Friday 24th November 2017
By Michelle Hammond
Many people ask me about the benefits of ‘Online’ Learning. Coming from a vocational background, where my hands always led my head, and where my methods for training and developing the team were always based on ‘doing’, rather than theory. I have to confess to initially being adversed. After all, the world of Spa & Wellness is a ‘People’ business like no other, right!. So how could online learning ever replace physical and practical training?
Well, first let me eradicate one of the biggest ‘myths’…as people often think to make a decision to progress with one, they have to forsake the other. But of course that’s not true and really wouldn’t make sense at all. Actually the ideal, and the route shown to generate the most consistent results is what we like to call a ‘Blended Learning’ approach. That means when and where practical, efficient and most effective we take the learning ‘online’, and where most relevant and beneficial we take it in to the classroom, or in to the treatment room, or onto the gym floor, behind the reception desk or through the offices – ‘in’ our business and face to face.
The reality is, irrelevant to the delivery methods and styles of ‘teaching’ used – the biggest priority is not to determine whether the training is ON or OFF line, but to determine:
1) The key learning objectives and outcomes
2) The time those objectives and outcomes need to be materialised
3) Where the business / individuals are now in relation to the key learning
Once these three primary points have been defined. Then and only then, can we collaborate to create the most relevant, results focused and effective training programme or resources that deliver the physical results and essential return on investment.
When Coaching, before you can help anyone determine how to get where they want to go (B). You have to first truly understand where they are now (A). Once you know the ‘A to B’ it becomes much easier to assess and evaluate the possible routes available and to then select the most time efficient and cost effective options that deliver the greatest results.
So coming back specifically to the context of online learning, we often find once we have taken a moment and drilled down to establish the ‘reality’ of where our clients are in relation to where they want to be with a performance area of their business. We can work very swiftly to create a ‘Blended Learning’ outcome that is most relevant and right for them. This may see online learning being used a means to ‘pre-prepare’ the group for ‘practical’ classroom / onsite training. So as the practical training and efficiency of the trainer can be more effective from the offset. Varying levels of ability and understanding can dramatically decrease and dilute the effectiveness of classroom training.
As time is often a factor, online modules enable a larger group of individuals to be taken through a training that otherwise may have been unfeasible logistically or impossible financially.
Online learning can be super effective at evaluating individual employees understanding of key business areas, enabling senior managers and in-house trainers to work more appropriately for the development of the unique individuals within the teams. This is particularly beneficial with a diverse mix of personalities, large teams, teams across varying properties, continents and with varying cultures etc…
Of course ‘online learning’ is itself often misunderstood. As some have ideas of bulk text on screen, pdf’s, long boring tutorials or outdated, unrelated ‘blanket’ topics.
However, in today’s rapidly advancing world of technological possibilities – the scope of what constitutes online learning and it’s flexibility and diversity is unlimited. It can be as creative, engaging and encompassing as your imagination can conceive and know longer needs to be complicated or hindered by past misconceptions. Online learning can frequently combine elements of video, graphics, audio, gaming, imagery, text, interactions, downloads, quizzes, pop-ups, virtual reality, role play, Q&A, simulation and beyond.
We’ve seen phenomenal teaching dispelled in anything from a 6 second vine, a 3 minute flash tutorial, through to modules we’ve recently created and developed deliberately as ten minute modules, to be accessed by therapists in their 15minute gaps or ‘learning’ space. Right the way through to advanced accredited hundred plus hour programme drip fed over weeks, months and even sometimes years.
Just as we’ve seen and delivered effective face to face training from within a classroom, at a seminar, walking the treatment corridor, helping out behind the desk, morning meetings, learning lunches, mentoring management and being ‘in and around’ the business.
Remember, first comes defining the learning outcomes: Think: ‘what do you want your team to be able to do better or differently? how will this look and feel within your business? Where are they now in relation?and when would you like / need to see the change?.
Then and only then can you look to create the most effective ‘blended learning’ solutions that deliver inline and on-track for you, your team and your business.
To learn more about Blended Learning contact Michelle directly.
You can also join in the conversation over on our facebook page Spa Business School’s Facebook Page and #BeTheDifference