Blended Learning – What is it and how it can help you

Blended Learning

Technology has had a spectacular impact on corporate training. Every day L&D Professionals are finding new ways of using technology in corporate training to engage employees in the learning process. According to this survey, 70% of the learners say that online learning is better than traditional learning and claim to learn better online than in-classroom. When you combine the best of both worlds – social aspects from the traditional class-room style training and the self paced methodology of E-learning – you get a model called blended learning. The blended learning boosts your employee’s engagement and performance. The primary reason for blended learning is to give employees more freedom in how they learn and engage in their training. The modern blended learning programs provide a variety of learning formats to employees by implementing two critical learning dimensions into its approach:

  • Online Learning (Self-paced learning)
  • In-Class Learning

According to this survey, the learning retention rates are increased by 60% when blended learning approaches are implemented in the learning strategies. On the other hand, the 70:20:10 learning model states that only 10% of the learning is formal, whereas 70% of the learning is experiential, and 20% is social. In simple terms, people learn more through social interactions or on job activities and significantly less through formal learning. 

What is a Blended Learning Approach?

Blended learning is a term used to describe the eLearning strategy that combines traditional classroom methodologies and online (self-paced learning) strategies to establish a hybrid teaching methodology. It combines the best of both online and offline learning so as to provide your learners with an engaging and well- structured learning experience. 

Blended learning includes two crucial principles:

  • Learners who work directly with others in a collaborative and social environment to create an enriched learning experience
  • Collaboration between learners is enhanced when group activities are included in online resources. 

 Blended learning that includes formal education, followed by social learning and other interactive activities create more structured and richer learning experiences.

Traditional Learning and Blended Learning

The traditional blended learning consists of the following components:

  1. Classroom Learning: 

The classroom training tends to be overwhelming, expensive and time-consuming. The learning retention rates in classroom learning are meagre. Also, the productivity of employees in classroom learning can be low. When combined with classroom training, online training can significantly strengthen the learning experience by providing a structured, organised and configured environment. 

  1. Instructor-Led Training (ILT) Methodology: 

The Virtual ILT is an amazingly convenient learning approach as it provides your employees with an opportunity to access the resources anytime and anywhere, thereby saving time and boosting engagement. The adequate virtual ILT provide various benefits like:

  • Discussions
  • Interactive and Engaging Exercises
  • Polls
  • Chats
  1. Online Learning (Self-paced learning): 

With an online learning approach, training is more accessible, executable and engaging. Online learning provides an excellent opportunity for learners to access resources anytime and anywhere, uninterruptedly. Online learning reinforces the training by making you deliver short, bite-sized modules from any device. This approach lets training managers manage and distribute the training content effectively by keeping track of your training progress and employee performance. 

However traditional learning tends to mostly focus on facilitating formal learning. Formal learning tends to decrease your employees’ productivity by not providing information that your employees require. On the other hand, blended learning is bidirectional. In other words, blended learning involves pushing and pulling learning by adding additional learning modalities into the learning process. 

Benefits of Blended Learning in Corporate Training

Blended learning is a useful tool in corporate training to deploy learning activities for better engagement and performance appropriately. Blended learning has numerous benefits to corporate training like:

  • Cost-Effective
  • Great Learning Retention Rates
  • Effective Soft Skills
  • Facilitates Corporate Training feedback
  • Effective Classroom Training
  1. Cost-Effective: 

For businesses today, blended learning is considered cost-effective for corporate training. The blended learning approach reduces your training costs in the form of fewer facilitator fees, reduced travel and accommodation charges and classroom expenses. In simple terms, incorporating blended learning in your corporate training can boost your training ROI by reducing the traditional training costs and enhancing your employees’ effectiveness. 

  1. Great Learning Retention Rates:

Online and offline learning approach helps you deliver a rich and structured learning experience that allows your employees to grasp concepts quickly and effectively. Learners can easily apply the learnt concepts in practice training sessions, gather feedback from instructors, and benefit from the engaging learning environment. Higher the learning retention rates, higher is the employee effectiveness and productivity. 

  1. Effective Soft Skills:

With the evolution of technology, businesses, online meetings, conferences have become global, increasing the demand for communication and other soft skills. With blended learning solutions, employees can communicate clearly, concisely and effectively with their peers, colleagues and clients. Blended learning approach has helped employees develop their virtual communication skills, social skills and other necessary skills required for a virtual workplace. However, traditional training cannot cover the complete soft skills needed in the workplace. 

  1. Facilitates Corporate Training feedback:

Collecting training feedback and monitoring your employee’s performance manually can be very overwhelming and time-consuming. Blended strategy in corporate training helps you manage valuable feedback about your employee’s progress and performance via the assessment section.  A blended learning approach enables you to measure your training content’s effectiveness by getting instant feedback from employees. Additionally, using blending technologies will allow you to analyse and monitor your employee’s performance. You can even make use of a Learning Management System to generate automated training reports. 

  1. Effective Classroom Training:

62% of the employees are already working remotely in the U.S. In the last ten years, the number of people working remotely has increased by 400%. Collaboration tools like Zoom, Microsoft teams, Slack etc have ensured that communication is effortless across geographies and time zones. Webconfrencing tools and technologies like Learning Management System enable you to deliver a rich training experience, which helps your employees retain the training content easier than the traditional learning approach. Additionally, the blended training approach enhances your workforce by making your employees more capable of meeting your organisation’s learning objectives, which significantly impacts your business’s ROI. Organisations have started using blending technologies to increase employee engagement. 

The Blended Learning Models

The four popular Blended learning models are as follows:

  • The Face-to-Face Driver Model
  • Online Lab Model
  • Flex Model
  • Self-Blend Model
  1. The Face-to-Face Driver Model:

The Face-to-Face Driver Mode is one of the best classroom training approaches where your employees will function at different levels of ability and mastery. This model avoids boredom by providing more specific and appropriate challenges. This model offers endless opportunities for accelerated employees to put their knowledge into practice and formulate their techniques to improve retention.

  1. Online Lab Model:

The Online Lab model helps the learners complete the course entirely online and receive all the instructions through a single online platform. The online model uses in-class and online resources to help learners in their learning process and provide a comprehensive learning experience.

  1. Flex Model:

The Flex Model extensively relies on online instructional delivery, including facilitators or instructors. This model is one of the most used and successful models as it make the learners learn independently and develop the new skills required in the virtual environment.

  1. Self-Blend Model:

The self-blend model allows learners to participate in the formal classroom and provides them with opportunities to enrol in other regular courses to supplement their training program. This model’s goal is to customise the learning experience to learn independently without an instructor’s need. 

How to implement the Blended Learning Strategy Successfully?

A few common challenges faced by organizations with respect to training include high training costs, irregular access to training content or logistic issues with traditional learning methodologies. However Blended Learning has evolved to overcome these pitfalls by utilising both classroom and online learning methodologies. However, for practical corporate learning activities, you need to implement the blended learning strategy successfully. Let’s uncover the top ways of implementing the blended and hybrid learning solution successfully:

  • Focus on Objectives
  • Set Goals
  • Create an Implementation Strategy
  • Develop Online Assessments
  • Analyse your Employee’s Needs
  • Provide Support resources
  1. Focus on Objectives: 

One of the biggest mistakes in blended learning approaches is not to have a clear training objective and strategy to fit around the learning technologies. Always consider the learning objectives and performance goals first. Make a training plan and offer your employees interactive and engaging sessions and simulations for a useful learning experience. Ensure that the learning technologies you are using are in alignment with your learning objectives and blended learning strategy. 

  1. Set Goals:

The training managers should have a clear idea of what learning technologies are going to be used. Above all, how do you expect your employees to use all the learning technologies to improve their performance? The training managers should have a well-defined strategy, having defined expectations and performance goals to successfully implement the blended learning solution. On the other hand, corporate learners should be well-versed with the learning technologies and get the most out of the technology in the entire training process. 

  1. Create an Implementation Strategy:

The successful blended learning strategies adapt to the changing needs of the organisation and employees. You can analyse what is working and what is not by encouraging your employees to give feedback on the blended training program. To identify the areas of improvement, ensure your employees share their opinion on the training program. You can even create a focus group of your employees to test out all the tools and resources before the blended learning program’s official launch. 

  1. Develop Online Assessments:

Assessments are one of the most effective ways to figure out whether an employee absorbed the information or not. Implementing quizzes, simulations, or other interactive assessments can enhance information retention rates of your employees. You can quickly determine your employees’ understanding and skill set by implementing effective online assessments in your learning strategy. 

  1. Analyse your Employee’s Needs:

Your employees’ needs and personal preferences are also top priorities while implementing a successful learning strategy. You can conduct surveys, interviews or collect feedback from your employees to figure out their needs. The training managers should determine if the employees are well-versed with the technology, their past training experiences and their willingness to embrace change.

  1. Provide Support Resources:

Your employees might need a step to step guide in completing a work task. This is when the blended learning saves your time. You can offer your employees the support resources they need to complete the job without waiting for the scheduled training time. Your employees can easily view online training content directly on their digital devices. Additionally, you can expand their knowledge and skills by giving access to the website or online portals containing all the information you have included in the blended learning program. 

Are you Using Blended Learning in your Corporate Training?

Blended learning is an effective way to access the best of both worlds of formal and informal learning. It ensures that all your learning objectives and learners’ needs are met by successfully incorporating online and real-life learning methodologies. 

Kloudlearn Learning Management System (LMS) incorporates formal, social and collaborative learning with talent management to maximise your employee’s performance, boost productivity and improve training ROI. To know more about Kloudlearn, Schedule a Demo today. 

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