What is Blended Learning?
There’s a science to how humans learn.
Although your blurry memories may insist you spent half your time writing notes from the board, this doesn’t give an accurate picture of everything taking place.
Teachers know better than anyone that individuals each absorb and retain information differently, so they needed a solution that could provide their auditory, visual, and kinaesthetic (VAK) learners with the chance to thrive in the classroom…
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What is Blended Learning?
Blended learning is defined as “a form of hybrid education that combines online materials with face-to-face activities.” When the concept first came to existence in 1998, it was intended to increase retention rates in classrooms. Now, it is used by digitally-savvy businesses across the world.
Why is Blended Learning in corporate environments?
No matter your life experiences, there’s always more to learn. The same can be said about your employees.
There is always a new skill to pick up, or an extra piece of software to learn.
Even if you hired them with the right qualifications for the job, their working expectations may have developed over time. Ultimately, any extra training you provide can:
- Increase their efficiency.
- Take their productivity to the next level.
- Make them better team players.
- Bring them “up to speed” with today’s digital landscapes.
In corporate environments, blended learning is used to foster an environment where an employee can continuously improve.
Why is Blended Learning important?
A blended learning approach to education isn’t just practical… It’s a necessity. Not only can it enable your staff members to adopt a growth mindset, but it can create an agile and flexible company that adapts to market demands.
Instead of forcing staff members to “waste” hours of their time watching video after video, blended learning could have them:
- Taking an online course.
- Interviewing with a mentor.
- Participating in a competitive quiz.
- Applying the knowledge they’ve learnt.
This ensures that employees are receptive to absorbing the information presented, but also increases the likelihood of their willingness to seize training opportunities.
What are the benefits of Blended Learning?
Today, around 82% of students prefer a hybrid learning environment over a traditional one, and, for them, it ultimately comes down to:
- Convenience: Users can control the pace of their progression.
- Satisfaction: Courses feel like an “experience” rather than a drain.
- Effectiveness: The variation increases engagement and retention rates.
- Motivation: Blended learning courses have a higher likelihood of completion.
For businesses, the benefits of blended learning are equally bountiful.
Blended learning solutions increase the accessibility of your training modules to a range of staff needs, but they also maximise training efficiency; reduce wastage; increase ROI; and drive continuous improvement.
When employees are enjoying their learning experience, they are more likely to buy into a culture of change and even celebrate their employers for the opportunities provided.
What are the main challenges of Blended Learning?
However, it’s not all roses and sunshine. Admittedly, blended learning does have its weaknesses.
First, it assumes that every individual is digitally-proficient and has access to a reliable computer with Wi-Fi. This is one of the many limitations of e-learning.
Second, it is difficult to coordinate. The flexibility of blended learning lets employees complete courses at a time that makes sense to them. However, in-person modules need to take place; and teammates may be at different points in their learning journey.
If one person falls behind, the whole procedure can fall apart.
How to create a Blended Learning program
To avoid failure and disappointment, you need a blended learning strategy. This should combine tried and tested education techniques with basic human psychology.
Step 1: Speak to your employees
Every employee is unique. So are their needs.
Your staff members will have different ideas about what works best for them, so asking questions and facilitating concerns could help you design a blended learning approach that works.
You may find that some people need a quiet space to retain information, but others work better when they are able to collaborate.
Step 2: Understand learning psychology
According to a Gartner study, 60% of workers have struggled with new software in the last 2 years. This causes a downfall in employee wellbeing and slows business activity.
When you use a digital adoption platform, efficiency in the workplace can increase tenfold. Your staff are quickly able to learn important systems so your business can keep developing.
You can introduce CRM systems, expand communication rates through new channels, and enhance your business operations.
The 70/20/10 rule for Blended Learning
Regardless of someone’s VAK learning alignment, the “70/20/10” rule suggests that individuals will learn:
- 70% of their knowledge comes from the experiences they go through.
- 20% from their interactions with colleagues and leadership.
- 10% from the coursework and program itself.
If you have a blended learning approach that only addresses the bottom 10%, you need to adapt.
Step 3: Set goals
When you are ready to proceed, start to decide what would be your indicator of success for each training module. Would productivity double?
Step 4: Look at service providers
Many business owners will outsource the development of their blended learning modules. If this is you, make sure the service you purchase is customizable to the ongoing requirements of your employees.
Step 5: Incorporate additional tools
Some employees may need extra support, and, where possible, you should facilitate these requests.
What do we mean by this?
Well, let’s say one of your best staff members is great at the in-person portions of a training course but is struggling to use the software platform that hosts the online modules. They’re clicking the wrong buttons, missing deadlines, and are quickly falling behind.
In this case, you would want to look at working with Userlane to create an “overlay” that would guide your employee through the training procedures.
Step 6: Review data and improve
Don’t keep committing to blended learning techniques that aren’t working. Review data, listen to feedback, and be ready to admit when you’ve made mistakes.
Remember, there’s no use providing blended learning solutions that are inaccessible to your employees. This will just cause hurt and frustration.
Types of Blended Learning models
When creating your blended learning strategy, you’ll notice there are lots of different options for the approach you can take. The most successful plan would be adjustable, accommodating, and agile. Therefore, some options are a better fit than others.
Blended Learning model 1: Face-to-face driver
For flexible blended learning techniques, choose the Face-to-Face Driver. This model lets learning to be adapted on a case-by-case basis. It looks for unique solutions for each employee and maximizes your chance of success.
Blended Learning model 2: Self-blend
Another blended learning approach is the “Self-Blend.” This combines mandatory in-person meetings with optional online modules.
In this instance, an employee might decide they need to dive deeper into a specific topic and may choose to complete 100% of the online assets.
Blended Learning model 3: Rotation
Flexibility doesn’t mean “loosey-goosey”. A rigid schedule is a great tool for keeping employees on the right track and this blended learning option combines goal-setting with practicality, with an even split between in-person and online models.
Example of Blended Learning in corporate learning
An internationally recognizable brand, John Lewis is a department store that leads in the way of employee development and training.
Alongside digital and in-person staff onboarding procedures, they have built a learning culture to empower employees that participate in training courses. They have an extensive collection of online programs and in-person meets.
On their website, they quote:
“[Our Partnership] is a climbing frame of experiences and opportunities where we can all learn new skills and capabilities.
We think this helps our Partners to be the best they can be.
There is plenty of support available if you are thinking about development; whether that is developing within your role, developing at the same level, or progressing to the next.”
What is Blended Learning? – FAQs
Are you starting to understand what blended learning is and how to apply it to your business? If not, here are a few FAQs to point you in the right direction.
What is the meaning of blended learning?
Blended learning can be defined as a hybrid education approach that “incorporates digital and traditional learning methods.”
What is an example of blended learning?
One common blended learning example is school environments. Students will often attend in-person classes but can also access practice exams online.
What is the significance of blended learning?
Blended learning caters to the different learning needs of individuals. While some of us learn by reading, some learn by listening.
How is blended learning done?
Blended learning courses in the corporate world are often a staff requirement, where they are given time during the day to complete tasks.
Software Adoption Tools for Blended Learning
With the success of a blended learning strategy so heavily dependent on the course provider and the motivation of your employees, it’s natural to feel a little helpless.
The success of your team directly affects yours, so there should be more you can do.
With software adoption tools… there is.
As one of the most innovative training techniques, adoption tools are a brilliant addition to every online training program. From the first log-in to complete proficiency, they guide your users on how to:
- Navigate a system.
- Use it efficiently.
- Access each feature.