According to Brandon Hall Group, a massive 91% of organisations use at least one learning management system (LMS), with 8% using more than three! It is clear that the LMS sits at the heart of the vast majority of learning programs – and what many organisations don’t realise is that the LMS is your secret weapon when it comes to supporting blended learning.

In Brandon Hall Group’s Learning & Development 2019 report, organisations say that it takes an average of 70.6 hours to create a face-to-face training class, and 100.9 hours to create an e-learning course. But of course, once an e-learning course is created, it can be reused time and time again with only minimal maintenance. There is much more administration work associated with in-person training, whether that’s finding trainers, booking venues, arranging travel etc. That’s where the LMS comes in.

Why blended learning is so effective?

As we know, different people learn differently. Some people thrive in collaborative environments where they work with their peers to solve challenges, while others prefer to explore a topic independently online. No matter how someone prefers to learn, it’s a good idea to provide content in a range of formats for different purposes.

For instance, if you want to teach a group how to use new equipment, you may first provide this information in an e-learning module. This can then be supplemented with a face-to-face session where learners can ask questions and try out the equipment in-person, followed by a range of on-the-job performance support resources, such as short explainer videos, checklists and instruction manuals.

A multi-channel, multimedia approach is ideal for ensuring new information sticks, and means that learners can tailor their learning to their needs.

The best LMS features to support blended learning

In learning management systems, for example, Totara Learn, you can find seminar management features to help schedule in-person and online training sessions. This could include everything from face-to-face practical sessions to seminars with experts and live online webinars and discussions. Seminar management allows you to manage the booking, attendance and resource allocation processes within the LMS, and link this to participants’ learning plans.

Programs allow you to categorise all learning under a specific topic for easy access and completion. For instance, your health and safety program may contain e-learning modules, a face-to-face first aid seminar and easy-access mobile resources. This is a great way to help people quickly access everything they might need on a topic in a structured way.

Activity types enable you to build media-rich courses by adding activities such as watching videos, downloading presentation notes or accessing files. These activities, used alongside SCORM e-learning and seminars, ensures that everyone benefits from a diverse range of content types and formats to suit a variety of circumstances.

How to launch your blended learning program

Launching a blended learning program should follow the same best practices as any learning launch – that means sending regular reminders, keeping people in the loop about new content and providing support to help people get to grips with the program.

But with all the components of a blended learning program, why not get a bit creative? You could create teaser gifs out of your video content, include single components of the blend in your internal employee newsletters and print infographics out as posters to display around the workplace. You should have ample content in your blend to support an ongoing internal marketing campaign, and you can even use the testimonials of people who have accessed the program to help promote it to even more learners.

Make it dynamic

The beauty of blended learning is that your offering can constantly evolve. The key to the success of any blended learning program is keeping an eye on your learning analytics. The data should reveal which components are working well and which aren’t, which should then guide what people find valuable and what you can deprioritise.

For example, if a lot of people are accessing your video content, you can consider allocating more resources to creating more videos. If your PDFs aren’t attracting much attention, you may decide to stop producing them or to explore why they’re not performing well.

Every blend will look different, and opting for a flexible learning management system like Totara Learn is vital to ensure that your blended learning is always supported, accessible and adding real value to your organisation and people.