What Is The Blended Learning All About?
Blended learning is a model, where some or major part of the training is imparted through eLearning and the rest is through classroom-training or vice-versa. Blended learning is not a new solution and has been in vogue since quite a number of years.
However, it is now increasingly being adopted by organizations to make the best use of available resources. The solution emerged from schools or the K-12 sector where experiments were conducted to teach some part of the content through digital based medium or online and the rest was conducted as classroom sessions. For obvious reasons, when it comes to corporate training, the dynamics are completely different as compared to the K-12 sector.
There were quite a few challenges with the traditional model that is face to face/classroom teaching model due to which the blended learning model was thought of as a viable solution. What are those challenges? We will look at them next.
Challenges With Traditional Model
The traditional classroom training/face-to-face model involves lot of effort in terms of labor, material, time, logistics and so on. When organizations have several geographical locations or when the organization is large, then trainings need to be conducted in batches, different time periods and by different trainers.
The challenges are compounded when we have lot of dynamics in play such as new products being launched, change of policies, and changes in processes and procedures. Also, whenever a new team is onboarded, they need to be quickly integrated into the organization with the right training.
The availability of trainers, or rather the right trainers is also a very important factor.
Therefore, the amount of time and money that goes into making the trainings a success is enormous. Moreover, the scope for having optimal training in all situations is very rarely possible.
Blended Learning As A Solution
Blended learning emerged as a good solution for the aforementioned reasons/challenges. In today’s dynamic environment where organizations are in a tough competitive environment with regulatory and market changes, it is important that organizations constantly evolve by providing trainings in the most effective way.
With the advent of eLearning and specifically mobile and microlearning, organizations now have enormous amount of choices when it comes to designing the most optimal and effective learning solutions. The way the trainings are blended is determined by a number of factors. I will share some blended learning examples next.
Blended Learning Examples
1. Flexible Blended Learning
In this blended learning example or model, the online learning is the major component of the training. When the training is on knowledge, some basic skills, understanding of the subject and applying them to work, the content can simply be digitised and provided as online training. The higher order skills such as analyzing or synthesizing the subject matter can be taught in the follow-up classroom sessions. The classroom sessions in this model can focus on intensive workshop activities which cannot be integrated into the online medium. This blended learning example shows us the importance of flexibility in designing the curriculum.
2. Supplementary Blended Learning
In this blended learning example, either the online or classroom training can supplement each other. For example, the classroom session can focus on the skill based training and online medium can focus on performance support. Or, the pre-work can be done online, while the classroom trainings can take care of the subject matter.
3. Project-Based Learning
In this blended learning example, the learners go through both the online learning and classroom sessions to gain a good understanding of the project and submit assignments to validate their understanding to their mentors/trainers. This can be achieved with small project teams. Thus, project-based learning is an important blended learning example.
4. Assessments Online
In this blended learning example/model, the entire training is imparted through classroom sessions, while only the assessments are taken online. The purpose of this method is to track the performance in a uniform or standardized manner.
5. Microlearning And Videos
I have seen microlearning nuggets and videos working effectively as a supplementary material for the core training. Microlearning and videos can act as performance support and also as good reinforcements of the concepts taught in either classroom or online training. As we know, people tend to forget the materials after a few days or weeks of the training imparted. Hence, it is important to help the learners with performance support that is just-in-time and complementary to the trainings. This a good example of blended learning.
To conclude, the blended learning examples given in the blog are some ways to get the best out of your trainings. These models can be implemented to get better training and learning outcomes for your target group of learners.
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