The Blended Learning Study On Corporate training

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1 The Blended Learning Study On Corporate training Abstract Blended learning is a diverse and expanding area of corporate training design and implementation that combines face-to-face and online modalities, which has taken an increasingly important role in the corporate training program designing and implementation, and become more flexible learning modality and strategic program planning methodology for Sinopec Group, one of the biggest global petro chemistry corporations. The paper presents research exploring training experience of blended learning in corporate training program. Throughout this study, program planners involved the process of designing and implementing using blended learning from Sinopec training programs on Sinopec Learning Management System. In this study, we build a blended learning program planning conceptual model and focus on the designing and optimizing a series of training planning document templates. Under this framework, we also outline a blended learning curriculum planning process for corporate training. A quantitative program evaluation shows the possible relationships between planners approaches and participants motivation. Through these findings we offer some conclusions about blended learning solution to corporate training programs planning and implementing at the forefront of these programs, and other emerging trends in corporate blended learning. Implications of the findings for further research and practice are discussed. Keywords Learning Management System, Blended Learning, Corporate Training, Program Planning, Curriculum Planning Process I. INTRODUCTION Our organization has been investing Sinopec Learning Management System in past decade. In 2011, Sinopec Learning Management System, or SLMS, published and it has taken an increasingly important role in the annual training programs of Sinopec Group. As figure1, blended learning programs have risen from 9 in 2011 to 168 in 2014, approximate 70% of total training programs. Program planners have been promoted to utilize blended learning to help participants for meaningful learning via information and communication technologies in educational settings. Meanwhile, our organization nowadays still faces numerous challenges to the orderly dissemination of training programs. New hires no longer start jobs or training at the same time. Transporting instructors and participants to one location to attend training classes is not economical and often disrupts business and familial commitments. Training needs are frequently immediate. Organizations rarely have the luxury of waiting until the next class is scheduled or enough people are ready to be trained. From the view of program planners, some challenges still exist. Some of them think of Blended Learning as simple mixing of face-to-face and online instruction. Planning methodology and developing technology are obstacles. The above challenges have forced our relative training departments to look at the full array of delivery options and program planning in light of their effectiveness and expediency. Blended learning is one of the approaches utilized to help participants for meaningful learning. Learning management system is the preliminary of blended learning program design and implementation. Developing technology offers many alternatives related with training environments, methods and tools. SLMS can provide with the issues of information access in corporate education institutes, online survey, self-learning, communication systems, real-time virtual learning environments, online test, the use and the dissemination of educational technologies parallel to the needs of participants and instructors. In our opinion, according to the objectives of corporate training application, the proportion of face to face and online learning technologies would be adjusted in the use of blending learning. Blended learning is not restricted with the use of some strategies, for example, discussion forums, mail, content presentation, etc. only in online learning as a tool for supporting face to face learning. From this point, blended learning, which should be considered as a teaching design approach, is a process that should be planned strategically to be applied in a corporate training program and in the curriculum planning. However, unifying technology with various learning or teaching environments effectively is a sophisticated problem which is hard to solve, especially for program planners. In this paper, we have been concentrating on blended learning program planning with aim of effective and fruitful learning. II. PURPOSE The basic business goals of corporate training are to improve participants performance and competency on the job by knowledge, skill and attitude training. Because blended learning is not only so new to the participant populations, but to program planners, they are not aware of their contributions

2 to be successful in the learning process. Developing technology offers many alternatives related with training environments, methods and tools for training programs planners. In this study, we probe some typical blended learning cases domestically and internationally. Together with theory research, we put some mature experience into use and take them planning strategies. Based on SLMS, a blended learning program planning conceptual model and a series of training planning document templates are built and optimized. Under this framework, we also analyze data quantitatively and qualitatively. Through these findings we offer some conclusions about blended learning solution to corporate training programs planning and implementing at the forefront of these programs, and other emerging trends in corporate blended learning. III. APPROACH The design and implementation strategies include the following points: A. Blended Learning Program Model First, Blended Learning Program Model is the basic functional framework of the program planning. The model consists of business goal analysis, training objectives decomposition, program assessment, program constraints analysis, links evaluation, curriculum planning, program implementation, program evaluation. The linkage data among them is dynamic and feedbacks are main factors of program planning optimization. The conceptual model provides a unifying and dynamic solution to corporate training programs planning, as figure 2. Business goal analysis: The overarching goal of any corporate training program is to increase organization and its employees performance and competency in the future development, which will align with the organization s vision; therefore, it is crucial to analyze and understand the business goal of the training program and also the principal work of business goal analysis. First, a business goal with the measurable outcome is often closely linked to corporate profitability or customer satisfaction. To be valid, a business goal must relate directly to the bottom line of an organization and identify clearly observable measures or performance gaps. Second, program planner makes the goal explicitly stated and linked to the business goals of the organization. Finally, the main resources of business goal are from strategy department and customers. Program planners need inquiry frequently on face-to-face. This stage is crucial to design a well-constructed training program and achieve the expected outcomes finally. Ttraining Decomposition: It means making the business goals obtainable objectives, or enabling objectives. are the foundation of a wellconstructed training program. They align with the goal of the program business goals because it is through the accomplishment of individual objectives that the organization can achieve its goal for the training initiative. are clear statements of the behaviours the program planners expect participants to acquire and demonstrate by the end of the training event. Meanwhile, clear objectives make the program planners to develop content, activities, and on-the-job skills that support the learning process and the ultimate goals of the training. Clearly stated objectives would be measurable and observable. At this stage, some extensive communications among planner, participants and customer are adequate ways to successful program planning. Be as specific as possible when writing objectives by communication with potential participants, program manager and relative officials by online surveys, or face-to-face talks. Then program planners identify the learning process or the expected performance outcomes. 1) Enabling objectives enable individuals to achieve the terminal or main objective and are critical because it is at the enabling objective level that the delivery method decision is made. Very often the achievement of an objective requires knowledge, skill, and behavioural learning processes. Each of the learning process can be achieved via a different delivery method. 2) Enabling objectives of our programs can be categorized as Knowledge, Skill or Attitude objectives, like above point. For instance, the rules and the regulations of the corporation would be a knowledge objective. If main objective of the program is being able to make distance courseware by Lectora or Snap, or other application tools, would be a skill objective. Consistently the corporation law training in responsible manner would be an attitude objective. Correctly identifying enable objectives or knowledge, skill, or attitude objectives is important in order to correctly assess the enabling objective. Assessment: Before deciding upon any delivery methodology it is important to consider how the objective will be assessed. In the process of our training program planning, a topic in the class can be assessed in a particular way, it can be taught that way as well. First, all components of the blend program should be assessed completely. Live and self-directed components should be included in the assessment. Second, dynamically assessments feedback system should be taken throughout the training. Assessment keeps participants engaged and helps the facilitator keep a pulse on the class. Third, discussion boards are used in the learning community of SLMS to help peers evaluate one another s work periodically. This reduces the amount of work the facilitator needs to do and helps make asynchronous work more collaborative. Finally, when publishing the course requirements, facilitators also publish the assessment techniques. Let potential participants know the consequences of not meeting the minimum requirements at the end of the course. All program assessment be implemented online or by mobile devices.

3 Program Constraints Analysis: Constraints are those items within your organizational environment that prescribe what you can and cannot do with your training initiatives. For example, ideally we may wish potential participants to warm up the knowledge by distance training courseware. However, none of the participants in your chain have computers or networks. So while video would theoretically be the best delivery method, distribution isn t possible without a significant investment in technology. When making decisions about the training methodologies for a particular learning outcome you must always be cognizant of the constraints that your organization imposes. In general, constraints can be categorized as organizational, individual, managerial, technological, resource-specific ones, and it also influence the proportion of delivery methodologies. Links Evaluation: Decreasing the risk of participants not completing the asynchronous components, they are encouraged to complete asynchronous homework on their own time and told that the work is the same important as the face-to-face or live training session, and their work should be completed and submitted before deadline, as described in guide brochure, whose appreciation is incorporated in training performance. A blended objective is defined by choosing the correct delivery method for the learning objective, and integrating or linking, each of the delivery methodologies into a cohesive training process. Curriculum Planning: Logically, the curriculum planning process model starts with a well-defined business goal and then transfer it the course topics and objectives flow from that, as described in figure3. The planning steps are the following: Determine objectives and enabling objectives being taught in each topic; Determine assessment methods for objectives; Determine delivery method options based on assessment methods and need for collaboration; Consider constrains with our organization and the specific training program; Ensure links between objectives throughout the curriculum. Program Implementation: By curriculum planning, blended implementation process can be achieved. A series of standard and electronic template laboratory could be built in SLMS during program implementation. The core documents are learning map and participants guide brochure. The learning map provides an overview of the entre blended learning curriculum and can be used as a checklist by participants to track completion of the various training modules and instruction presentations, as well as being an effective time management aid. The most important of learning map is to make participants understand what, how and when they will be instructed. The map can potentially have several dimensions. It can be printed for the participant guide, and also uploaded to their virtual class website. Participants can take or surf by handouts or hyperlink of website. A dependable way for a participant to navigate the blended learning curriculum is by using a participant guide brochure, which strongly supports the learner in several ways. First, it supplies the learning map and assignments. This information can ground participants in the learning process, allow them to visualize the workshop, and let them plan for assignments and due dates on a personal calendar. Second, a participant guide brochure provides guidance on the different learning technologies, how they should be utilized, and how to get support. Third, individual activities, assignments, deliverable, and course content can be organized in a way that best supports the learning process. Lastly, the participant guide brochure provides the connection between seemingly disparate components of a blended curriculum. Participant guide brochure also incorporates into beginning note and course outline. A beginning note from the facilitator gives a human touch to the program and should contain all the pertinent information required for the first class, such as where to go to log on, how to log on, and passwords, who to call if you have questions about content, technical support number. Since participants will probably need to do work on their own and your program may be broken up among several live events, the course outline provides a map for participants to follow to ensure they complete all required activities and are prepared for all live events. For the printed participant guide brochure, the learning map provides an explanation of the sequence of events, the type of learning activities, the anticipated length for each activity, and an idea of when the activity will occur. We put this learning map on a class home page, participants could use the map to navigate to more information about each topic, and potential access and log in each independent learning activity. Online parts of the program do not begin and end with the online event. Participants will have tasks to complete and may have questions about how to get them done. Contact information for the facilitator and technical support, as well as content-specific resource, should be available to them in a printed format in case their technology fails or they become confused about their assignments. Published technical requirements should ensure that all necessary software and hardware are in place so your participants have a successful online experience. Technical requirements are also useful for the local

4 technical support person in case where the participants do have issues and need to call in a local technical support. Online instructions don t always provide all the opportunities for participants to have their questions answered. Learning resources help to extend the learning experience beyond the live classroom. In addition, creating a successful learning environment in blended learning implementation is the most important part. Program implementation treats e- learning implementations as technology initiatives as well as change initiatives. Four crucial characteristics are presented in our program implementation in learning environment: Adequate motivation, Opportunities for learners to collaborate and interact, Use friendly technology, Active and participative facilitators. The blended learning program is incorporated into implementing, designing, and delivering online programs, education and training professional. The success of learners in any learning environment is largely dependent upon their personal motivation. The motivation of learners in non-traditional programs seems to be fundamentally based on personal convenience and lifestyle. We attempt to attract participants who have desire to learn with being constrained by distance or time. A defined audience exists that wants to take advantage of continued education, but for a variety of reasons can`t conform to traditional norms. Motivated participant often have other characteristics that help them to be successful. Generally participants are self-disciplined, organized, and can plan well. In addition, assessment techniques play an important role. If participants know they will be assessed in some means, they tend to be more motivated to learn the content and to participate. An additional consideration is self-learning or the topic requiring collaboration and the synergy of individuals working together when determining appropriate delivery methodologies. When collaboration and synergy are required for a successful learning outcome, it is important that synchronous or collaborative learning methods are used. Delivery methodologies can generally be divided according to whether or not they are collaborative in nature. Generally, collaborative learning methods includes: classroom, coaching, on-the-job learning, virtual classroom, discussion board in our system, videoconferencing. Independent learning methods incorporates self-study, E-learning, participant Guide. Proper implementation and management of technology is critical to the success of blended learning initiatives. Though technology advances are one of reasons blended learning is going through such a growth spurt, they also create roadblocks that divert participants from success. If a participant isn`t confident that they can use the Internet software or the required hardware, they may not learn successfully. Whether delivering learning using a traditional, synchronous, asynchronous, or blended approach, participants need to feel as though they have developed a personal rapport with the facilitator. The facilitator acts as an anchor, reassuring participants that support, reinforcement, and assessment is readily available. In our programs, there is one facilitator in the class. The role of the facilitator in a blended environment is still evolving, but it's clear that the more the facilitator gets involved, the more involved the participant is likely to be. A learner-centred program is one in which the participants central to the learning process; there are opportunities for participants to learn at their own pace and contribute to the overall learning experience. The best blended learning curriculums are learnercentred and designed with the learner in mind-each individual component of the blend involving the participant in a personal way. Participants discover and construct meaning from information and experience based on their unique perceptions, thoughts, and feelings. Learners seek to create meaningful used of knowledge regardless of the quantity and quality information presented. Participants link new knowledge to existing information in ways that make sense to them. The remembering of new knowledge is facilitated when it can be tied to a learner`s current knowledge. Participants have varying degrees of their personal goals and expectations for success and failure. Individuals are naturally curious and enjoy learning, but personal insecurity and fear of failure often get in the way. Participants like challenges and are most creative when the learning is challenging and meets their individual needs. The learning environment is important. Individuals learn best in a friend, socially interactive and diverse environment. Learners like positive reinforcement. Learning environments that support the self-esteem and respect of the individual learner tend to be more successful. Program Assessment: From the view of the assessment contents, program assessment includes two parts: program objective assessment and courses assessment. From the assessment methodology, our program assessment might be taken by paper, online and real time mobile devices. Up to now, 70% of our training program assessments will be implemented by mobile devices, such as smart cell phone or pad, which make assessment quick and efficient. Officially, all program assessment should be conducted and all participants complete the survey voluntarily, and the data were subjected to program content analysis. B. Delivery Methodology Delivery methodology is the important part of the program planning. Technically, delivery methodologies include classroom, self-learning, video, audio, real time virtual class, asynchronous learning etc. The critical four factors to

5 determine delivery methods should be considered before deciding up delivery methods. Participants Analysis: type of participants, or the age, the learning time, learning style and education background Program Outcome Evaluation: type of learning outcome the program is trying to achieve knowledge, skill or attitude Learning Outcome Assessment: how program plans to assess whether the learner has successfully achieved the learning outcome Learning Process Analysis: learning collaboration, or where or not the objective can be taught to an individual without involving others in the learning process. E-Learning Tool in this blended learning program incorporates SLMS in our corporation, which makes asynchronous e-learning, Virtual Classroom and teleconferencing true. Our program planning usually probe the above all factors, and integrate classroom and online instruction, the program outcome assessment shows the adequate results have been achieved. C. Program Planning Document Templates A series of online document template should be necessary and convenient for program planners. Based on SLMS, some standard templates have developed throughout planning process. For example, In the process of objective analysis and decomposition, online survey would be conducted by the documentation template, as table 1. Planners can copy and update the survey schedule by the standard template. In designing the curriculum and delivery methodology, objective classification would be practical template. These templates assure the unification and accuracy of the program planning. IV. ACTUAL OUTCOMES In our exploration on blended learning programs, program evaluations include program objective evaluation, course evaluation and instruction evaluation. The assessment would be adopted by online and mobile devices. For example, one program evaluation of ours was adopted hundred mark system and conducted online. 90 students in the program completed the survey voluntarily, and the data were subjected to content analysis in table3.the data were collected from participants of the program via a semi-structured survey which included open and closed-ended questions at the end of the implementation. We conduct program evaluation by online open-ended questionnaire at the end of face-face instruction. According to the results, implementing the course especially with electronic activities had positive effects on participants from a learning and evaluation perspective. Participants stated that the blended learning environment supported their active participation to the course activities and the result indicates that following the content of the courses, homework and program online was interesting and useful. V. DISSCUSSION AND CONCLUSION Findings of this study provide important implications for corporate training program planner and the online training community in general. Alongside the development of highperformance technologies such as mobile learning process and resource management systems, the importance of blended learning in further corporate training both in corporate training and places of higher learning has increased. After a period of years in which the emphasis has primarily been on the restructuring of learning management system within organizations, organization and planning document template have also been increasingly tested. However, equal importance as the availability of these planning technologies, is that the participants involved have an understanding and involvement of the organizational ramifications for the realization of cooperative, crossorganizational learning management strategies. Some typical challenges of a bended learning program will still encounter, such as procrastination for time and technology, too overwhelming process, resistance to change, poor links among the content, and lack of facilitator control. VI. FIGURES AND TABLES Fig. 1. Annual Blended Learning Programs Statistic Program Assessment Program Implementation Curriculum Planning Fig. 2. Business Goal Dynamic Feedback Program Planning Model Links Training Objective Assessment Constraints Blended Learning Program Planning Model.

6 Constraints Links Goals Design Course 1 Planning Planners Constraints Links Goals Analyze Goals Categorize Planners Delivery Methods Assess Assessment Methods Fig. 3. Blended Learning Curriculum Planning Process Model Notificatio n No. Table I. ONLINE SURVEY TEMPLATE Descriptio n Participant s Schedul e Questionnair e Table 2. BLOOM OBJECTIVE CLASSIFICATION Learning Course Content Course Classification Delivery Methodology 1. a. Class I,II or III b. Note: 1. Class I: Course objectives: Knowledge or attitude; Class II: Course objectives: application or analysis; Class III: Course objectives: evaluation or innovation; 2. Delivery Methods: classroom, video, coach, audio, onthe-job training, self learning, virtual classroom, e-learning, mobile-learning, collaborative learning, discussion board VII. REFERENCE [1] 1.Beauvois, M. (1994). E-talk: Attitudes and motivation in a computerassisted classroom Discussion. Computers and the Humanities, 28(1), [2] 2.Bonk, C. J., & Graham, C. R. (2006). Handbook of blended learning: Global perspectives, local designs. San Francisco: Pfeiffer Publishing Table 3. Sample of Blended Learning Program Evaluation

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