How Remote and Blended Learning Are Changing Education This Year

How Remote and Blended Learning Are Changing Education This Year

Remote and blended learning are not new concepts. For years, students of all ages have been exposed to classroom concepts using online platforms for many reasons: geographic location, accelerated or specialized educational needs, or unfavorable school experiences (like bullying or a lack of resources for those with certain disabilities).

But what is blended learning? And how does remote learning fit in? Let’s take a look at how the act of learning has changed this year.

What is Blended Learning?

Blended learning is the combination of different digital content and activities with face-to-face learning. The beauty of blended learning is the ability for each child, class, school, and institution to customize the education to their preferences and needs. Remote and blended learning can not only offer several different tools for learning the same material, but blended learning can also accommodate those who need that personal connection.

Whether it’s 50/50 or 90/10 online vs. in-class learning, a blended approach can be tailored to fit any schedule and even be used to foster progress and education during a global pandemic. The TCEA (Texas Computer Education Association) has a great infographic that breaks down the tech side of blended learning.

The 2020 Effect

2020 has given rise to many different educational solutions for the unique landscape that’s been created by COVID-19. There are so many technology solutions that can be used for hosting educational courses and projects, it is overwhelming to think about.

Fostering Creativity

In an article from The Conversation’s Blog, one huge benefit to remote and blended learning is their ability to foster creativity and critical thinking. There is no one-size-fits-all model anymore: specialization is now being accepted as the best way for children (and adults) to really grasp the concepts they are learning.

Allowing students the ability to harness different technologies to create presentations and complete projects reinforce the lessons being taught. It also creates a passion for these ever-changing online and virtual tools.

Remote Learning Hedges Out Blended Approaches

In recent news, many K-12 and post-secondary schools prepared all summer for a half-and-half model where students would be in the classroom on certain days and learning from home for the rest of the week. But as COVID-19 cases surged during the weeks leading up to the start of the school year, many ended up scrapping those plans and incorporating a remote approach to keep their students and staff safe.

As remote and blended learning gain prominence in the classroom and the workplace, there are many options out there for you to access education safely and effectively. Meet Me In The Cloud has a solution for every preference – from onsite training to a host of e-learning courses.

What Back-to-School Can Teach Us About E-Learning

What Back-to-School Can Teach Us About E-Learning

As we send our children back to school (from K to college-age), we are acutely aware of how different Back-to-School 2020 will be. Many schools and workplaces that had planned (near the beginning of the summer) to be back to pre-COVID operations by now are slowly migrating some or all of their functions to a more permanent, virtual home.

Melanie Kitchen, in an interview with Cult of Pedagogy – a business sharing insights for preparing and supporting teachers and educators – said of this new virtual schooling: “All of these things that are really good practices can still be done virtually. It just might look a little different.”

So what does this new virtual learning landscape look like? According to Kitchen, there are two areas of focus: instructional design and community building/communication. For the sake of this piece, we’ll be looking at how certain back-to-school preparations can help you, your staff, and your business transition more smoothly to more permanent e-learning and virtual operations opportunities.

Instructional Design

The first and biggest takeaway from this new era in e-learning is that educational content needs to be simplified and slowed down. This means asking some big questions like: What knowledge is essential? Are there concepts or learning tools that can be harnessed over multiple content areas of online education or virtual office procedures? Having access to streamlined e-learning resources can not only help any student learn faster and build confidence but stripping away the excess can often mean the information learned is kept and used for much longer.

Ease of Use and Multimodality

Secondly, Kitchen says, instructions should be “easy to find, explicit, and multimodal.” But what does that mean? For teachers, it means creating user-friendly projects and assignments that take into account the added difficulty of finding help and project materials in each student’s vastly different home environment.

For businesses looking to educate their staff? This means sharing access to these materials in easily accessible places on your VPN or intranet networks. It also means embracing a flexible and multimodal educational platform: your staff of learners has just as much variety in learning styles as a kindergarten classroom, so you must make sure there are resources like videos, written instructions, or tutorials that cater to those differences.

Facilitate Feedback

Kitchen also talks about the importance of giving feedback over grades, since each student’s home learning environment is unique. But since number and letter grades aren’t a major part of on-the-job education, let’s narrow that focus to this phrase, “Good feedback is a necessity”. If you want your staff to learn how to master a new technological platform or virtual process fully, giving good feedback on their performance is critical to helping them (and you) see where the pitfalls and tricky spots are so you can address and alleviate them efficiently.

Rethink Your Meeting Schedule and Strategy

Lastly in instructional design, Kitchen talks about how synchronous activities like face-to-face (or Zoom) meeting times should only be used for active learning. That means rethinking those “meetings that could’ve been emails”. Save the screen time for items that are of the utmost importance and let your virtual collaboration tools do the rest.

Community Building & Communication

Leave Time for Acclimation

Kitchen’s first order of business during back-to-school is a fundamental and often-overlooked directive, and that’s to take time to acclimate your students to this new normal, with a heavy emphasis on making sure they get comfortable with the technology assets before jumping into educational content.

The same is applicable to your staff of students. Having the ability to familiarize themselves with the technology before being expected to perform all of their job duties within it often makes for less stress and easier adoption.

Give Your Staff Agency in Communication

It is also important to offer multimodal communication in tandem with multimodal educational tools. This gives your staff some agency in choosing where and how to best communicate with peers, superiors, and outside clientele if applicable. 

Virtual learning is a luxury that has quickly become a necessity. Take a look at Meet Me In The Cloud’s catalog of e-learning offerings. For all of our online educational solutions, click here.

3 Tips for E-Learning Success

3 Tips for E-Learning Success

We’ve been talking about all the benefits of e-learning, but let’s take a moment to remember: online learning creates a less formal and more flexible approach to learning, which may lead your trainees to think they don’t have to take the courses seriously. Here are 3 tips to set yourself and your team up for e-learning success.

1.  Be Prepared

Every course is different. Make sure you have a reliable internet connection and the correct class “hardware” like a computer with adequate video and audio capabilities, as many e-learning courses incorporate interesting videos, graphics, quizzes, and more.

Allocate a good study space: be sure you have an area that works for you while also minimizing interruptions. The empty cubicle near the water cooler may be great from an efficiency standpoint, but it could create too many distractions for your employees who are trying to focus on mastering new material.

2. Set Goals

Create a schedule that also fits into your employees’ schedules if you can. Remind them to set goals for the day, week, and for the course as a whole. Make sure each goal is specific and measured easily: not only does this track progress, but it is also a great way to keep employees engaged as they complete each goal.

As you or your employee sets these goals, keep in mind that the best way to learn is in steps. Tackling one task at a time creates an easy environment to learn in. It will prevent you from being overwhelmed and also eliminate that “rushed” feeling while you try to complete too many things at once.

3. Participate

The old saying is true in life and in e-learning: you get out of it what you put into it. Participate in online forums and discussions, if applicable, and don’t forget to reach out and ask for help. If you’re struggling to understand a specific topic, talk to your classmates or the instructor. Taking charge of your own learning is the only way to achieve e-learning success.

E-Learning Offerings

If you want to implement e-learning elements into your own employee training programs, Meet Me in the Cloud can help. Learn more about our e-learning offerings here

 

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Collaboration and E-Learning

Collaboration and E-Learning

Collaboration software makes tackling collective projects much more efficient, but it doesn’t work unless your employees know how to use it. That’s where e-learning comes in.

Making the Decision to Migrate 

Have you already implemented a collaboration software but you don’t feel everyone has adopted this new technology? Are you trying to find the right way to introduce new software? No matter what stage of the process your employees are at, e-learning can help.

Adoption is Not Easy

Migrating from older technology to something new and shiny is hard. You want everyone to dive in and start using this wonderful new tool you’ve provided, but not everyone is convinced it’s worth their time. Or, more commonly, employees have adopted a part of the new software, but are still clinging to parts of the old process. 

According to Forbes, there’s one reason collaboration tools fail in the workplace: lack of planning for social adoption.

E-Learning Can Help

Underutilizing technology is like buying a luxury yacht for the sound system: you’re wasting time and money by not taking advantage of everything you paid for. Technology is a big driver of efficiency in the workplace, but it’s only as good as its user. 

An engaged, informed workforce will not only increase the positive outcomes, but it will also decrease the negatives. 

Close Skill Gaps

Your employees all have different levels of understanding and ability when it comes to learning new technology, which means a large-scale rollout may have to be scrapped in favor of a more targeted approach. One of the most common migration challenges is skill gaps. Good training is the best way to close those gaps. 

Prevent Data Loss and Corruption

Data loss and corruption are more common when employees are running duplicate solutions at the same time: if they are using the old system and learning the new, it’s easier to make costly mistakes, and harder to catch them. 

Accelerate Adoption

E-learning courses focus on specific areas to help you and your team learn how to use your new collaboration platform. Interactive elements like videos and quizzes give employees a more well-rounded experience, allowing for some hands-on learning. 

E-learning courses also create a multi-level education system, meaning each employee can take specific courses created for their job level. 

All of this is in addition to the tried and tested instructions that are organized into helpful steps so your employees don’t feel overwhelmed.

Collaboration and E-Learning

With e-learning, employees have the tools to tailor their training to their own learning style and skill level. For those who need a top-to-bottom course on the communication software, a longer and more in-depth E-Learning Course is most helpful. For more tech-savvy team members, short, on-demand training videos (like those found in our Microlearning Library) are perfect as a refresher course or for filling small knowledge gaps.

Meet Me in the Cloud has a wealth of e-learning offerings to help accelerate the adoption process of your new collaboration platform by offering an interactive approach to learning Webex, Zoom, Microsoft Teams. Our offerings simplify each platform for you and your organization, so everyone can start using the new platform quickly and easily – at their own pace.

Allowing employees to take control of their collaboration education will not only lower costs and speed up adoption, but it will also give them a more positive work-life view. Take a look through all of our e-learning solutions

 

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E-Learning Solutions: Learn From Anywhere

E-Learning Solutions: Learn From Anywhere

As more industries rethink their strategies and processes in a COVID-19 world, the huge shift to remote work is paralleled by an equally large demand for e-learning solutions.

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A Need for Customized Education

The US population has been and continues to be more educated than in past generations. The cost of that education, however, has increased exponentially, and more and more employers prefer applicants with higher degrees and certifications. 

Innovative technologies and processes are being implemented more quickly and at higher levels than ever before, but the standard training model for employees is often substandard or rushed to accommodate a deadline. There are many e-learning solutions to choose from. 

A 2019 Training Industry study reported that an average of $1,286 was spent per employee on training in a single year. In an effort to curb costs, many companies are increasing their use of virtual and remote learning opportunities.

Learn From Anywhere

LFA, learning from anywhere, is a natural companion to WFA (work from anywhere). Online learning is a staple of the educational landscape that has grown every year. 2016 saw 39% of post-secondary institution faculty members teach at least one online course during the academic year; by 2019, that number was 46%.

LFA Benefits

Self-Paced

In much the same way that WFA (work from anywhere) gives employees the opportunity to work from home, the coffee shop, and even another country while increasing flexibility and productivity, learning from anywhere allows students of all ages to tailor their education to their own learning style, schedule, and pace.

Unlike WFA, where either your hours or workload are static, with LFA there are a host of options to choose from: many training and education courses are offered in full- or part-time models, and some “boot camps” (short-term education programs) can be completed in as little as 4-6 weeks. This also allows an employee to better fit the class into their workday rather than shuffling things around to accommodate the commute and class time. 

Save Time

LFA also offers class-by-class customization. There are thousands of websites, apps, and online services that offer a multitude of individual or serial classes: you simply choose the subjects most beneficial to you or your employees. They can take a fast-paced refresher to Microsoft Excel invoice functions, or go on a deep dive with a 10-part comprehensive series. 

Save Money

Online learning is also more cost-effective. There’s no commuting cost or room rental fees for offsite training. Many services forgo the subscription model and offer individual class pricing options as well, making LFA even more cost-effective. 

Increased Engagement and Comprehension

Learner engagement and comprehension also increase in an online setting. With tools like Zoom, learners can respond more openly when they don’t understand something. There’s no public embarrassment over hard-to-grasp material, a learner can simply respond to a poll anonymously or post within the platform and this honest engagement gives the instructor a clearer measurement of the concepts that may need to be addressed again. And unlike a seminar or professional conference, the full curriculum and all class material are digitally available for students to reference after the class is completed.

Take the Next Step: E-Learning Solutions

The possibilities with online learning are endless, and Meet Me in the Cloud can help. Our e-learning solutions are tailored to your needs and the needs of your team.

Meet Me in the Cloud has a wealth of e-learning offerings to help accelerate the adoption process of your new collaboration platform by offering an interactive approach to learning. Webex, Zoom, Microsoft Teams. Our offerings simplify each platform for you and your organization, so everyone can start using the new platform quickly and easily – at their own pace.

Accelerate Adoption

Our e-learning courses focus on specific key areas to help you and your team learn how to use your new collaboration platform quickly and efficiently.

  • Interactive Activities: These courses include videos, quizzes, and more to help employees engage with the information.
  • Multi-Level Learning: We created specific courses for employees, executive administrators, even those who already feel comfortable with the collaboration platform, with or without previous experience. 
  • Step-by-Step Instruction: Each course is organized into helpful steps, so users can learn concepts incrementally. Each step builds upon the previous steps, providing a smooth learning experience. 

Overhaul the Training Experience

By utilizing e-learning for your training needs, employees can fit courses into their schedule instead of fitting their schedule around a live training session, thus streamlining the training experience. 

We also implemented these details into every course for the employee’s benefit:

  • Best Practices: We don’t just show your employees how to use their new tool; we explain the best practices for its use. 
  • Additional resources: For those who want to learn more, additional resources are included to help employees further their knowledge and understanding to make the most of their new tool.
  • Certificate of Completion: After completion of each course, the learner receives a certificate. This shows you that your employee has finished the training, but also provides the employee proof of their expanding knowledge and skill set. 

E-Learning Offerings

If you are looking for more in-depth training, try our E-Learning Courses. Meet Me in the Cloud also offers a Microlearning Library, which provides employees with short, on-demand training videos perfect for filling any small gaps, like forgetting how to perform certain tasks, when they need to learn something new, or when the tool itself gets updated and your employees are unfamiliar with the change.

With each purchase, you will have access to that course for 12 months, which means your employees can brush up on their training whenever they need to.

 

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