Blended learning: The best way to keep deskless workers trained

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What are deskless workers?  

Deskless workers are workers who operate outside of a traditional office environment. Typically these people are on the go, working with their hands or in a face-to-face setting with other people. This includes healthcare practitioners, hospitality and retail staff, manufacturing and construction workers and many more. While these employees don’t sit at a desk all day, their work is critical for the communities they serve,  

Deskless jobs are the longest standing professions we’ve had in the world. Long before AI, we had frontline workers building, nursing, serving, etc. However, as new technology emerges to help improve efficiency, its imperative for deskless workers to keep up with the times.

Deskless workers don’t always have the time to learn, or the ability to sit at a desk and train. This is why organizations use learning platforms to bring training to the workers. Through an intuitive platform that leverages blended learning techniques, deskless workers can remain skilled and compliant.  

What is blended learning?  

Blended learning is a technique widely used in organizations that combines traditional instructor-led training (ILT) with online or remote-based learning. The combination of these learning styles helps create well-rounded learning experiences for learners (especially ones who do not have desk jobs).  

Benefits of blended learning  

  • Courses that meet every learner’s need  
  • Flexible and accessible learning  
  • Higher retention and completion rates  
  • Higher engagement

Blended learning is the best of both worlds when it comes to meeting learner and organization needs. Let’s dig into the two components that make blended learning the leading training solution for organizations everywhere: ILT and remote training.  

What is Instructor-led training (ILT)?

ILT is when a training course is taught by a person either face-to-face or online. The training is in real-time and typically involves some level of interaction or audience participation. Sometimes ILT is the only option for learners to complete a course. We see this commonly through in-person onboarding, labs and proctored testing where learners must prove their competency with an instructor watching.  

ILT in onboarding  

ILT is commonly used when onboarding new hires and conducting new hire orientation. Sessions to establish rapport, exhibit company culture and create a baseline of knowledge around the organization and role are often held in-person. Hosting small onboarding classes also allows the new hire cohort to build a sense of comradery and develop relationships with other new employees. This helps lower apprehension about starting a new job and not knowing anyone.  

ILT for the deskless workforce

Outside of onboarding, ILT is important for industries implementing new technology. For example, in manufacturing plants, the revolution of Industry 4.0 has introduced robots and machine learning. An in-person demonstration of how to work with new technology, or a proctored competency test are necessary to assess skill-level and ensure safe operating.  

ILT in your learning platform  

Even though a course may not be fully asynchronous, having a flexible learning platform is still important to accommodate all end users. For example, instructors are responsible for managing the class roster and waitlist of in-person courses along with recording attendance and participation during the session. Flexible learning platforms allow instructors to easily navigate scheduling and make it easy to accurately manage classroom performance. Learn more about ILT scheduling here.

Instructors can communicate with learners prior to the start of the course through the learning platform by sending reminders or requesting learners do pre-work to prepare them for the session. If there is a change to the course, like a classroom location change, the instructor can quickly deploy that information to learners. Utilizing a flexible learning platform makes ILT and remote training easier.  

While there are cases where ILT is necessary, there are many trainings where self-paced learning can be done asynchronously. This is why remote training is so prevalent.

Remote training and e-learning

Remote training is a flexible solution that allows learners to learn at their own pace on their own time by accessing the course work online. E-learning or online learning allows students to access their course work on any device, computer, iPad, tablet, cellphone, etc. The flexibility in medium allows for learners to learn how and when they feel the most comfortable. This is extremely important when it comes to engaging the deskless workforce.

Remote training in your learning platform  

Remote training gives individual learners autonomy over their time and their course work. Students can complete courses at their leisure and take the initiative to learn new skills offered in the platform on their own.  

When it comes to learners taking training in their own hands, instructors and administrators can establish course prerequisites and parameters to keep employees on the right path. These permissions can be easily deployed and tailored for all employees through the learning platform.

Why is blended learning so widely used in deskless jobs?

We know that 80% of the workforce is made up of deskless workers. Workers who are always on the go do not have the time to sit at a computer and train for hours at a time. They need the information quickly and concisely (usually in the form of microlearning sessions). Microlearning breaks down concepts into small digestible pieces people can learn in 5 minutes or less. These can be delivered in many formats: videos, quizzes, PowerPoints, games, etc.

Of course, some courses must be done in person using an instructor, but there are plenty of courses that can be self-directed and done remotely.  By combining instructor-led training with asynchronous remote training in an intuitive learning platform, organizations can ensure their deskless workforce has a well-rounded learning experience regardless of their comfort level with technology.  

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