are less motivated and more easily distracted when learning online.
When hosting a virtual class, trainers should:
- pay attention to how they speak and come across to ensure that learners stay engaged;
- encourage participation by asking questions and planning group activities;
- bring lessons to life with polls and quizzes;
- promote interactions between participants through digital tools (e.g., by handing over to learners, using an interactive whiteboard, encouraging exchanges via the chat function, etc.).
c) An authoring tool
Blended learning trainers have to be able to juggle a lot of tasks. As well as hosting online communities on the LMS platform (forums, news feeds, etc.), tracking learners’ progress, organising virtual classes and scheduling in-person sessions, they need to know how to create e-learning modules.
Luckily, there are a number of tools, including authoring tools, that can make this easier. An authoring tool enables you to create teaching content. The trainer can put together a variety of formats (text, images, video, audio, quizzes) and use them to create a learning stage as part of a training module. A training course is made up of several modules strung together.
For example, let’s imagine we have a training course entitled “web marketing”. The course will comprise several modules, such as “an introduction to web marketing”. Each module will be made up of several training stages, such as a video, a fact sheet and a quiz, to check each learner’s knowledge.
With a blended learning course, the digital learning trainer can incorporate virtual classes and in-person lessons into each module.
To help them with this, they can use a range of tools and applications to create dynamic and engaging training courses!
Facilitating and hosting training courses
As their role evolves, trainers are now being expected to facilitate and host training courses. While they used to take centre stage in face-to-face training sessions, they are now having to step aside and make way for learners.
Distance learning increasingly means that learners are experimenting and learning by themselves thanks to new learning formats (such as collaborative learning and social learning). The role of the trainer is to give learners autonomy and facilitate peer-to-peer learning while remaining on hand, should they be needed.
If you’re wondering whether trainers are destined to become redundant as a result of digital training, you’d be wrong! Trainers still play a crucial – albeit slightly different – role in the training process by:
- identifying dropouts and encouraging them to keep going;
- supporting learners throughout their training course;
- bringing participants together;
- responding to learner queries and concerns;
and so on.
In summary, the role of a trainer has changed a lot since the 21st century – and the pace of change doesn’t seem to be slowing down.
Download our expert guide: 'learning in the flow of work' to discover more about blended learning and understand how to adopt a learning culture.