What is blended learning?
The concept blended learning involves a mixture of digital learning and face-to-face teaching. It is also referred to as "flipping the classroom" or "inverted teaching."
How does it work?
Blended learning aims to disrupt the "one-size-fits-all" educational model by integrating different online and offline techniques to come up with a tailored "blend".
It puts emphasis on web-based instructions to enhance face-to-face and adaptive learning. In other words, it doesn't just mean surfing the internet to do extra research outside of classroom hours. As previously discussed here on the IACT blog, adaptive learning is meant to orchestrate the interaction between the learner and the tailored resources to address each student's needs.
Another misconception about blended learning is only implemented online. While it doesn’t need to happen on campus, face-to-face sessions are held at an instructor-led location from time to time.
Ultimately, blended learning ensures that online and offline elements work together for an enhanced experience, instead of duplicating course content across a variety of formats. Some of the benefits include:
- Personalized training: Often, employees have to sit through hours of training just to wait for a short segment that is targeted at them. With blended learning, they can go directly to activities that cater to their needs and objectives.
- Flexible access to resources: Because blended learning eliminates distance and time constraints, it means that employees can continue their training at their own pace, and convenience. Outside of that, they can align their free time with that of their trainers and other employees.
- Trackable employee performance: Blended learning modules come with their own grading rubrics and personalized feedback systems that are more accurate than the traditional grading cookie-cutter approach.
- Cost-effective: A survey published on Training Mag reveals that employee training accounts for a significant amount of most companies annual budgets. The challenge lies in creating a strategy that is both smart and cost-effective, which blended learning can provide. As more online options are incorporated, it saves on logistics budgets and improves productivity.
How is it used in corporate training?
Blended learning is now an integral part of corporate training. eLearning Inside notes that an estimated 90% of skills learned in training are likely to be lost within a year, if not properly reinforced. Blended learning helps learners apply the skills taught and equips them with the knowledge to become better at their profession. Here are some samples of blended learning activities used by corporate trainers.
- Online courses: In Maryville University’s article on traditional degrees versus online degrees, they state that online education is more popular than ever. A significant portion of students taking online courses are in full time work, and they wish to pursue further learning without putting their careers on hold. In corporate training, the same benefits apply. Employees don't have to sit in a classroom for weeks to complete a course. Instead, they can enroll in short courses adjusted to their schedules, or training webinars where they can even ask questions and interact with peers.
- Social media support: Nowadays, social media is an integral part of everyday life. It can also double as an engaging online learning tool. Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn can all be platforms for corporate support. Groups can be used to collate articles, presentations, and videos, with employees able to discuss and share their own insights in the process. Since most social media sites are equipped with built-in feedback tools (i.e. polls), it's also a way for employers to learn more about their employees.
- Learning Management Systems (LMS): For wider learner demographics, an LMS can provide a more robust platform for organizations. This software is able to administer training, track student progress, deliver content, and more, via an automated system.
Feature Post especially for iacet.org
Contributed by Lindsey Jameson