Making choices can be hard. Especially when the two of them are equally appealing and favorable. Isn’t it? And it’s one lucky day that you find a solution that is the best of both worlds. For corporate L&D gurus who wish to achieve successful training results but are somewhat hesitant to choose between the tried and tested classroom training or the innovative eLearning, Blended Learning is the right pick for you! It offers the best of both training formats in your training programs and drives desired results.
Who Said We Could Just Blend Words? Training Formats Can be Blended Too!
Here are the top 5 reasons to integrate blended learning into your training programs:
- Improved retention
- Improved engagement
- More personalized training
- Reduced cost
- Different learning styles catered
Before we jump right into answering the question of whether blended learning is the best approach for YOUR organization or not, let’s understand what blended learning is along with the different formats of learning.
What is Blended Learning?
Blended learning, also known as hybrid or mixed-mode learning, is a method of training that combines online and offline training methods. It can be defined as “the blending of online and offline learning formats to deliver the various components of a course.” This allows employees to learn at their own pace and in a way that suits their needs.
Different Formats of Learning
Learning is a process and can occur in multiple ways. Listed below are some tried-and-tested formats of learning:
It is the basic and conventional learning practice that mandates both instructor and the learner to be in the same place and at the same time for learning to take place. Even with one of the elements missing, the whole process is hampered. It can be further categorized into two — instructor-led training and on-the-job training.
Instructor-led training refers to classroom training where the learner is provided with the required information and skills beforehand. Whereas on-the-job training includes gaining information and knowledge while working. The learner is instructed on what and how to perform designated tasks.
As the name suggests, virtual collaboration takes place via online medium. Therefore, the learner and the instructor need not be in the same place. Depending on the time component, it can be divided into two types:
- Synchronous virtual collaboration: In this type of learning, the learner and the instructor must be available at the same time. Some examples of synchronous virtual learning are interactive webinars, video conferences, chat-based online discussions, etc.
- Asynchronous virtual collaboration: Here, the learner and the instructor need not be available for interaction at the same time for learning to happen. The learner can carry on with their learning through the course material provided at their own pace and according to their own convenience. A few examples of asynchronous virtual learning entail email, video demonstrations, reading and writing assignments, online course discussions, etc.
Rushing through things has never done well for anyone. Learning things at our own pace facilitates better engagement and understanding. This format complies with the very idea where learners can manage the time and pace of their learning to achieve the desired objectives. It helps reduce stress and additional burden and strengthens time management and decision-making skills.
Electronic Performance Support System
This format is a major time saver as it aims to provide just-in-time support to employees that otherwise could have wasted plenty of time. Evidently, it fosters productivity and efficiency. Some of the examples include in-add guidance, knowledge bases, resources, employee handbook, e-books, organization charts, etc.
Now that we are well-versed in the various formats of learning, it is time to comprehend what blended learning is and how it caters to modern-day learning needs.
Benefits of Blended Learning in Training Programs
It’s no secret that technology and business requirements are changing every single day and at a much faster rate. To accommodate these needs and changes, businesses must ensure that their employees stay updated and are provided with relevant information. For this purpose, the traditional instructor-led classroom system is being replaced by online learning, and the rise of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) has made it easier than ever for learners to continue with their learning.
The primary benefit of using blended learning is that it allows learners to acquire knowledge in an efficient manner, which results in better retention rates, increased job satisfaction, and higher performance level. In addition, blended learning can be used by both instructors looking for an opportunity to improve learner engagement and by learners seeking more flexibility in their learning experience.
Reasons to Implement Blended Learning in Training Programs
We’ll go over five reasons why you should consider implementing blended learning in your course:
1. Improved retention
The basic purpose of learning something is to remember it and implement the acquired knowledge to attain better outcomes. Blended learning is a great way to do so. With formats like eLearning, mobile learning, and microlearning, learners can learn at their own pace, and have a better chance of understanding the information being conveyed, thereby having more opportunities to retain information for a longer duration.
Blended learning breaks the pattern of mundane and monotonous ever-stretching sessions and fosters interest via eLearning interactive courses. It helps in defying the forgetting curve and boosts confidence. You can leverage different microlearning assets, such as quizzes, videos, infographics, etc., to assess the knowledge gained and the information retained. These can serve as amazing job-aids and help in refresher training.
2. Improved engagement
Blended learning promotes engagement among learners via different interactive media. It overcomes the conventional chalk-and-board nature of learning and incorporates elements that grab the attention and interest of the learner. Training formats like eLearning and VILT when offered in a blended platter enhance learner engagement. Interactivities in eLearning courses facilitate learners to involve themselves in the learning content whereas VILT offers various collaborative learning opportunities like public chats and breakout rooms that support peer-to-peer learning and boosts learner engagement.
These training formats enable active participation and help learners be more involved and engaged in the learning process. The information is given to the learner in a manner that augments learning which helps boost the retention rate even further!
3. More personalized training
With blended learning, you can provide your employees with a more customized training experience based on their individual needs and interests. You can leverage microlearning courses to set the base for VILT or assign eLearning courses for value addition to what has already been conveyed to the learner. It provides extra knowledge without taking up extra effort and time as the learners can opt for mobile learning and learn new things even on the go
You can also benefit from performance support methods, such as how-to guides, videos, and other job aids, that help the learner develop their skills and knowledge without being bound to a specific time duration or place.
This will allow them to head in the right direction and function in the manner that works best for them and their career goals.
Blended learning can help you save money. That’s right! You can save a significant amount, from not needing a physical place to conduct a training session to be able to use the same training material over time in eLearning. Even better, if in case you need to make changes, the cost of modification in eLearning training modules is way lower than paying to have everything designed from scratch. For microlearning, since the content is divided into smaller chunks, even a single module can be updated without having to change the complete course.
5. Caters to different learning styles
Everyone has their own unique style of learning. Some might be auditory learners, whereas others might learn faster from watching a video. Don’t worry! Blending learning covers it all. When it comes to learning, it’s all mix and match for different people. Some might learn better in isolation and then feel comfortable interacting for discussion and debate. On the other hand, some learners might want to understand things in a predefined instructional setting first and then move on to the self-learning phase. Either way, blended learning caters to them all. Self-directed learning formats, such as microlearning modules, eLearning courses, etc., can be paired with VILT to achieve the best possible learning outcomes. Moreover, it allows flexibility to learners to opt for ways that best support their learning style, thereby promoting better learning and productivity.
The main goal of blended learning is to increase the overall learner’s knowledge and skills. In general, blended learning is a process that combines traditional methods with other technologies like computer-based training (CBT) and virtual environments. It helps people achieve tangible goals: gain better career outcomes, learn at a faster rate, improved retention, and achieve better performance in their education or employment.
If you’re curious to know how blended learning can help accelerate time to proficiency, here’s an interesting webinar recording to offer you the insights. Check it out now!