The Top 6 Benefits of Blended Learning
The delivery of training courses using a blended learning strategy involves both face-to-face training with an instructor and e-learning elements. The face-to-face training can be virtual or in person, and the structure of the course can take many forms. It is the mix of instructor-led elements and autonomous e-learning elements that makes blended learning stand out.
Why use this strategy when creating training content for your team? Here are the top six benefits of blended learning.
Blended Learning Empowers Learners
With blended learning, you get the best of both worlds, i.e., the advantages of instructor-led training and the advantages of e-learning. One of those e-learning advantages that also applies to blended learning is the fact that e-learning empowers learners.
With a blended learning approach, each individual learner controls when and where they complete e-learning modules, and they can progress at a pace they feel comfortable with. It is also easy for learners to go back over sections they didn’t fully grasp the first time around. All these things are more difficult in a classroom-type situation, particularly if there is a large group.
Blended Learning Produces a More Collaborative Experience
One of the downsides of e-learning is that it is not always collaborative. It is possible to add communication elements that connect learners with each other and the instructors overseeing the course, but the level of collaboration is typically limited.
In many situations, the low levels of collaboration are not an issue as not all courses benefit from collaborative learning. In these situations, e-learning is ideal and delivers a wide range of other benefits that greatly outweigh the collaboration question.
There are times, however, when collaborative learning can be beneficial for learner experience. With a blended learning approach, it is much easier to introduce collaborative elements to the course, using the instructor-led sections to initiate activities where learners work together.
Blended Learning is Highly Flexible
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to blended learning. In fact, blended learning can take many, many forms, making it possible for you to adapt the strategy according to the needs of your organisation as well as the course.
For example, you can include more instructor-led content or more e-learning content. You can also use e-learning as the primary source of learning with instructor-led elements being used for support, help, and collaboration. On the other hand, you can use the instructor lead elements for the teaching parts, with the e-learning elements used to reinforce that teaching and give learners a chance to practice what they have learned.
The result is that blended learning is more flexible compared to instructor-led training or e-learning alone.
Blended Learning Ensures Learners Have Access to an Expert When they Need It
People learn in a range of different ways, and there are often occasions when some people just don’t understand a concept you are trying to teach them. Even with the best e-learning content and interactive elements, it just doesn’t sink in.
With blended learning, an instructor can step in during these situations to provide help and support. This could even be on an individual basis, where the instructor personalises the training to help the learner progress.
Blended Learning is Efficient, Consistent, and Cost-Effective
Instructor-led training does have advantages in many situations, but there are downsides. One of those downsides is that it is not efficient, not least because of the time people have to take out of their day or week to attend a training session. There might be travel involved, which increases the time they need to allocate even further, and there is the issue of responsibilities and productivity, i.e., while learners are participating in an instructor-led training course, they are not doing their normal job.
Instructor-led training can be very expensive, too, particularly if it involves travel costs and overnight stays.
There is also often an issue with the consistency of the training delivered. This issue most commonly arises in situations where you have different trainers delivering the same course to different groups of people. For example, one instructor delivering the training to a team in Saudi Arabia and another to the team in Dubai. The experience of each group can vary considerably depending on the abilities of the instructor and their knowledge of the topic.
E-learning deals with all these issues as it is a more efficient method of training, it is less costly, and it delivers maximum consistency. These benefits also apply to blended learning.
Blended Learning Improves Outcomes
The main objective when creating training for your organisation is to achieve the objectives and deliver the outcomes that your business needs. With blended learning, you can improve knowledge retention rates and engagement, two highly significant training metrics. You can also improve the learner experience.
Part of Your Training Activities
Blended learning will not be the right option for all the training content that you produce. In some cases, e-learning only will be the right approach, while you might choose an instructor-led approach in other situations.
However, for the right training courses, blended learning can greatly enhance the learning experience and deliver better results and return on investment. This particularly applies to training courses that would typically involve multiple instructor-led elements over time, or e-learning courses that would benefit from live instructor interactivity. As a result, blended learning should be part of your training activities.
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