How to create effective blended learning for your healthcare organization
Blended learning is a great way to take your education programs to the next level and train and effectively educate geographically dispersed teams and customers. But if you're new to blended learning, it can be intimidating.
It's also important to remember that blended learning doesn't mean that there is no longer a place for face-to-face training or on-location customer support—it just means that blended learning adds another layer of flexibility for learners who need access to materials anytime, anywhere.
Here are 3 Strategies:
Here are three strategies for success that we've seen work in our healthcare clients' learning, development, and customer education programs:
Don't reinvent the wheel—start with what you have
Most organizations’ most valuable assets are their Subject Matter Expert employees. We recommend taking a step back and partnering with your internal experts and thought leaders first. Your internal experts will likely have valuable insights into what's working well (or not) in your organization and ideas on improving currently inefficient processes. They'll also know what topics resonate with your audience and why they matter. They can also serve as the face of your digital learning content so new employees or customers can start to develop relationships within your organization. Also, take an inventory of your existing learning content. Decide what works well and what needs to go back to the drawing board. Provide in-person learning only when it adds value to interact and collaborate – not for laying educational foundations. Collaboration is key to building shared understandings, relationships, and trust. Also, face-to-face experiences encourage a shared sense of purpose and feeling like part of a community.
Know what your goals are and how they align with the needs of learners
Blended learning solutions are about getting the right content to the right people at the right time. But, if you don’t clearly understand what your learners need to learn and why then you’re not going to be able to ensure they get it. That’s why we recommend that Instructional Designers take an outcomes-focused approach. That means working with leadership and stakeholders to complete a needs analysis. A needs analysis helps you gain a clear understanding of the business needs and drivers as well as the expected business and performance outcomes. It also lets you figure out how much time your learners need to spend on each piece of content before moving on to something else. Once you have all this information, use it to inform the learning objectives, solution design, and subsequent content curation and creation. And be discerning when it comes to the content—only include it in the blended learning program if it aligns with the outcomes and objectives!
Allocate Budget and Create Custom Digital Content for High-Value/Impact Learning
If you have room in your budget to develop custom content, we recommend identifying where and how it can add the most value for money to your organization. Invest in developing and distributing custom eLearning content for your employees' and customers’ most essential functions and competencies.
Be sure to develop a process for identifying high-value content; some things to think about:
Is this educational content necessary for the day-to-day success of our employees?
Do our customers need engaging and easy access to learning materials that allow them to best use our products confidently?
How will this affect customer satisfaction?
What are our competitors offering?
Can you demonstrate an ROI for the custom content? For example, decreased travel expenses, improved product adoption, or more efficient teams? Customized eLearning can be more effective because it is designed specifically for your audience, which makes it more likely to resonate with them and drive actionable change. Customized eLearning empowers employees by giving them access to information they need at their fingertips to be more self-sufficient in their roles. If you need help with specifics on budgeting for custom eLearning, check out this pricing guide:
Blended learning models are likely the best way forward for today's knowledge worker. Combining both classroom-based training and online learning affords an extent of flexibility that's hard to beat. And while it may seem more expensive to create custom eLearning content, in the long term, it will save money—and time—that would be lost from content that is not engaging or helping reach educational goals.
About The Author
Anna Williams is an experienced healthcare industry project manager with an interest in increasing learner engagement with digital learning experiences.