I recently posted on LinkedIn about how much we love Giraffe Pad and it sparked some questions around why we need it.
Almost all of our courses and workshops involve blended learning – meaning they include some live workshops (usually in Zoom or Teams) and they also include other ‘stuff’ that can be accessed outside of those live workshops. Typically, this includes some information that learners might find useful before we meet (like introductions, joining instructions, workbooks etc.), information that learners might need for the live workshops (like files we’ll practice on, activity instructions, or case study notes), and things that learners might need after our course (like job aids, quizzes and contact information). Having everything all in one place makes it easier for me, any other trainers, and the learners as everyone knows where to look. It also means we can have chats outside of the live course – either privately or as a whole group. So, as learners try out the things they learn at work, they can post about their experiences to share with the others.
Here are some other benefits of blended learning:
It frees-up time
When you remove the time spent on covering the basic information during the live workshop, you can reduce the amount of time everyone has to be present. Often, it will be quicker for everyone to read some background information and download the materials before joining the live workshop, then when you’re all together, you can focus on the application. Focus on the practical skills during the live workshop, knowing that everyone can access the theoretical information when they want to.
Provides resources for on the job
As you create job aids, background information or other resources, design them so they can be used when learners are at work, not just when they’re in the live class. Again, having a central place for everything (like Giraffe Pad or an LMS), means that learners know where to access those resources when they need them.
Promotes learner-led learning
Having everything all in one place promotes the idea that it’s up to the learner to take what they need. By providing additional information, practical activities and extra support, and making it easy for learners to access it, they’ll be in control of what they use and when they use it. For example, at a recent Word course, we included some optional practice activities. For some learners, they got what they needed from the live workshop and had the notes they needed to refer back to at work. For others, they wanted another chance to try some of the features out for themselves and needed some suggestions for how to do that. Those extra, optional practice activities were perfect for them.
All our live courses include some form of self-paced work too. Sometimes they include additional information and resources, other times they include optional activities, reflective questions, or self-assessments. They’re always hosted in Giraffe Pad to keep everything organized, easy to find and accessible for everyone.