Today, we see a complete paradigm shift in the corporate learning and development (L&D) function, going from formal classroom based training to today’s technology-based online training, nudging us to build more interactive, intuitive and agile learning environments that have the potential to deliver and engage learners in multiple formats. This need has evolved into an integrated type of Blended Learning approach which offers flexibility to address different learning needs and constraints posed by the content and the learning outcomes.

Mixing delivery and interaction modes in employee training as a practice has existed even before the advent of online learning. As the technologies evolved, so did the multitude of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) tools available to design and support employee L&D. Most prominent of these tools has been and continues to be, the Learning Management System (LMS). An LMS incorporates all best practices for both, online and onsite environment, to impart efficient, effective and engaging learning (depending on the way it is used). An organization, irrespective of the size or location, can leverage an LMS for Blended Learning in order to nurture its precious talent for mutual growth.

Here are some current trends added to the topic highlighted earlier, to bring you a fresh perspective:

LMS for Blended Learning: From the Administrator’s perspective

  • Streamlined training process

The Cloud-based LMS has empowered the training administrator with new possibilities in Blended Learning. It can automate routine tasks like course enrollment, assignment and more. Similarly, it streamlines course planning, uploading content and schedules, delivering in synchronous or asynchronous modes, reporting, and related tasks. The added functionality of creating multi-portals, each with its own brand, makes the centralized administration of your organization-wide, online and onsite training, easy and fast.

  • Engaging and motivating learning

Blended learning, now being empowered by technological advances like Artificial Intelligence (AI) in modern LMSes, has enabled administrators to design more immersive and engaging learning experiences while automating mundane and repetitive tasks. Automatic course tagging feature of the AI powered LMS gives a personalized learning experience while creating a pool of relevant course content.

The Responsive design of an LMS makes learning possible anywhere, anytime and on any device. New training delivery strategies like microlearning, which use smartphone technology provide self-motivated and un-interrupted learning environment.  

  • Power of Integration

Gone are the days of formal classroom/traditional trainings which have limited attendance and training reach. Welcome in the power of third-party integration of modern LMSes, taking Blended learning to newer horizons. Integration with videoconferencing tools like GoToMeeting, can transform your onsite training via virtual classrooms.

Other integrations like Single Sign On (SSO) accept a single set of login credential across all your digital properties, making the administration task much easier. In addition, API and Plugins allow you to extract learners’ data, course information, users’ enrollment, and system management.

  • Scalability

Modern SaaS LMSes are highly scalable. You can easily scale up or down the system depending on the usage without worrying about system downtime. For an administrator, it takes a huge load off their shoulders as the platform and infrastructure requirement for scaling the system is the responsibility of the vendor. Users and Data scalability is a sensitive aspect for an administrator, as huge cost is involved in the design and delivery of an organization level training program. As the organizations expand beyond borders, you can also harness the scalability feature of SaaS LMS to meet future growth in L&D.

  • Data Security

Blended Learning activities use and generate sensitive and confidential information, user data, training resources and other content that must be kept absolutely secure else there could be serious implication. Although a Cloud-based LMS may seem to be counterintuitive to the administrator, given that the data repository is stored online, most of the SaaS LMSes today utilize cutting edge technology to attain the highest level of security standards. While no solution can be 100% secure against all possible vulnerabilities, the benefits of leveraging an LMS continue to outweigh the risks.

LMS for Blended Learning: From the Learners’ perspective

  • Flexible access to training resources

Blended Learning is still going strong and will continue to do so considering the learners’ perspective. Depending upon the content and the training outcomes, some training require a formal classroom setup while others would be better off taken online. An LMS supports both the formats beyond restrictions of space, time and pace. LMSes are constantly evolving to deliver intuitive yet attractive User Interface (UI), easy to navigate and supportive User Experience (UX), to ensure high learner engagement.

  • Learning on the Go

A Responsive LMS of current times has made learning accessible both inside and outside of the organization by extending its desktop version to other devices like tablets and smartphones. This functionality makes learning seamless for users, like sales people, who are constantly on the move for their day-to-day tasks.

  • Assessments & Reports

Embedding assessments in an LMS is crucial to implement Blended Learning. It works alongside the personalized learning path by revising the roles of instructors and learners, their relations and practices. Assessing learner participation, performance and course completion rates help the instructor in identifying knowledge and skill gaps to reconstruct the plan while assisting the learner to modify his pace or learning approach.

  • Gamification

An LMS with Gamification functionality makes corporate learning more interesting by offering challenges and rewards. It can help with grasping abstract topics by making them look more lively and real. For a learner this tool creates a better environment and increases engagement.

  • Social Learning

An LMS offering social learning support for learners among their peer groups as well as bottom-up interaction and suggestion, makes its training programs more attractive and engaging. Social learning features like Online Communities, Discussion Boards, and Chat Groups among others enable an informal learning environment which generally increases the level of interest, attention, and motivation. Hence L&D professionals can improve the quality and experience of their Blended Learning programs by leveraging an LMS.

These are some of the most common and compelling reasons that organizations cite for leveraging an LMS for Blended Learning. We believe that Blended Learning truly is the way ahead for organizations in the wake of global technological advancements as it can effectively bring about the power of new learning channels. And when backed by a state-of-the-art Learning Management System, it delivers a rewarding learning experience that drives more results than the other traditional methods.

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