The existence of hybrid learning is, alongside Netflix’s Tiger King, one of the best things to emerge from the pandemic. In case you haven’t encountered it yet, it’s a gripping documentary about an eccentric zoo owner… sorry; let’s get back to hybrid learning delivery…
This term refers to an approach to personal and professional development that promotes the value of flexible learning; it’s about moving away from a major reliance on classroom setting in favour of online courses and resources that can be completed/consumed within the flow of work.
It’s called hybrid because learners don’t simply sit alone and in front of a screen until all learning activities are completed (although we suspect this option will appeal to some). Access to online resources is supplemented with virtual sessions and, where possible, face-to-face teaching.
Conduct even the most rudimentary research into the topic and you’ll quickly realise that hybrid learning, like the hybrid workplace, is here to stay. Dig a little deeper, and you’ll see why:
- It improves adoption: Time (or rather the lack thereof) is the perennial enemy of development. By giving learners control over how and when they interact, hybrid delivery methods have landed a fatal blow on the nemesis of teaching and learning.
- It’s highly effective: Online learning allows organisations to deliver knowledge at the exact moment it is needed — and alongside the work the learner is paid to perform.
- It saves money: Providing access to training videos is a lot cheaper than bringing everyone together for a seminar.
Suggested reading: Want some in-depth cost analysis? Check out this article on classroom training versus digital learning.
But there is also another reason that hybrid learning is likely to be the shape of things to come and that is the level of personalisation it offers. And personalisation, it seems, is the epiphany that learning and development (L&D) was waiting for.
How personalised content supercharges hybrid learning
“In other words, memories with personal meaning are most likely to become relational and long-term memories available for later retrieval. Student-centred learning can lead to mastery, because the lesson has personal meaning that they can see has the potential to increase their success and skill in achieving something they care about.” 1
If we were holding a microphone right now, we’d drop it and walk off smirking.
The hybrid model provides L&D professionals with an opportunity to connect learning material with organisational and individual goals like never before. This is not to say that face-to-face failed in this regard because that’s not true — and let’s not forget that in-person learning is still part of a hybrid strategy. It is, however, to say that a blended approach provides a level of flexibility and customisation that conventional methods cannot.
Personalisation can be introduced in two ways:
- The learning pathway: By this we mean the courses learners undertake, how they are accessed and the order in which they are completed. By ensuring that only relevant content is presented, L&D professionals can prevent their target audience’s mind from wandering. This can be done manually. However, in more advanced systems, machine learning and algorithms do the heavy lifting.
- The learning materials: L&D professionals can boost engagement by delivering tailored messages that also create the impression (real or otherwise) that the organisation has invested in the learner. This is not ready-to-go; this is bespoke curation/creation.
You would be forgiven for thinking that what you’ve just read about customisation sounds like a huge drain on resources. Truth to tell, it can be — but it can also be done by degrees.
Practical ways to personalise hybrid content
There are any number of minor interventions that can make learning material feel personal. These include:
- Adding branding and your own business goals to video content
- Enabling users to customise their LMS/LXP landing page
- Greeting the learner by name and relating a task to his or her goals
- Aligning courses with roles (money laundering regulations are Emma-from-accounting’s problem)
Still sounds like we’re talking about creating custom content from scratch? Wishing your budget-pocket was far deeper? Hold that thought.
How to bring personalisation into your hybrid learning strategy without breaking the bank
In days gone by, you had two choices when designing a learning experience:
- Purchase ready-to-go, rigid SCORM-compliant courses and tell colleagues to get cracking
- Generate expensive bespoke content from the ether and spend the rest of your days trying to keep it relevant
As you probably already know, an option at either extreme is rarely advantageous. Thankfully, there is now a secret option number 3: iFrames.
iFrames, in this instance at least, are best thought of as building blocks of high-quality video content. Through intuitive authoring programs, these videos can be embedded into trackable courses that you create in-house. This, essentially, is how they differ from anything that emanates from the SCORM world: you can use them in any order and manner you see fit.
Now, this is not to hammer SCORM — we produce SCORM-compliant content, so we understand its value. It’s just to say that you have more choices than you might expect.
Suggested reading: That acronym stressing you out? Check out this article on everything you need to know about delivering workplace learning.
The flexibility you get with iFrames also goes beyond the order in which you present information. You can add the likes of company logos and annotations, so the content delivers learning experiences that feel relevant to the end user. As an approach, it’s a great deal more human than ready-to-go solutions and it is an awful lot cheaper (and faster) than creating everything yourself.
The role of Video Arts in personalised hybrid learning
We expect that, given you’re here, you’re of above average intelligence. If we’re right, then we also anticipate that you’ve probably worked out that the core message for this article is: Video Arts can help you deliver personalised learning experiences that change learner behaviour.
What might surprise you, however, is that we are able to help you regardless of your approach. And by that we mean we can:
- Provide high-quality, SCORM-compliant, ready-to-go material
- Produce bespoke video content so good learners will be left wondering if you’ve already blown next year’s budget
- Grant access to scores of iFrame content that opens the door to personalisation without inviting financial ruin over the threshold
The best part? They all feature BAFTA-winning comedians and genuinely hilarious scripts. Probably time you dropped us a note.
1Judith Willis, M.D., Research-Based Strategies to Ignite Student Learning, p20