Blended Learning is How We Learn in the Future of Work

A blend of in-person, online, and virtual learning meets learners where they are at

The future of work series is based on the insights from my quantitative and qualitative research with ideas to think about your organization and a toolkit to take action on as a leader.  This theme focuses on how learning will work in the future of work.

Consistency is key for learning

The goal of most learning is to increase awareness and to help shape future behavior.  That is very difficult to do in a one-day training session, even with the world’s best facilitator.  The challenge with one and done, check the box training has always been a low impact on behavior change.  I have done a lot of one time training and always cringe a month later when I check in all to hear, “it was great, yet everyone is back to their regular routines and it is hard to see change.”

One and done training has never worked.  

It did not work because behavior change takes time.  It takes a series of intentional experiences to change behavior.  We do not change for change’s sake.  We change behavior when the learning meets us where we are at with content just in time to help in specific situations.

Effective learning starts with learning objectives.  Good learning objectives start with a strong verb like “develop,” “strengthen,” or “improve”  to clearly illustrate what successful outcomes look like.  A simple example might be “bolster emotional intelligence skills.”  Asking the audience simply, “what do you want to learn more about?” or “what skills would help you most in your role?” and build the learning objectives around those ideas.

Blended learning must be Interactive

I define blended learning as a blend of virtual content (live or online) with live in person content.  While we are likely to experience all virtual learning for the foreseeable future, live in person learning will still be needed.  The future is blended where both modes can be leveraged to reinforce learning over time.

Once you have decided the learning objective and committed to consistency, ask the team for input.  Do they like to learn online, virtually with a live facilitator, or in person live with a facilitator?  It likely is a blend of the three formats.  Play around with an approach that fits most of the learners’ needs.  

People learn visually (60%), hearing (15%), and by doing (25%).  Regardless of learning style, we know that adults often have to do something with the content to make it stick.  The stickiness factor of blended learning is a key advantage.  For example, learning can be facilitated live in person for those in the same vicinity, streamed online for others, and then virtually available to access as a recorded video later.  The content can be reviewed later, bite sized into small videos, emails, or activities and spread out over time to sustain learning beyond the classroom.

Craft scenarios, thought questions, or assessments to pack in interaction.

For blended learning to be successful, it must have interaction.  There are lots of options to get people engaged virtually and live, and even on a recording.  An accompanying activity guide or handout can be a safe place for learners to take notes and interact with the content.  Consider adding polls, break out rooms, and chat for virtual learning programs.

Blended learning facilitates accountability 

People will not apply learning unless they are held accountable.  Accountability with blended learning is magnified.  Through the ability to pare down complex topics into short videos and communications, the frequency increases retention and application.

For virtual streaming and learning management system platforms, measurement is a powerful tool.  Consider measuring completion rates, interactions on discussion boards, badges recognizing key achievements, and online assessment completions and rating differences before and after to measure success.  The return on investment with blended learning supports the business case for investment.

Gone are the days of learning not having a ROI.  Learning just got easier.

Toolkit to take action

Let this be an opportunity to pivot forward as a leader.  Get your team together virtually or live and be curious to learn from them.  Discuss how we use this as an opportunity to improve how we learn at work by asking:

  • OBJECTIVES:  What do we want to learn about (skills, topics, ideas)?
  • INTERACTION:  How do you prefer to interact when you are learning?
  • ACCOUNTABILITY:  How will we measure the success of the learning?

The future of work will not be the same.  There is no return to normal.  Blended learning will increase in the future of work.

This great pause is an opportunity to lead your team to success.  How are you going to take advantage of this opportunity?

If you liked this article, good news.  I created a future of work blog series and video series on the future of work.  You can find time to connect with me  1:1 to discuss ideas here.

We need our allies more than ever.  We will get through this together.  Because we are stronger together.

Message me with your thoughts at  I personally respond to every email I receive.