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 has plenty of advantages - as well as some disadvantages to consider.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
This uses a combination of classroom-based learning and self-directed learning (similar to the flipped model referenced above).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.