September 2016

Blendedˣ, the Next Step in Distance Learning by CrossKnowledge

CrossKnowledge launches a new training technology that transforms individuals as well as the company. New roles for trainers, focus on group dynamics, training linked to professional life.

CrossKnowledge, one of the world’s leaders in digital learning announced the launch of Blendedx. This new technology will give a new face to distance learning. Integrated as part of CrossKnowledge’s highly awarded platform, Blendedx provides training that assists in a company’s transformation by converting the learning process into a group project, integrated into participant’s professional lives.

David Perring, director of research at Fosway Group comments, ‘Learning Management Systems need to support learners with more than just the right content, to the right people, at the right time. They need to support, entice and motivate learners across the entire learning process. In many ways, LMS’s need to become “Learning Engagement Systems”. With BlendedX, CrossKnowledge, has started to do just that and more providers should be following their lead.’

Blended learning is considered the most effective training method.

Widely implemented in companies, blended learning is used for over 30% of the total hours spent in training. In most cases, other methods are positioned in contrast to blended learning. For example, Classroom sessions promote sharing and a collective approach, while e-learning is solitary and sometimes promotes more individualized concepts.

“For our clients, these methods are starting to reach the limits of what they can accomplish.”
explains Steve Fiehl, Chief Innovation Officer at CrossKnowledge.

“To avoid blocking participants, and for budgetary reasons, companies now seek to minimize time spent in a classroom. But they haven’t managed to find a true alternative for the online sessions. Since these tend to be solitary, if the sessions become too long, participants can be deterred from continuing.” 

Hence, the recent move to group distance learning, which is inspired by the MOOC approach. Despite its general success, the MOOC approach has experienced some difficulty in taking off. In most cases, it offers large groups of participants a collection of videos to watch according to a set schedule. As a result, it suffers from very low completion rates, barely higher than those for academic MOOCs (6%).

Blendedx is a new learning technology designed by CrossKnowledge to overcome the MOOC completion rate problem.

“Our analysis shows that a good training program must create more value for all stakeholders: company, manager, trainer and employees,” stated Steve Fiehl.

“It can no longer be restricted to just distributing content, no matter how good the content is. It must help teams solve problems, reach their objectives, and contribute to the company’s transformation by turning trainers into coaches and facilitators, and giving managers a more supportive role as guides.”

Natively developed for multiple devices (PC/tablets and smartphones) and with its own mobile app, Blendedx was built using feedback from user panels. Also with the help of a dozen big-client beta-testers, the highly innovative technology benefitted from Proof of Concept testing directly in professional environments.  

A focus on strong group dynamics, essential to learning and motivating participants.

Primarily used for a dozen participants at a time, Blendedx can be duplicated to accommodate thousands of students. Participants can view other people’s profiles, post introduction videos, participate in polls, post ideas on themes suggested by trainers, share experiences and “like” contributions posted by others, and soon they will be able to work in sub-groups. In sum, all the educational methods currently offered in a face-to-face training, and which have largely proven their effectiveness over the years will be available for distance learning via Blendedx.

Participants realize very early in the training that they are part of a group, with the option of integrating synchronous activities, like classroom sessions or webinars. Blended learning takes on another dimension and truly takes a quantum leap in providing a full learning experience. Also, through the use of subtle gamification techniques the program promotes emulation. Participants see their clear and consistent progress within the program, whether through social activities, asynchronous e-learning or classroom sessions. Depending on the program, participants can also earn certifications at specific preconfigured stages when they acquire enough points in certain competencies.

Employees involved in making changes.

By involving thousands of participants in the training program and allowing them to contribute freely, Blendedx gives companies a powerful tool for their own transformation. CrossKnowledge expects its new training technology to be used to support re-engineering programs in companies where the teams are consulted on new product lines or new work methods. They contribute in helping their organizations adapt to the digital revolution.

“Employee involvement is at its lowest in companies. Two-thirds of our HR Department clients ask us to do more than just train their employees. They want us to involve them in the change process.” stated Steve Fiehl.

Repositioning trainers at the heart of the training program.

Able to use any asynchronous content (e-learning modules, videos, etc.) on mobile devices as well as on a PC, the success of Blendedx; nevertheless, is built around increasing the role of the trainer. Trainers are the ones who in fact can propose activities, read feedback, answer questions, and lead a community. Their roles as experts evolve and they become “change coaches”. Steve Fiehl explains:

“According to our studies, 85% of participants are ready to follow a full distance learning program, if they feel truly accompanied and if it helps them solve a concrete problem. This technology represents a great opportunity for trainers to no longer be victims of the distance learning program. They can finally seize control and become its users.”

With its 12 million users and over 500 big-account clients, CrossKnowledge aims to draw on its established relationships with the market’s main training partners to teach them about this new technology, and help them take the next step in distance learning.

About CrossKnowledge :

With more than 12 million users in 130 countries, CrossKnowledge is one of the world’s leading distance learning providers. CrossKnowledge solutions apply to companies and organizations of all sizes, successfully helping them execute their strategies, measurably developing competencies for each of their employees. They are built using world renowned content, social and mobile technology training expertise integrating the latest in educational research, and 16 years of experience and best practices for deployment. CrossKnowledge is part of the Wiley group.