The Blended Training Model
Lab Manager - July 9, 2012
Budget cuts force companies to spend every dollar effectively, and training, especially when it requires travel, is often the first line item slashed. Cuts in continuing education can have a negative effect on a company’s bottom line. A proficient staff builds an overall sense of achievement among the employees, leading to increased productivity and innovation in the workplace. A staff trained to operate equipment properly can offset maintenance costs. Specialized equipment, such as research-grade microscopes, become mere inventory without the proper training required to use them.
Allowing staff members to attend off-site training programs can pinch productivity while depleting ever-shrinking training budgets. We sympathize with managers who face the temporary loss of an employee and the impact that has on meeting output goals. We have found that using a “blended learning” approach, one that augments classroom training with online resources accessed from the student’s lab, seems to work well.
Student feedback regarding the blended learning model at Hooke College of Applied Sciences has been overwhelmingly positive. Students comment that the post-course activities helped reinforce the concepts and practices learned during the course. Students are incorporating course information into their day-to-day work and standard operating procedures and using some of the online exercises as internal proficiency examinations for their colleagues. Inspired by this feedback, we wanted to share our experiences thus far with our blended model so others may benefit.