3 Takeaways from Hybrid Learning: Why We’re Talking About it Now

In our new podcast The Secret Society of Success, we talk with Ann Rollins of The Ken Blanchard Companies about what hybrid learning is and why it is important now.

Published on 24 May, 2022 | Last modified on 17 May, 2024
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This week, we launched a brand new podcast, The Secret Society of Success: Lessons and Inspiration from Corporate L&D. In our first season, we’re focusing on hybrid learning. So we kicked things off by interviewing Ann Rollins, Chief Solutions Architect at The Ken Blanchard Companies, about what hybrid learning is and why it is important to discuss now.

Here are three key takeaways you’ll hear in the episode:

Definitions are Fluid (Concepts are Universal)

At the start of each episode, we ask our guest to define hybrid learning. For Ann and The Ken Blanchard Companies, hybrid learning is a specific use case that combines in-person and virtual learners in a single simultaneous classroom experience. Meanwhile, they use the term blended learning to refer to training delivered wherever and whenever the learner needs it.

As we’ll explore in later episodes, other definitions of hybrid learning are more broad, encompassing a learning strategy that employs multiple delivery methods for any one program. 

While practitioners may quibble over which term to use when, one universal theme emerges: a learning strategy that leverages multiple delivery channels is essential to post-2020 corporate training. In the case of the Ken Blanchard Companies, Ann shared that her team is tasked with training leaders who work on a warehouse floor at ten at night as well as leaders with only a brief lunch break at their desk. Learners and practitioners alike recognize the need to meet learners’ needs with content at the right time and in the right place: now the only question is how to achieve that.

Why Hybrid (or Blended) Learning Matters Now

When Ann joined The Ken Blanchard Companies at the start of 2020, 90% of their leadership training was designed for face-to-face delivery. The pandemic forced them to completely retool their content so that two years later, 92% of their programs are designed for blended delivery. 

Ann emphasized that this is not unique to Blanchard. In early 2020, the majority of L&D professionals were forced to make rapid changes in order to accommodate remote learners. This included changing every process in design and delivery, adding technology partners, and reskilling facilitators. 

Since the change happened so rapidly, many L&D professionals admit that they would convert content differently today, if they could. According to Blanchard’s 2022 L&D in a Hybrid World report, 59% of L&D professionals want to improve their training to include more learner engagement, 54% want to add more social interaction, and 46% want to rework their training content to exist inside their learners’ flow of work. 

What this shows is that corporate L&D moved mountains in 2020, and now is the time to revise and optimize that work.

How to Get Started

It’s only fair that for a podcast series about hybrid learning, we provide a hybrid experience. Ann shared several useful resources (which we included in the episode show notes) including worksheets and content ideas to help you map out ways to revise your current training content. 

Overall, she recommends using a design thinking approach. Who is this learning designed for? What behavior do you want to change, and what will it look like if your training is effective? By keeping the persona and realistic outcomes in mind, you will be able to design training that fits into your learners’ workflow and achieves your stakeholders’ objectives. 

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