Reaching the “Unreachables”

Reaching today’s learners requires a range of learning solutions. Classrooms are great, but what about people who are effectively “unreachable”—geographically dispersed or remote workers, people who are mission critical to your front line who can never get into a class, or individuals who for other reasons need an online learning solution.

That’s one of the challenges that Scott Blanchard wanted to address as he proposed design changes to his company’s online learning programs.

As Blanchard explains, “We have been involved with elearning since the early 1990s. As we redesigned our latest online learning programs, we wanted to incorporate what we had learned over the past 20 years into a new online learning product that would best serve those clients where classroom learning was not a viable option. We wanted to create something that was short and sweet and interactive and effective.

“Blanchard Online Learning takes a deep dive into some of our most effective content. We think that is an important distinction. There are a lot of good elearning platforms out there, but in addition to great technology, you also need great content. Our proprietary elearning product combines the proven, effective content of Situational Leadership® II—the most taught leadership development model in the world—with a robust technology platform that makes it convenient for people to learn.”

A Case in Point

For example, Blanchard points to a recent client, Canyon Technical Services, which provides hydraulic fracturing and other well-stimulation services to oil and natural gas producers across Western Canada. Now a major player in the pressure pumping industry, it has grown organically from startup to more than 1,000 employees and a billion-dollar enterprise in less than 10 years. Many of their employees work in extremely remote locations on rotating 15-day shifts.

With growth continuing, Todd den Engelsen, Vice President, Organizational Development, wanted to make a bold move to give employees the necessary skills to lead themselves, lead others, and lead the organization.

As den Engelsen explains, “We needed to have a common leadership language that could be used by all of our people in the field as well as sales, executives, engineers, and employees in finance and other departments. We wanted everyone to get the same training experience and have a similar vision of good leadership.”

Canyon’s goals were to build a culture of employee engagement, create an environment to attract and retain the best talent, align individual and department activities with organizational strategy, and ensure safety. In addition to a proven curriculum and content, the solution needed to include a delivery method that could be rolled out to office staff as well as to workers in remote locations.

After considering several training programs, Canyon Technical Services selected Blanchard Online Learning and piloted it with the senior management team. The delivery strategy included a classroom launch, online learning, and debriefing sessions throughout. This blended solution offered participants the ability to learn online asynchronously, then debrief and collaborate in joint learning sessions.

Content and Delivery

Keeping it short, social, and relevant is a big part of what Blanchard points to as basics when designing effective online learning for people who are pressed for time or who work in a geographically dispersed environment. That design begins by setting the context for the person and answering the question, “Why is learning this important?”

“Our new designs spend the majority of the time in the lesson giving people a chance to practice, experience, and simulate how they will apply this when they get back to work,” says Blanchard. “At the end of each lesson we ask participants to consider what they've learned and why it matters to them in their life. We are very cognizant of following that process.

“We have also learned that shorter is better and less is more when it comes to online learning. It's about keeping each lesson contained. In the past, we had a tendency to throw everything plus the kitchen sink into each segment. Now we recognize that a learning design is not complete until the last irrelevant piece has been removed.”

A Larger Learning Process

In Blanchard’s experience, what elearning does well is teach content. But learning content is only one aspect of the overall learning process. You also need to connect the content to the participant’s life, provide a chance to practice and develop skills around it, and then create an environment with enough motivation so that learners apply what they have learned.

Blanchard’s latest design delivers bite-size learning over time and opportunities to debrief with colleagues in between. This design can be used with managers, supervisors, frontline leaders, and individual contributors to asynchronously learn together. It’s a powerful option when you can’t take participants away from the job for a one- to two-day program or when the learner prefers an online learning solution.


Would you like to learn more about creating effective online learning for your “unreachables”? Then join us for a free webinar!

Building Effective and Engaging Online Learning Solutions

Recorded: September 2014

Reaching today’s learners requires a range of learning solutions. In this webinar, Scott Blanchard, cofounder of Blanchard Online Learning, shares the key components to creating an online learning solution that facilitates learning conversations and encourages collaborative learning, greater retention, and increased application back on the job.

Blanchard will share how to

  • Set up for success and create strategic alignment by determining and communicating the expectation for involvement to ensure high levels of participation, engagement, and organization support.
  • Use impact mapping to confirm organization, department, and individual goal alignment.
  • Successfully launch online learning in a way that engages participants in the process by creating excitement around the learning and presenting an overview of the program elements.
  • Bring learners together to debrief with their peers to discuss learnings, talk about application, and share success stories.

Who Should Attend:

  • HR and OD professionals focused on the design, management, and strategy of learning and development in their organizations.
  • Senior leaders looking to solve complex business issues, achieve measurable results, and develop leadership capacity to improve productivity and performance.
  • L&D decision makers evaluating learning programs and leadership models that build values, skills, and competencies that help people and organizations lead at a higher level.

Blanchard will also share case studies of companies who have successfully used these strategies in their own organizations. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn how to design content and tools that engage learners and keep them focused and on track during the learning journey.

View On-demand