Instructor-led training remains one of the most used and most effective training modalities. And with the advent of hybrid learning, many training organizations are now able to continue to benefit from this powerful training modality while also benefitting from the potential cost savings and convenience of virtual learning.
Hybrid learning is a synchronous training modality where virtual participants are included in a live classroom environment. Utilizing advanced video conferencing and teaching tools, the remote learners receive the same interactive learning experience as in-class learners.
Beyond the logistical benefits of the hybrid training environment, many training organizations have found that the hybrid environment can significantly enhance instructor-led training courses.
Here are 5 ways in which hybrid learning can enhance instructor-led training.
Hybrid Learning Expands the Classroom
A physical classroom limits access to only those who can participate at a fixed time and location. Since a hybrid classroom includes live, virtual participation, you can expand the walls of the classroom to include geographically dispersed participants, allowing you to train more students at one time.
Course materials are often designed with an optimal number of learners in mind. By including remote learners, it is easier to meet this optimal class size—allowing for a more natural teaching environment and fewer adaptations and modifications on the part of instructors.
Interaction Between Remote and In-Class Learners
Not only is the ability to fill classes beneficial from a business standpoint, the ability to include virtual participants can enhance the overall learning environment by providing additional viewpoints and opportunities for students to learn from each other.
In-class interactions between learners can be one of the most valuable elements of instructor-led training. Class discussions and breakout activities can lead to considerable opportunities for students to learn from each other. Studies show that learners are more likely to retain what they are taught if they have opportunities to discuss material with other learners. These discussions help make the training more relevant to learners and allow them to talk through applied concepts. Interactive role-play activities can also assist in knowledge retention by providing opportunities for students to practice their newly acquired skills. Encouraging students to actually teach the material by presenting what they have learned to the rest of the class can also serve as a highly successful tactic to increase knowledge retention.
By allowing in-class and remote learners to interact with each other, the hybrid training environment increases the opportunities for this valuable student-to-student collaboration.
Advanced Teaching Tools
Many hybrid platforms provide advanced teaching tools that may not be available in a traditional classroom. Features like digital whiteboards, annotation and presentation tools and virtual breakout rooms can enhance the learning environment for both in-class and remote participants.
Natural Teaching Style
Many instructors have had the experience of teaching a traditional virtual instructor-led training (vILT) course. In the vILT model, the instructor provides synchronous instructor-led training to a completely remote audience. While there may be opportunities for learners to engage with the instructor via chat or digital messaging, much of the natural flow and interactivity of a live classroom is lost.
The disconnected nature of vILT can be a disservice for both the learners and the instructor. Instructors may feel as though they are serving as a host rather than a teacher, while learners will feel disconnected and less likely to remain engaged in the material.
Additionally, since instructors are not able to see the remote learners, they are not able to pick up on valuable visual cues that can let them know if learners are following the material or may need additional explanation.
In a hybrid training environment, instructors are able to teach naturally. They are in a classroom environment with live students. They are also able to see and interact with the remote learners, just as though they too were physically in the classroom—complete with the important visual cues that good instructors rely on.
Options for Virtual Guest Speakers
By removing obstacles such as geography, travel time and costs, the hybrid environment allows for a variety of options for remote guest speakers/lecturers. Senior executives can address a class without taking considerable time out of their schedule. You can bring in remote subject matter experts for all or part of the course. Co-presenters can help provide a more engaging learning environment and maintain participant attentiveness.
Because the hybrid modality is inherently interactive, learners are able to interact with these guest speakers just as though they were physically present, further enhancing the learning environment and knowledge retention.
Overall, hybrid learning offers unparalleled opportunity to expand and enhance instructor-led training, providing benefits for the training organization, instructors and learners.
Interested in learning more about whether your training program can benefit from a hybrid training environment? Download our complete guide today.