A new learning method combines face-to-face sessions with online modules for up skilling staff. James Siew, Regional Consulting Director at Cegos Asia Pacific, sat down with Management Insider to explain how, and why, it works.
James Siew is the Business Operations and Consulting Director at Cegos APAC. Based in Singapore, James has held various corporate and consulting roles in learning and organisation development over the span of 23 years covering the Asia Pacific region.
What is blended learning?
Blended learning is a formalised and structured learning programme in which the participant learns through a variety of instructional modes. It includes facilitator-led workshops and classroom sessions, coupled at least in part with content and instruction delivered digitally.
Blended learning is new to the Cambodian business environment. It has come with the continued emergence of corporate learning and development within organisations, which are in turn seeing improvements in productivity and employee engagement. In building a progressive approach to human capital development, organisations are looking to blended learning as a viable development option with sustainable results.
Why might companies move away from conventional modes of training?
While conventional modes of learning are highly effective and popular, there are sound reasons why an organisation may choose to implement blended learning: it is flexible to learner needs, extends the learning experience and capitalises on the power of multi-modal learning delivery methods.
How exactly does blended learning capitalise on the power of multi-modal learning delivery methods?
Multi-modal learning involves activating all learning styles, not just capitalising on new technologies. Learning styles may take the form of cognitive, emotive and tactile learning. Blended learning stimulates cognitive learning through the provision of knowledge through facilitator-led workshops, as well as e-learning modules and reading.
Providing time for the learner to learn and to reflect activates their emotive learning style, helps them make links with what the learning means to them and how it applies to their daily lives. Practical exercises during the formal learning workshops as well as project work in between workshops provide learners with the ability to apply their learning, experiment and to get actively involved, thereby stimulating the tactical way of learning.
Can blended learning help companies achieve sustainable results? If so, how?
Some organisational capabilities take a longer time to acquire, so many organisations have turned to blended learning to address two strategically important learning areas: sales and leadership. Some leadership and sales competencies cover a wide range of learning areas, and cannot be mastered in a single training workshop. Blended learning carefully selects modules and applies them over a set period of time, hopefully culminating in the mastering of certain skills, which learners will practice and refine following workshops through simulations or role-plays coupled with scenario-based e-learning modules.
How can an organisation supplement employee training to ensure sustainable results?
Many organisations that have adopted blended learning may also include a component where employees work on a specific project, applying new skills acquired to their daily processes. By linking learning to practical application, the participants are able to effectively transfer learning to their daily habits.
Likewise, leadership development facilitated through a blended learning structure also means that the participants have the means and time to assimilate new information, master new concepts, practice new skills and apply new ways of leading others in ways that may not be as easy if they only attended a two-day workshop.
How relevant is blended learning in an economy like Cambodia’s?
In an emerging country like Cambodia, blended learning provides organisations with a flexible and even cost-saving means to provide learning to their employees. For accelerated learning, organisations can also implement structured blended learning programmes. Cegos also facilitates learning in a variety of ways to suit an organisation’s needs – for example, clients in Singapore, Malaysia, and China have opted for e-learning to ensure short-time learning is deployed consistently to large employee populations, which are geographically dispersed.
Do you think blended learning can change the corporate landscape of Cambodia?
The impact of blended learning on an emerging economy like Cambodia differs from other countries in the region. To illustrate, Singapore has had an active learning and development practice across most industries for decades and this can also be one of the potential limitations: there might be some resistance to adopting new learning methodologies. In Cambodia, utilising technology and other learning modes in a landscape that is relatively new to learning and development could have different implications in terms of the rate that these new approaches are adopted.
While the future developments depend on several factors and these are relatively unknown, the prospects for introducing dynamic learning and development in Cambodia are strong.
Who is Cegos?
Cegos Asia Pacific, headquartered in Singapore, was opened in 2012 as part of the Cegos Group, which was founded in Paris in 1926. With almost a century of experience in the development of people, Cegos has grown to be Europe’s leading learning and development consulting firm – and its largest, with 1,000 employees and more than 3,000 partner consultants – and continues to thrive across the Asia Pacific while extending its reach, beginning operations in Latin America in 2015.
Cegos provides blended learning solutions – combining tutorials, workshops and e-learning – that can be customised and focuses on developing skills such as leadership and management, sales and negotiation, team effectiveness, and interpersonal communications. Today, Cegos works with 20,000 client companies across 50 countries and averages 12,000 bespoke training projects per year. To date, Cegos has trained an average of some 250,000 people per year.
Cegos provides clients with reassurance, knowing that procedures have been quality tested and that requests will be addressed. Cegos consultants are also continuously assessed and trained in the latest pedagogical practices.
Content is also regularly updated, with thorough trainer certifications undertaken. Programmes are customised to suit the specific context of each individual client project.
1926: Creation of the CGOST (General Commission on the Scientific Organisation of Work), which was to become Cegos in 1936
1937: Creation of the corporate consulting business
1951: First training courses
1958: Cegos begins its international expansion with an initial operation in Spain
1997: Cegos sets up business in China
2001: Cegos rolls out the first training courses that combine e-learning and classroom learning
2008: Cegos launches the Global Learning by Cegos® and e-Learning Solutions by Cegos® courses
2010: Cegos creates the E-Learning Excellence Awards
2012: Cegos Asia-Pacific opens in Singapore
2014: Cegos takes over Integrata, a leading training provider in Germany
2015: Cegos secures a foothold in Latin America
2016: Cegos enters an exclusive partnership with Saint Blanquat & A. in Cambodia
More about Cegos: www.cegos.com
Words by Vivaddhana Khaou