Blended learning is used to supplement the traditional mode of learning by combining traditional training methods with technology to make the learning process more seamless.
Blended learning combines elements of instructor-led classroom training and self-paced online learning. Blended learning offers the benefits of traditional and new-age forms of training to employees. Instructor-led training (ILT) allows learners to learn and get their queries answered by trainers, whereas self-paced eLearning gives learners the flexibility to learn at their convenience. This results in a more effective and engaging training program.
Case studies conducted over the last few years have discovered that blended learning is used by almost 70% of LMS users. To impart blended learning in an effective manner it is very important that an organization creates a cohesive blended learning experience for its employees. Thus, it is very crucial for an organization to use the right LMS platform.
Different Models Of Blended Learning For Businesses
Instructor-led training management gives the trainer the option to choose a time and place to conduct in-person training within the LMS itself. Trainees can self-register for such a session, or the trainer can manually assign them. In an instructor-led training module, trainers can check who is attending, and trainees can check the details of the class. This is different from a self-paced eLearning module which is done as per the trainees’ convenience and schedule. This kind of training system ensures that both trainers and trainees stay in sync with their online and offline learning modules.
A virtual classroom gives trainees the option to log in to their LMS and attend ILT classes from wherever they want. Tools like audio and video streaming in the LMS platform, along with embedded chat, give learners the opportunity to participate and ask questions during a virtual classroom. Tools such as whiteboards and class polling are used by instructors to teach and engage with learners in a multitude of ways. Virtual classroom sessions can also be recorded so absentee trainees can access them at a later date. Virtual classroom functionality in an LMS offers organizations the flexibility to train their workforce remotely while ensuring they don’t have to forego the benefits of the classroom experience.
Social learning in an LMS is a feature that supports collaboration between trainers and trainees. In an offline ILT/eLearning session, a trainer can set up a discussion board where trainees have the option to discuss courses, get replies to their queries, and also share interesting content. Trainees can also rate courses and give feedback to the trainers/course creators on things they do to improve their course content. Social learning in an LMS mirrors social networks with sections such as activity feeds, comment threads, etc. Social learning also helps facilitate ongoing learning. This encourages trainees to interact more with their LMS on a continuous basis.
The learning path allows trainers to customize a schedule of courses to help trainees become competent in a specific area of specialization. A trainer can create learning paths for individuals and groups of people as well. The learning path gives trainers the option to set the criteria by which learners can advance from course to course. The criteria could be anything from completing and passing an online assessment to attending an instructor-led training session, etc. The best thing about the learning path feature is that it helps connect the dots and cross the tees for learners. The learning path teaches trainees how the combination of eLearning and classroom training offers them a complete training experience. Trainers can adjust the pace or complexity of the learning path as per their choice.
Learning analytics allows administrators in an organization to get a better understanding of the effectiveness of their training programs. The admin can review data such as assessment pass and fail rates, the duration it has taken to complete a course, and more. At the same time, learning analytics helps users generate reports which help them focus on areas that need improvement. With learning analytics, trainers can see trainee data in real time and adjust their course modules accordingly.
Benefits Of Blended Learning For Businesses
Blended learning is used in corporate training by L&D teams these days to offer training that is three-dimensional in nature. Some of the benefits of blended learning are as follows:
- Blended learning is cost-friendly as it helps companies reduce training costs. It lowers facilitator fees, brings down classroom expenses, and reduces travel and accommodation costs that were traditionally associated with training.
- Blended learning allows trainees to set their own pace. It lets trainees access their training content from whatever location they are based. Trainees can decide and set their own pace, as well as ask for guidance from subject matter experts.
- Blended learning lets trainees learn their concepts thoroughly. The trainees’ learning experiences are richer through blended learning, as they are consistently reinforcing what they’ve learned.
- Blended learning gives trainees the best of both online and offline learning and helps them reach their highest potential.
3 Ways To Boost Employee Performance
To ensure blended learning achieves its maximum potential, organizations have to keep in mind certain guidelines when designing such courses:
1. Organizations Must Map Out The Learners’ Journey
Organizations should keep short-term and long-term goals in mind for their trainees’ journey and map them out in a way that stays top of mind. They must be realistic of the expected results that will be achieved by the learners in blended learning courses. This can be achieved by creating a set of milestones that have to be achieved by the trainees during the course and on completion.
2. Online Learning Has To Complement Formal Learning
The online portion of blended courses must enhance the effectiveness of training in the real world. Blended learning helps repurpose previous training and previously covered material. This helps cement the information for long-term retention by the trainees.
3. Attention Has To Be Paid To User Feedback
It’s important to give trainees the opportunity to give their feedback on the effectiveness of a course, as well as challenges they encountered completing the course. For example, surveys are a good way to gather feedback and improve employee performance.