Optimising your virtual learning environments : go for the blended approach !

08 Feb 2019

There are more than 4 billion active internet users worldwide.

The average person spends no less than 5 hours per day online...

In this virtual world, it is not surprising that more and more Training & Consulting organisations are offering virtual solutions. But how can this type of coaching actually benefit your company?

A must for most businesses

Virtual training or coaching brings to mind a professional consultant and/or a facilitator who works with your employees remotely. This can take a number of forms: online seminars, training videos, Social Media modules or an e-learning platform.

The consultant does not need to travel and you as a company do not need to provide any additional infrastructure apart from an internet connection. Your employees suddenly have ultra-easy access to the very latest tools, knowledge and trends. What’s more, you can hire the services of experts from around the world at the click of a button. There are also fantastic online tools to help keep employees and managers on track. In terms of efficiency, these virtual solutions seem to have more than earned their place in the 21st century.

But if it’s virtual, does that mean it’s not real?

Good question. Because what do we actually mean by ‘virtual’ here? Can a virtual solution completely replace a live session with a coach just like that? It’s something to think about…

Let’s compare it to driving a car: it’s perfectly feasible to teach the theory behind driving in a few hours. You simply sit in the car with a pupil and explain to him how the pedals work, the dashboard, the gearbox… The pupil listens carefully and is with you all the way. But at the end of this session is he a proficient driver? Not yet, of course. Theory alone is not enough.

So what does a driving lesson have to do with e-learning and virtual training? Well, much more than you think.

Learn the theory with sexy e-tools

Because just like someone can learn to drive a car in theory, it’s also perfectly possible to train yourself in specific business skills. So in purely theoretical terms. “How do you set SMART goals?” – “How do you become a situational leader?” – “How do you master the art of giving feedback?”

The most amazing e-tools have been developed to help with this. They are simple, accessible and, admittedly, also sexy. But we are still left with a number of questions, just like with the driving lesson: how confident are you that you can successfully implement this knowledge? How can you turn this theory into usable skills? How can you make sure that you do not learn or use them in the wrong way? Who moderates this? And, as an organisation, how can you monitor and guide this entire process?

The blended approach – the best out of two worlds

The implementation of what people have learned is the most essential part of any learning process. Skills training, skills boot camps, role-play… you name it. These things are vitally important if you really want to apply your knowledge. Remember the 70/20/10 rule? That 70% is effectively about learning by doing.

Mailleux & Associates  therefor goes for a “ blended” approach : Managing Partner Christoph Van Daele explains: “ We first let our participants work through the theory of a concept in a virtual( or classroom ) way. Yet right after that … we let them act, improvise, make them do things on the spot. It’s a bit like intellectual stand-up comedy in a way…It’s all about getting people out of their comfort zones – allowing them to make mistakes and let them start again.. That’s essentially what learning is all about..This is how we strive to the conversion of theoretical knowledge into usable skills.”


The world is constantly skyping and swiping. There’s no doubt that e-learning and virtual tools will play a key role in education and training in the future. But here at Mailleux & Associates we prefer not to underestimate the power of live interaction. Christoph agrees: “Let’s say we opt for a mixed approach: we combine regular learning, e-learning and virtual modules, always complemented by live skills camps.”

Want to find out more about our skills camps or intellectual stand-up comedy? Don’t hesitate to contact us for more info or visit our website.

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