Upskilling and Reskilling with Blended Learning

Organizations are currently fixated on upskilling and reskilling their workforce. It seems to make a lot of sense. Companies want to quickly add new skills to their employees’ existing skill sets so they can shift with the company to meet a set of ever-changing business needs. Of course, as with most things, the terminology used makes it seem simpler than it is. There is no set reskilling strategy that can magically meet the needs of every business and every learner. In fact, the biggest challenge for most companies is figuring out what the “skill” part of upskilling and reskilling means.

It is incredibly difficult for companies to determine their needed skills by each organization, department, and individual level so they can create a baseline for upskilling and reskilling. L&D cannot expect to craft a list of required skills from scratch, or find one ready-made from external sources. While many skills are universal, L&D must work closely with the business to determine just what skills stakeholders require and how they prioritize them. The skill profile for each organization will be different. This will also provide the basis for a gap analysis, where business stakeholders can help determine what is lacking, what can be upskilled/reskilled, and when new talent needs to be acquired.

Once that feat is accomplished, organizations are faced with how to close those gaps. Because the skills required and the individuals who need them are so varied, the approach to upskilling and reskilling must also be varied. This means thinking beyond the traditional view of blended learning that included instructor-led courses followed up with eLearning modules. It requires an approach that includes formal, informal, and experiential learning elements, used in a strongly blended way to present, build, and sustain these skills.

A blended approach allows the organization to focus different energy on skills that require knowledge retention and working memory versus those that can be supported on the job with tools and technology. Rather than using a class to front-load everyone with everything they will need to know, the classroom can be used for larger concepts, collaboration, and feedback While moment-of-need elements can be delivered in real-time through a variety of resources.

A modern blended approach to learning is something that Meridian Knowledge Solutions has been helping its clients with for years. They see the LMS as a central tool that can help automate much of the learning journey, bringing learners to content, assets, and resources they need at the time and in the format that makes the most sense. It is the antithesis to the one-size-fits-all approach so many organizations use that is keeping them from keeping up with both learners and the business.

Recently, Nancy Dietz, Senior Manager of Training and Development at Meridian, dropped in for an episode of Brandon Hall Group’s Excellence at Work Podcast. In a conversation with Brandon Hall Group COO Rachel Cooke, she discusses this blended approach to upskilling and reskilling. Nancy shares examples and insights from her experiences and those of their clients to show how and why it works.

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David Wentworth



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