There is a long list of different training modalities available to enhance your employee’s learning and development experience. However, even with the abundance of options, instructor-led training (ILT) continues to be the preferred method. In fact, in a recent research report on learner preference by Training Industry, Inc. 55% of learners prefer ILT as their training method if given the option.[i] Although ILT certainly is beneficial for many reasons, it’s not the only method that can deliver successful training.
With many organizations having more remote employees, ILT poses a larger challenge for training that includes all employees. So, how is it possible to train the entire company, keep costs down, and still accomplish all desired outcomes? One answer could be hybrid classrooms.
What is A Hybrid Classroom?
A hybrid classroom is an expansion of ILT training. This method of training allows for virtual learners to be fully engaged in training that is happening in person anywhere. “The hybrid classroom looks much like a typical classroom, except the last row of the room comprises remote attendees who appear as videoconferencing squares on large monitors. These participants can see, hear, and interact with both the instructor and in-class peers.”[ii] Simply put, it’s a combination of the strong components of eLearning and ILT.
This type of flexibility in training can be extremely beneficial for employees and can also improve engagement. In a survey of 150 senior-level corporate executives, 90% said that flexible workplace strategies help organizations meet business goals. Additionally, in a two-year study of 1,400 workers, 70% of managers and 87% of workers report that workplace flexibility increased productivity.[iii]
Why a Hybrid classroom?[iv]
- Cost-effective: Hybrid classrooms eliminate any travel costs since remote employees do not need to travel to participate in the ILT course. Also, because travel is reduced, productivity increases. Work time is not spent traveling, and one training is usually all it takes to cover the entire audience, which makes for minimal work interruptions.
- Broader reach: Hybrid classrooms bring all the benefits of ILT, but can effectively train global organizations. “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.”[v]
- Increased flexibility: Once again, since travel is not expected, there is much more flexibility in scheduling an office-wide training.
- Increased engagement: With employees located around the world, it can sometimes be a challenge to interact with co-workers. Hybrid classrooms allow for remote employees to participate in small group activities and other interactive activities, making it easier to work together. This ultimately leads to increased overall learner engagement, enhancing the learning experience.
Before planning any training initiative, it’s important to understand your objectives and know your audience. A hybrid classroom isn’t always the correct training delivery method. However, “as more training professionals are challenged to do ‘more with less’ for their employee training, hybrid learning just might be the answer.”[vi] Hybrid classrooms really add a level of enrichment to traditional ILT classes for the trainers, the learners, and the entire organization.