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Mobility Series: 3 Prerequisites for Producing a Training Academy

Public transportation agencies can benefit by producing blended training academies to capture, retain and transfer knowledge to new and current transit workers increasing efficiency in meantime to productivity by up to 50%.

Rail Worker

Designing and Planning Complex Training Academies

In our previous blog post on blended learning for the public transportation industry, we shared strategies for how to bring your learning content to life, increase retention, productivity, and deliver annual cost savings. In the second instalment of our mobility series, we take a quick dive into the different types of blended learning, and three things to keep in mind when adding it to your academy-style training program.

The public transportation industry has unique challenges when designing and planning training programs for a narrow focused audience with knowledge that spans a very long time frame. Where does your institutional knowledge reside and how do you successfully transfer knowledge to each new generation of transit workers?

Blended learning strategies are an excellent approach for training managers looking for solutions to capture, retain and transfer knowledge in a sustainable and consistent manner. It offers the optimal mix of human interaction and self-paced learning, and allows for greater flexibility when developing and evolving your workforce.

Let’s jump into the different types of blended learning formats—and how each creates value for your academy-style training programs.

Types of Blended Learning Formats

Harnessing the full power of an academy-style training program includes understanding the different types of blended learning formats and finding a suitable fit for your training and development needs.

Blended learning can include some of the following formats:

Classroom Training

While there is a larger shift happening from Instructor-led training (ILT) to Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT), ILT is still traditionally favoured by most transit agencies for adding a human touch to delivering their learning programs. On-the-Job Training (OJT) is also considered a default practice for providing relevant and hands-on methods for teaching learners necessary skills for workplace productivity.

As a digital knowledge solution, VILT simulates a traditional classroom while the instructor and participants are in different locations. Highly adaptable and increasingly popular, VILT supports organizational goals, instructors, course delivery, and all kinds of learners.

Self-Paced Learning

Offering a self-paced learning approach allows your learners to work without the pressure of urgent deadlines, and creates opportunities for them to spend additional time on challenging concepts. Self-paced learning formats can include eLearning or microlearning, simulations, videos, online assessments and workbook training. 

eLearning is here to stay and its benefits have been well documented for academy-style training programs. Transit agencies recognize its importance for improving employee performance, reducing company risks, and making life easier for their maintenance professionals, technicians, mechanics, and operators.

Performance Support

Blended learning opens up opportunities for training managers to lean into the learning conversation with coaching and feedback to increase productivity levels. This includes job aids to provide learners with instant access to digital knowledge solutions for performance support tools, such as Just-In-Time (JIT) learning, knowledge databases, and mobile applications. Augmented and virtual reality provide real-world digital media interlaced with the work environment providing relevant context for complex tasks. 

3 Prerequisites for Blended Learning

Keep these three needs in mind when adding blended learning to your training and development program.

1. Build a Business Case for Digitization

A significant part of training and development is still done from the lens of ILT. This is primarily because most transit agencies are hesitant to include a technology playbook into their learning programs. Get ahead of that challenge early and educate your learners and management about the importance of digitization with trailers, videos, and infographics.

2. Train the Trainer

Get early buy-in from your instructors, trainers, and managers. Ask if they have any hesitancy moving toward a virtual format and address their concerns in real-time. Involving them in this process determines the appropriate medium for the material and the learner and provides a well-rounded knowledge experience. Train them on using platforms and replicating physical classroom activities in a virtual space. You can also go an extra step and encourage them to add innovations to their training, such as breakout rooms, whiteboards, or chat sessions for VILT purposes.

3. Set up Infrastructure

Start on the right foot by setting up your Learning Management System (LMS) as a central learning hub for all your training and development. Assign a dedicated team to your LMS to identify any internet or server issues and choose the suitable digital tools for the suitable digital job. The right platform and training programs play a central role for understanding the learning environment and how the learner accesses the course, such as from home, office, or public places.

Offer Your Learners More Control

Evaluating blended learning for an academy-style training program does more than offer your learners more control over their learning. It also reduces your meantime to productivity by up to 50%, offers better retention of best practices to improve safety culture and reduce incidents, and creates a competitive edge in your industry.

Blended learning is quickly becoming table stakes in almost every industry for adding a competitive edge for effective training programs, ensuring learner engagement, and measuring results. 

Be sure to watch out for the next installment of this series, where we will talk about six considerations for shifting to blended learning and how to undertake the necessary groundwork.

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