Blended learning, also known as hybrid, mixed or integrated learning, has been practiced in education since the early 2000s and is a growing trend in the corporate training market. This type of instruction is a combination of traditional instructor-led training (ILT) and self-paced digital learning.
Overall, blended learning is being widely adopted for training purposes because it tends to be a more natural way to learn and work.
The blended training style involves 3 different elements:
- Classroom-style ILT sessions in which interactivity and collaboration reign. ILT typically fits best when dealing with complex subjects of training, such as product information or sales best practices.
- Interactive online learning materials available for learners at anytime including pre-recorded sessions, videos and virtual discussion groups. This can be used as a supplement to ILT, in which learners review these materials in their own time to be discussed during sessions.
- Self-paced learning involving static course material that learners work through on their own time. This allows learners to apply skills and knowledge gained during ILT.
If you’re using either instructor-led or self-paced training methods alone, you could be missing out on some benefits garnered through a blended method. If you need a little extra motivation to change, consider these 4 reasons to try blended learning instead of one method alone.
Why make the move to blended training?
1) It’s easier than you think. Blended learning allows you to utilize existing printed materials and deliver them to digital and mobile for access anywhere, anytime. This gives your learners the ability to reference their training materials when they need them most. The entire process for the organization is easy, since there is no re-authoring required. Simply use the materials you already have but make them delivered in print, web and mobile.
2) Boost your training programs’ efficiency. Face-to-face interaction can improve the efficiency of your training program, which is why blended training is such a smart move. During ILT, learners and instructors have the opportunity to discuss all aspects of the training, including interactive online techniques, face-to-face. This allows trainers to gather feedback from their learners to improve their overall training effectiveness.
3) Effective training for any learning style. Your Millennial learners expect digital, while your Generation Xer’s prefer the instructor interaction; blended learning offers the best of both worlds! Blended training uses the best parts of ILT and self-paced learning to appeal to any learning style.
4) Cuts the cost of materials. If you’re moving from ILT to a blended approach, you are in for a money-saving venture. Reducing the amount of printed materials saves your budget from the rising costs of print and ship. Just be sure you’re using a platform that doesn’t require you to re-create all of your materials or else the time spent doing so will count against your ROI!
It’s clear as day that taking the best parts of both instructor-led and self-paced training is a smart move for a majority of organizations. The benefits significantly appeal to both organization and learner, making blended training worth careful consideration.
Citations: "What is Blended Learning?", mindflash.com. "7 Top Blended Learning Benefits for Corporate Traininng", litmos.com