Blended Learning combines traditional teaching methods with new innovative techniques. Today, many companies are introducing a hybrid approach to train their employees. Safety Marking Inc., a pacesetter in the pavement marking industry, has recently established the Learning and Development Center to train their workforce on the safe and effective use of equipment and machinery. The company is now introducing its employees to blended learning. Here, Mark Kelly, Founder and President of Safety Marking Inc., pavement marking industry leader in Bridgeport, CT reviews ways companies can utilize blended learning at the workplace.
Blended learning at Safety Marking Inc. includes three primary learning environments. These include Online Learning, Instructor-Led Training (ILT) classroom learning, and On-the-Job Training (OJT). Each environment lends its unique benefits to the learning process. Safety Marking has found this hybrid approach essential for maintaining a highly trained workforce.
Online learning provides employees with an opportunity to learn at their own pace in their most comfortable environment. Each person is different in how, when, and where they learn best.
Some employees retain information better if they can acquire it in small segments over time. These learners benefit from the ability to start and stop video segments as they wish. They can pause a video at any time and think about what they have learned and how it applies to their job. They can resume again when they are ready to add more knowledge.
Some people learn best early in the day before the day’s hustle and bustle begins. Others prefer to end their day with new information to think about. Online learning allows each person to customize the learning process and adapt it to their individual learning style and preferences.
Trying to take in and remember new information while in a noisy or stressful environment is not conducive to good learning. The online learning academy makes it possible for employees to learn at home or any other comfortable place that will enhance the learning process.
explains Daniel King, Safety Marking’s Manager of Learning and Development.
Our industry is unique in that we need to utilize blended learning to teach theory – fluid and pressure dynamics – along with the practical application, and removal, of materials, using technically advanced equipment in work zones that present safety challenges. Using a blended approach allows us to collectively learn in the classroom, and then also provide just-in-time learning via our online academy to reinforce and refresh the learning when needed
Instructor-Led Classroom Learning
Some topics are best presented in a classroom setting where learners can build on each other’s enthusiasm, ask questions, and receive immediate answers and feedback. For this type of learning, Safety Marking provides Instructor-Led training on-site.
A collaborative environment enhances learning and fosters a team atmosphere. Nearly every job at Safety Marking is performed by a team of employees. Instructor-Led classroom training enables SMC to effectively assess each learner’s progress and provide additional resources when needed.
The classroom setting is also ideal for instruction from outside vendors and equipment manufacturers. Leaders at Safety Marking Inc. believe that an investment in educating the workforce is always money well spent.
Employees can only learn specific tasks by doing them. Many of the day-to-day functions of pavement marking require the learner to have hands-on experience. Learning to operate complex equipment, for example, requires the employee to watch others do it, then try it themselves. By repeating the process, first under the observation of trained supervision, and then by themselves, employees can master the skills needed for success in this field.