eLearning technology has revolutionised the way we learn. It has made it possible to develop immersive and interactive learning material in a budget, it has enabled businesses and educational establishments to deliver training that surpasses geographical boundations, and in many cases, it has completely changed the way individuals learn.
This blog post, however, is not about all the ways eLearning has changed learning and development.
It is about one interesting new development in the learning landscape, which happened as a result of the success of eLearning technology- blended learning. The hybrid training approach is known to provide learners with several benefits (which we will discuss in the following sections).
If you have been wondering whether or not blended learning is the best approach for your learners, this blog post will help you make an informed decision.
Let’s begin by looking at the definition of blended learning:
What Is Blended Learning?
According to the Google dictionary, blended learning can be defined as “a style of education in which students learn via electronic and online media as well as traditional face-to-face teaching.”
In simpler words, it is a hybrid learning approach that combines the advantages of eLearning and traditional learning. Primarily, a blended learning model employs three components:
· Instructor-led training (ILT) in a classroom
· Recorded video lessons by an instructor (usually the same instructor is delivering the training in both cases)
· Self-paced eLearning material that is often structured and timed and is guided by the training provided in the classroom and through video
Now that we have understood blended learning and its components let’s talk about its benefits.
Benefits Of Blended Learning
· Enhanced Effectiveness And Efficiency Of Training: Numerous studies in the matter have concluded that blended learning approach enhances the effectiveness and efficiency of training by creating meaningful experiences for learners.
· Ability To Personalise The Training Experience: While it is obvious how classroom ILTs can be personalised for each learner, with corporate, education, and customer training authoring tools, it is possible to personalise the self-paced learning content to suit different language needs and learning habits.
· Blended Learning Helps Cut Down On Training Costs: Every moment an employee spends attending training at another location, is a moment they are not doing their job. Add travel expenses, and logistics to the mix and you can see how traditional training can turn out to be more expensive. With blended learning, eLearning modules can be accessed from anywhere. As a result, learners enjoy more flexibility, and the eLearning modules minimise the time expenditure of the learner.
On the surface, blended learning looks like a win-win approach to learning. However, just like with everything else, it has its shortcomings.
Disadvantages Of Blended Learning
· Requires Learners To Have Basic Technical Knowledge: The self-paced part of the learning modules is usually delivered with the help of a learning management system (LMS). While most LMS are designed to provide an intuitive experience to the user, they still demand a certain level of technical competence from the user. This factor may inhibit a significant number of users from benefiting from blended learning.
· High Set Up Costs: This disadvantage is applicable mainly to businesses that are strapped for budget. Setting up and maintaining an LMS can be an expensive undertaking. Most learning management systems charge businesses on a “per user” basis, which may not always be affordable, especially for smaller businesses.
While the blended learning approach does have its advantages, it may not be suitable for everyone. For instance, business owners thinking of turning into franchisors will have the budget to use ILTs and eLearning authoring tools for franchise training to make sure their brand image is upheld by the new stakeholders. On the other hand, a small business looking to provide their employees with basic corporate training may choose learning platforms like Udemy over the blended learning approach.