Gone are the days when you have as much time as you need to deliver an effective training class. Few businesses are willing to dedicate the time necessary for people to learn new skills. After all, proper training is time consuming, expensive, and organizations need to operate as efficiently as possible. You have likely experienced this first hand in conversations with business managers in which you explain why a class requires four hours, while the manager tells you she can only give you ninety minutes.
It is frustrating.
So the question is, "What can we do about it?" The answer is to flip the classroom.
What is Flipped Classroom Training?
In a traditional classroom education model, lectures are delivered to students in class and then homework is assigned to students to complete at home on their own. A flipped classroom model reverses these and has students watch a lecture (video, audio, Mindflash online course, etc) at home on their own time, and uses in-class time to complete assignments, activities, or projects.
Flipping classroom training has taken off in academia, especially with the growing popularity of Khan Academy. Even us corporate training-types are getting into the act. However, flipped classroom training in a corporate environment is not necessarily new, especially for learning designers who created and assigned pre-work for their traditional classroom training. The problem with pre-work is that it is usually a light-weight assignment or activity, not course content in the form of a lecture.
For a flipped training model to be most effective, the pre-lectures should be designed to deliver much of the introductory course content. For example, if a training class teaches a time management technique, the pre-lecture would explain the technique and classroom time would be used to discuss and practice applying the model. By doing this, learners can learn a new concept on their own time, which means less classroom time is required for people to learn the new skill. And this is exactly what more businesses are demanding.
I would like to share with you two specific examples of how to use Mindflash to flip your classroom training.
Flipping Sales Training
The most important part of sales training is learning how to have certain conversations with prospects and then practicing those conversations. Let's say you are launching a new product and want to ready your salesforce for pitching this new product. In a flipped classroom model, you would create an online course in Mindflash which describes the product features and benefits and key selling points to raise with prospects. However you do it, you want the sales force to arrive to the classroom training with a solid understanding of the new product, the target client, and examples of how to pitch the product. In the classroom session, the facilitator would focus on preparing for and practicing these conversations.
Flipping Leadership Development
Imagine you teach a four hour class on how to deliver constructive criticism to underperforming employees. These are tough conversations that require a solid process and a lot of practice. In Mindflash, you would create an online course that explains the process for preparing for and having these difficult conversations. The online course could also show examples of good and bad conversations that the learner can observe and even watch more than once. Once the online course has been completed, learners could attend a class that focuses most of the time practicing these conversations in role plays and even on preparing for real conversations that managers need to have with individuals on their team. Preparing for real conversations and getting feedback is an excellent use of classroom time.
Flipping Allows for More Practice
Flipping your classroom training does not have to be complicated. The point is to deliver much of the course concepts through a self-paced medium, like a Mindflash online course, and then spend most of the classroom time on practical activities which allow learners to practice and apply what they learned in the lecture. If you do this, you can reduce classroom time and still spend the time necessary for people to learn new skills.
How have you flipped classroom training in your organization? We'd love to hear your stories in the comments below.
Bill Cushard, author, blogger, and learning experience (LX) designer, is a human performance technologist (HPT) with extensive, in-the-trenches experience building learning organizations in start-up and hyper-growth organizations like E*TRADE, the Knowland Group, and Allonhill. You can follow him on Twitter or on Google+.