Blended Learning: The Benefits of Combining In-Person Training With Online Education

We’ve already discussed how training and development is one of the smartest investments an organization can make. It can help your business not only pull ahead of the competition, but also increase employee engagement, satisfaction, and retention.

So what’s the best way to deliver a new training program or development course? Both in-person and online education offer distinct benefits. For example, technology allows organizations to provide dynamic training modules that employees can take at any time, whether as new hires or as a refresher or upskilling opportunity for existing employees.

However, the convenience of technology doesn’t necessarily mean companies should offer training only in digital formats. In fact, in-person education can provide many benefits that online methods simply don’t offer. As an article published by Purdue University explains:

Surely human interaction can never be replaced. Without extensive technology, employees are driven towards communication with each other and the instructor, and some knowledge can only be gained through conversation… Corporate training seminars should not only instruct attendees, but also invite them to interrelate with their fellow employees and gain wisdom through the learning process.

Because in-person and online training methods both offer distinct benefits, the perfect balance is a mix of the two. Let’s take a look at what that mixture might look like at your organization.

Immersive, Instructor-Led Training

Some of the most memorable learning opportunities happen when subject-matter experts are present with your workforce to provide hands-on, collaborative learning.

At The Software Guild (TSG), we believe classroom sessions should be:

  • Comprehensive and tailored to your business and industry, with relevant resources and examples.
  • Based on learning skills, not theory. Employees should be able to develop their craft so they can take what they learn today and apply it tomorrow.
  • Led by instructors who are industry professionals and successful programmers, with diverse backgrounds ranging from successful startups to Fortune 500 companies.

Digital Learning Aids

Digital learning aids are online materials that employees can view and interact with either while the subject-matter expert is present or after a training session. Technology can help ensure that employees are able to implement what they’re learning in the classroom in real-world scenarios. What’s more, online or digital exercises allow instructors to provide immediate feedback during a session or ongoing feedback later on.

For example, at TSG, our instructional design team creates content that is relevant to our partners’ businesses, helping employees engage with applicable exercises that enhance their skills. When TSG upskilled application engineers at a Fortune 100 insurance company, we partnered with the company’s leadership to create job-specific exercises about insurance claims.

The TSG community also offers follow-up support to graduates in the form of online channels and communication methods. That way, students benefit from ongoing support from TSG as they embark on the next stage of their professional journeys.

The Benefits of Blended Learning

Teamwork starts with team learning.

You wouldn’t want to just teach your employees how to play guitar; you’d want them to be able to play in a band. That’s why immersive, in-person training blended with digital learning aids should be designed with your team in mind. Employees should work together to learn both hard and soft skills, discuss material, ask questions, and build applications from beginning to end. The learning process should mimic the process your developers will use in the workplace as they build applications to run your enterprise.

What’s more, people tend to learn best by doing. That’s why employees should have as much practice time as possible. People do best when training opportunities allow them to use the technology they’ll use in the real world so they can practice new skills, try new things, face problems they will encounter during their work, and fail in a safe environment. With real-world labs and exercises, employees shouldn’t be repeating what they learned just to pass a test; they should learn by doing.

Last but not least, training shouldn’t simply be for training’s sake. Every topic covered in the classroom and reinforced via online methods should help your developers solve real-world problems that your organization is facing. At TSG, we choose applicable use cases for practice and teach students how to build software from idea and requirements through design and application. By coding along with our instructors, employees learn how to solve problems together.

Discover the solution that’s ideal for your business growth:

  • Upskilling: if your employees are going to keep up with the technical skills relevant to their jobs, they’re going to need to upskill. 
  • Reskilling: instead of waiting for older workers to retire and new entrants to make the transition, more and more members of the current workforce need to be reskilled.
  • Staffing: Your business has a specific way of doing things, so finding someone who is a technical and cultural fit for your existing team is paramount. 
  • Onboarding: When new employee onboarding is done correctly, it leads to increased organizational commitment, higher job satisfaction, better performance levels, decreased turnover, and lowered stress.