Photo by: Annie Spratt via Unsplash
Instructional Designers are constantly faced with the challenge of putting together solid performance-based training that sets learners up for success on the job. Their real-world circumstances are often less than ideal as they are consistently asked to work their magic with tight and unrealistic constraints. As training professionals, we know there is no magic wand, but we do have choices. One of those choices is blended learning. It offers the instructional designer a variety of strategies to choose from to help solve the complexities of the work environment’s training needs. There is no perfect blend of strategies, but there is a 3-step process we explore in our Blended Learning workshop that helps simplify the decision-making process.
Step 1: Identify Constraints
Before you choose a core strategy, like traditional instructor-led training or e-learning, you must first identify the instructional design constraints you are facing (e.g. time, budget, organizational mandates/policies, technical, design, etc.). This is a critical first step.
Step 2: Select Strategy
Once you have identified your constraints, it is time to consider the best core strategy (or strategies) that is most feasible for the type of content you are designing for. Will it be a traditional strategy, an e-learning strategy, or a combination? Not only do you need to assess the type of content, you will also need to consider other key factors such as the location of the learners, available resources, and deadlines, along with their implications.
Step 3: Consider Performance Support Activities
Unfortunately, we don’t live in an ideal world. Due to tight constraints, the instructional designer may need to incorporate Performance Support Activities (PSA’s) to support the core training strategy solution. While there’s a wide variety of PSA’s, some of the most common are coaching sessions, assigned reading, and group discussions and assessments.
Remember, there is no perfect blend. If you would like to explore best practices and dig a little deeper into the available strategies and options, I encourage you to register for our Blended Learning workshop. You may discover the ideal blend for you!