What is blended learning?
Blended learning is a type of learning that allows learners to utilize the ability to learn both face-to-face and online through digital platforms.
The goal is not to complement or replace conventional learning styles, but rather to incorporate necessary changes to make the educational path for learners more effective and personalised.
According to one study (Preparing for the Digital University 2015, page 71), blended learning has proven to generate better learning outcomes when compared with other learning styles, such as solely online or face-to-face.
The benefits of blended learning
1. Higher employee engagement
Through blended learning, employees have more opportunities to learn and engage.
They can learn from trainers face-to-face, and if they need to work more on a new concept or practice, they have access to all useful material online at all times.
Employees can revisit this material to strengthen their understanding on their own, and also meet with trainers to discuss questions and problems face-to-face.
2. More Effective
Blended learning enables employees to learn through different styles.
Only learning face-to-face can increase dependency on trainers.
Being able to learn independently as well as face-to-face is empowering and motivating for employees.
Also, it allows trainers to manage training sessions more efficiently, especially when training large groups.
3. Increased flexibility
Employees have more opportunities to learn on their own, at their preferred pace and time.
Plus, training instructors are no longer bound to cover everything in the face-to-face training sessions.
They can break down the course for increased efficiency and have the freedom to decide what they want to emphasize in training sessions.
Also, if all employees are not on the same level, using an online learning platform means that every individual can be evaluated and given the attention they need to learn and make progress.
Overall, blended learning bridges the gap between what is taught and what is learned.
4. Saves time and money
Conducting online training sessions, when it makes sense, can save a lot of time and money.
For example, multinational companies often conduct training sessions in one location, and employees from other countries have to travel to be there.
Also, renting a large seminar hall to host a training session can be very expensive.
Therefore, from saving on travel costs to seminar rooms rental, blended learning minimizes operational costs significantly. In addition, it saves the time that companies have to invest in organizing training events on a large scale.
And some of the hours that it usually takes to go over everything in a face-to-face training can now be divided between online and in-person work.
5. Much more accurate analysis of learning
In a face-to-face training session, it can be difficult for the instructor to determine whether everyone is on the same page or not.
Some employees absorb the material quickly, while others might be struggling.
On the other hand, an online platform that contains various types of learning material, such as videos, ebooks, lectures, and presentations, can be used to track individual progress more effectively.
These tools incorporate built-in analytics that can evaluate and present a more accurate analysis of individual learning.
Thus, in a blended scenario, earning becomes more predictable, accurate, and measurable.
6. Something for everyone
Not every employee performs well during face-to-face training sessions.
Similarly, some might find the online-only learning platform too complicated.
Blended learning provides employees a perfect approach; with different modes of learning, everyone can benefit in one way or another and take advantage of the provided opportunities to learn and grow.
7. Improved communication
Face-to-face training by itself might not provide employees with the opportunity to communicate effectively with the instructor, especially in large groups.
With only a limited time allotted for the in-person training session, a trainer only can entertain a few questions as they need to cover all aspects of the training module.
With blended learning, online platforms become a part of the learning process.
At the same time, employees can find plenty of opportunities to communicate with the instructor and their team members through the dashboard and other built-in communication tools.
Similarly, employers and instructors can reach out to their employees more efficiently and assign different tasks, address problems, and discuss ideas more conveniently through the online platform.
Examples of blended learning
Employees being introduced to new principles and procedures at work face-to-face, with relevant material and exercises available on an online platform that comes with built-in communication tools.
Conducting short face-to-face coaching sessions with employees to connect with them and to observe their responses to various topics and issues, and then incorporating a blending learning approach that best fits their needs while maintaining a balance between face-to-face and online coaching.
Chatting with employees face-to-face in a problem-solving session to mentor them, as well as providing them with online resources such as ebooks and case studies that they can access anytime. This supplies them with a perfect blend of in-person and online support to become a high-achieving team member.
Providing employees with resources to learn online in the form of short courses, before having them out those new skills to the test with practical exercises at work. Such exercises could be done as a team, working on projects and tasks utilizing the training received through the online course.
Having Employees review and learn training material in the form of videos and text online to get up to speed with new developments before deepening their understanding through face-to-face discussions with the instructors at work.
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