Achieving significant return on investment with blended learning.

Author:Geiman, Diane
Position:Professional Development Update - Reprint

Correctional trainers throughout the country are expected to demonstrate the return on investment (ROI) of agency training programs, just as trainers in the corporate world do. One method that is getting attention is called blended learning, which involves using a combination of training methods.

"Blended learning, the combination of live and online training, is a means to deliver just-in-time learning, so that learners can apply knowledge sooner or as they acquire it, which is a paradigm shift from traditional, instructor-led training," explains Patrice Collins, regional vice president of Learning & Development at MicroStrategy. (1)

Online training provides the knowledge base, while classroom training provides the practical and hands-on skills. (2) Research has shown that blended learning proves more effective than live training alone; it also results in significant cost savings. (3) However, correctional administrators want to see not only cost benefits, but other benefits, including time savings, increased compliance and employee satisfaction.

Proven Results

A correctional agency experienced significant ROI by using the American Correctional Association's online training with a learning management system (LMS) designed and managed by Relias Learning in Cary, N.C. The results covered three areas:

  1. Cost and time savings

    * Reduced tracking and reporting by 75 percent;

    * Reduced time-creating courses by 65 percent; and

    * Reduced overtime related to training by 50 percent.

  2. Staff productivity

    * Reduced time away from the job by 60 percent.

  3. Strengthening compliance and minimizing liability risk

    * Reduced compliance deficiencies by 90 percent; and

    * Reduced liability risk by 35 percent.

    Two noncorrectional organizations achieved similar results with the Relias Learning Management System (RLMS). The first organization, the largest national provider of behavioral and mental health services, summarized its findings: "... savings on cost; increase in efficient, time, and compliance; and increase in staff and leadership satisfaction." Specifically, its compliance increased from 61 percent to 92 percent with the training, and administrative hours for management training decreased from 120 to 15 hours annually because the RLMS is so advanced.

    A second location of the organization had good ROI, as well:

    * Compliance increased from 60 percent before using the RLMS to 95 percent after;

    * Administrative hours for management training dropped from 840...

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