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What is blended learning?

What is blended learning and how can it benefit your business and your employees? Find out from the experts at Go1
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Mike Jeavons, Content Writer
2022-11-21

Blended learning is the use of both online and classroom-based education, so students can receive training using a variety of methods. By using blended learning it allows students with varying learning styles to retain information and it’s more cost-effective than traditional training and education. Blended learning is fast becoming a common strategy used by businesses to train and upskill employees.

However, while blended learning uses classroom-based education, that doesn’t mean students have to attend a physical classroom. Training can be delivered via webinars or videos, particularly if employees work remotely. This can also be a more cost-effective method of a blended learning approach.

By using blended learning it enables employees to retain more information and is a convenient way to develop your people.

Blended learning advantages and disadvantages

Blended learning has plenty of advantages - as well as some disadvantages to consider.

Advantages of blended learning include:

  • Scalability - because blended learning doesn’t always require students to be present (and sometimes not at all with remote employees), it can be scaled easily and is suitable for a large number of students
  • Best of both worlds - there are eight learning styles, and blended learning enables students who have varied learning styles to get the most of their experience
  • Feedback - because part of the learning process is independent, it’s useful to have classroom-based sessions to develop what was learned and provide feedback to aid with retention
  • Self-directed learning - with at least half of learning usually done online via eLearning, employees are free to learn as and when it’s convenient for them
  • Cost-effective - because eLearning materials have already been produced and don’t require input from a tutor or teacher, it’s a much more cost-effective way of training employees - materials can be accessed instantly from anywhere, too
  • Increased engagement - training isn’t always exciting, but blended learning ensures that engagement levels are high, and students get much more out of the process

Disadvantages of blended learning include:

  • Higher costs - while eLearning is cost-effective, blended learning does still require some input from a teacher or tutor, which can mean slightly higher costs
  • Can cause extra pressure - while the online learning part of blended learning is self-directed, the classroom-based sessions require time away from day-to-day responsibilities at a set time, which can lead to added time pressures
  • Motivation - for some, finding the motivation for blended learning can be a challenge, particularly for those who struggle with self-directed tasks

While there are some disadvantages, the benefits of blended learning by far outweigh the disadvantages. But what is the best way to approach blended learning within your organization?

Blended learning models

There are several blended learning models that can be utilized, with each having slight variations that depend on what your business needs or what you’re looking to achieve by developing your people.

Flipped model

The flipped model works by providing students with the training materials ahead of the classroom session. This way, students can learn independently beforehand, then ask questions and participate in discussions after the self-directed introduction.

Face-to-face driver model

Similar to a traditional school education mode, the face-to-face driver model features tutor-led sessions which are usually finished with the students being set assignments, or tasks - similar to homework - except they’re completed during work hours, rather than at home.

Enriched virtual model

Completely self-directed, students predominantly learn via online materials and can choose to attend webinars or face-to-face sessions. The enriched virtual model is flexible and ensures students can learn at their own pace.

Types of blended learning

The purpose of blended learning is to provide a varied learning environment so students retain information and can put their new skills and knowledge into practice. To do this there are several types of blended learning.

Station rotation

Commonly used in schools, station rotation focuses on a single subject, such as math, science, or English. It uses a combination of classroom sessions, tutoring, homework, tests, discussions, and projects.

Lab rotation

Lab rotation is another academic type of blended learning, which involves students rotating on the campus to work at different stations while learning one specific subject. Often one of these stations is online.

Flipped classroom

This uses a combination of classroom-based learning and self-directed learning (similar to the flipped model referenced above).

Mastery-based

Mastery-based blended learning allows students to work at their own pace, and not feel any pressure to complete their learning by a set date. This more flexible approach enables students to get a higher level of understanding of a specific subject.

Supplemental

This focuses heavily on the online aspect of blended learning, while still allowing for some classroom-based sessions. It’s to encourage additional engagement with self-directed materials. However, this does mean workloads can increase.

Outside-in

Instead of using online and classroom learning throughout the process, outside-in front-loads digital learning and ends with classroom sessions to share their learnings and ask questions.

Blended learning for employees

Since the Covid-19 pandemic, more and more businesses have seen the benefits of remote and hybrid working. Because of this, they’re also seeing that blended learning is a highly-effective way to train employees.

Just as when practiced in a school setting, blended learning works exceptionally well for businesses. It allows employees to get the best of both forms of learning, which helps with retention and is more flexible. The digital aspect of blended learning is self-directed, and can be accessed from any device as and when students have the time.

By using a blended learning strategy you give your employees everything they need to excel in their roles, which in turn provides a better service to your customers. As a result, your business can expect more revenue, happier employees, and lower staff turnover.

How to create blended learning programs

Creating a blended learning program doesn’t need to be a long and complex process. There are plenty of tools and resources available to make it simple - including using Go1’s wide selection of online courses as part of your strategy.

To create a blended learning program, you should consider the following steps:

Step 1: Outline the objectives

What do you want your employees to get out of the training that will benefit your business? Is it a new skill to increase productivity, or knowledge that will help them advise customers? By understanding the objectives you’ll be able to build a program around them.

Step 2: Which model/type of blended learning suits your business

Do you want to front-load employees with eLearning courses, followed by a webinar or in-person session? Or have a balance of digital and classroom sessions throughout? Once you know how you want your employees to learn you can arrange eLearning and other training materials/sessions.

Step 3: Make sure it’s interactive

A key reason why blended learning is successful is because it’s interactive, so helps students retain knowledge. Because of that, make sure your training program has plenty of interactivity to keep employees engaged.

Step 4: Assessments

To make sure employees are engaged with training, there should be an end-of-module assessment. A learning management system (LMS) can be used to set and monitor assessments.

Go1 has a range of courses available to access right now, and can be used to complement any blended learning strategy. For more information, book a demo with our team today.

Go1 helps millions of people in thousands of organizations engage in learning that is relevant, effective and inspiring.
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