Thomson Job Impact Study Reinforces Blended Learning Yields up to 163% Increase in On-the-Job Performance

The Right Blended Learning Components Lead to Greater Workforce Productivity and Performance
 

NETg, a worldwide leader in corporate education and training and part of The Thomson Corporation, announced that phase two of the Thomson Job Impact Study, The Next Generation of Corporate Learning, further reinforces that a blended learning program incorporating a combination of e-learning, online instruction, simulations, texts, mentor/instructor support and live classroom-based training has the power to significantly increase employee productivity. These findings follow earlier study results that revealed blended learning is a far more effective approach to training than single-delivery methods alone.
 

The world-class Thomson Job Impact Study, the first of its kind to measure the effectiveness of blended learning against single training options, now also takes the critical next step of pinpointing the critical components necessary to achieve a successful blended learning approach. The study was developed in collaboration with leading corporate organizations and academic institutions including Lockheed-Martin; NCR; Utah State University; University of Limerick, Ireland; Anoka-Ramsey Community College, Minnesota; Executive Service Corps of Chicago; and KnowledgePool.

The first phase of the study, released last year (2002), aimed to determine if there were significant differences in the accuracy and time it took learners to perform real-world tasks after using blended learning training approaches, e-learning training programs or no training at all. As previously released, results from phase one of the research revealed that a structured curriculum of blended learning compared to single-delivery options generated:

  • 30% increase in accuracy of performance

  • 41% increase in speed of performance

The second phase of the study sought to identify the essential instructional components of a successful blended learning solution. The researchers studied five separate groups of learners to compare e-learning with three different types of blended learning solutions:

  1. Instructor-led training

  2. Text-based programs

  3. Scenario-based exercises

The instructor-led training (ILT Blend) group received blended learning driven by scenario-based exercises (SBEs) within the context of an instructor-led course. The text blend group received SBEs that included access to text objects. The scenario-based exercise (SBE Blend) group received SBEs that included access to NETg Learning Objects (NLOs). The e-learning group received a standard e-learning course. The control group was established to benchmark performance and did not receive any training. All of the groups completed a post-assessment and three real-world tasks.
 

As in phase one of the study, the new results also confirm that a defined blended learning solution heightens overall on-the-job performance achieved by e-learning alone and that either blended or single-delivery models are more effective than no training at all. When compared with the group that received no training, the research shows:

  • e-learning group to have a 99% increase in on-the-job accuracy

  • ILT Blend achieved 163% increase in accuracy

  • Text Blend demonstrated a 153% increase in accuracy

  • SBE Blend showed an 159% increase in accuracy

When compared with the e-learning group, the blended learning groups were:

  • 27% to 32% more accurate in task performance

  • 41% to 51% faster in task performance

The overall analysis further reveals that a well-defined blended learning approach results in greater workforce productivity. The Thomson Job Impact Study, in search of the optimal blended learning model, provides insight on which components of a blended learning model appear to be essential for success and which components may be interchangeable. The three blended learning groups performed nearly identically, leading to the conclusion that the components common to the three groups represent the essential components of a successful blended learning model. The three core instructional features include:

  1. The use of scenario-based exercises as the basis for learning software

  2. Actual experience using the software

  3. Authentic assessments designed to parallel real-world tasks

Other instructional components of the blended learning models appear to be interchangeable; having demonstrated similar levels of effectiveness. This finding gives the user flexibility to select learning tools based on availability, budget or other business needs. These interchangeable components include integrating live instruction, introducing text objects or electronic learning objects within real-world scenarios and providing real-time access to mentors during training.

"Building courseware and providing learning services that meet the needs of the individual learner is at the core of the NETg business," stated Joe Dougherty, president of NETg. "The Job Impact Study validates the effectiveness of a blended approach to training. In the final analysis, the focus is on providing not only e-learning courses, but on supporting the learner with a variety of instructional tools and solutions to insure that the training experience delivers measurable job performance improvements that are aligned with the strategic objectives of the business."

To request a copy of the Thomson Job Impact Study, please call 630-637-8835.

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About The Thomson Corporation & NETg

The Thomson Corporation (www.thomson.com), with 2001 revenues of $7.2 billion, is a global leader in providing integrated information solutions to business and professional customers. Thomson provides value-added information, software applications and tools to more than 20 million users in the fields of corporate and professional training, assessment and testing, higher education, reference information, law, tax, accounting, financial services, and scientific research and healthcare.

The Corporation's common shares are listed on the New York and Toronto stock exchanges (NYSE: TOC; TSX: TOC). Its learning businesses and brands serve the needs of individuals, institutions, and businesses with a blend of products and services tailored to any learning environment.

As part of Thomson, NETg is a global leader in blended learning with a complete solution of content, technology and services. NETg's offering is comprised of its award-winning e-learning courseware, books, e-Books and instructor-led training manuals and Wave accelerated IT Boot Camps and self-study kits, as well as an online executive education and e-MBA program. For more than 30 years NETg has been an innovation leader incorporating Internet deployment and interactivity with over 80,000 learning objects in popular IT, desktop computing and professional development topics.
 
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