What is Blended Learning? Everything You Need To Know

How do you learn best?

You may be the type of person that needs to handwrite notes, you may need to ask a lot of questions on how something works, or maybe you have to be hands-on and do something to understand it best. There are many ways to learn, so how can a learning program cater to all of their students learning styles?

That is where Blended Learning can help.

In this article, we will get back to the basics of blended learning, including what it is, why it’s popular, and what the advantages and disadvantages of blended learning are.

 

What is Blended Learning?

Blended Learning, also commonly known as Hybrid Learning or personalized learning, is a concept that brings together traditional and digital learning techniques to create a fully comprehensive program. It’s the best of both worlds, both synchronous and asynchronous styles and tools that can be combined to create a training program that works for everyone. 

Some popular tools used for personalized learning programs include:

  • Learning Management System (LMS)
  • Augmented Reality
  • Virtual Reality
  • Video Conferencing (Skype, Zoom, etc.)
  • 360º Video
  • Discussion Boards and Forums
  • Management Tools (Basecamp, Asana, etc.)
  • Online File Hosting
  • Gamification Programs

Read More: 10 Great Blended Learning Tools

 

Why is it Popular?

Blended Learning has become popular with learning and development because students learn differently; some people may want to engage face-to-face with others, while some may want to take their time alone. In contrast, other students prefer to listen to a lecture. Everyone learns differently, and by creating a program that includes different modalities, you can be more inclusive to your students.

Watch More: A Student-Centered Model of Blended Learning

In addition to personalized learning opportunities, blended learning can be more cost-effective for a company. When utilizing digital modalities, you can educate large groups of students awhile saving money on facilitating brick-and-mortar location training. You can work around your students/employee’s schedules when you use digital training in the workplace, ensuring that their workload remains balanced.

 

Example of a Blended Learning Program

That definition seems pretty straightforward, but what does a blended learning program look like?

Your program can start with Instructor-Led Learning that allows the students to meet the instructor and each other in one brick-and-mortar location. During that seminar, there can be a Virtual Reality activity that is done in smaller groups. Then the students can be assigned eLearning homework that is hosted on an LMS platform, and the answers can be reviewed on a discussion forum or reviewed through a hosted video.

A learning program that combines traditional and digital learning techniques allows the instructional designer to build a more personalized learning experience that can lead to a higher retention rate.

Read More: How to Launch an eLearning Program

Superior Beverage

A strategic blend of video, eLearning, and virtual reality produced exceptional results

 

Pros and Cons of Blended Learning

Advantages:

  • Convenience – By utilizing digital learning into your program, it can be more convenient for students to complete work on their own schedule and wherever they feel comfortable. This convenience can also save you time and money throughout the lifetime of the learning program.
  • Increased Engagement – You can entice your students to engage more in your program by catering to their learning language, a student that doesn’t want to participate in role-play at a seminar may be comfortable doing online activities to practice the curriculum.
  • Personalized Learning – When you have different modalities lined up, you can create a more personalized learning program, whether you assign eLearning modules based on departments or give options for online vs. in-person seminars.

 

Disadvantages:

  • Technology Troubleshooting – Whether it’s remembering your password or just getting to the right place, some people are not comfortable using technology. Your students can run into technical problems that can cause them to stall and lower their retention rate.

Solution – You may not be able to avoid technical issues completely, especially user error, but you can help avoid by providing how-to lists and comprehensive user manuals. 

  • Self-Pacing Requires Self-Discipline – When you have a self-paced eLearning platform, it may be challenging to motivate your students to log in and finish their program. Discouragement can come with low performance, and an instructor may not catch a low performing student in time for corrections.

Solution – This can be helped by instituting deadlines, offering rewards, adding gamification, and using engaging content.

  • Student Credibility – When you allow students to work on their own, especially using online tools, you lose oversight to ensure they are not plagiarizing or untruthful about their work or assessments. 

Solution – This problem can be mediated by creating original content and assessments that the students won’t be able to find online, and instituting anti-plagiarism checks on assignments.

 

Is Blended Learning Right for You?

We covered everything you need to know to get started with blended learning, including what blended learning is, an example of blended learning, and what the advantages and disadvantages of blended learning are. 

So now it’s time to ask, are ready to build a more personalized learning experience?

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