Blended learning combines traditional, in-person learning with online education. There are many different ways the two styles can be combined. For example, a training course could include in-person instruction and online quizzes. At the same time, in-person classes could be supplemented with online resources.
Benefits of Blended Learning
There are a lot of ways blended learning can meet the needs of your learners more effectively than in-person learning or online learning alone could. Plus, there are quite a few ways blended learning can benefit your bottom line in the long run.
Everyone learns a little bit differently. For some people, a fully online learning environment isn’t the best way to learn. For other people, online tools might be essential for accessibility. A blended learning strategy takes everyone’s needs into account and seeks to create a learning environment in which all kinds of learners are able to succeed.
More Engagement & Retention
One of the most frequent complaints about in-person training sessions is that they’re boring. It’s hard to get your employees interested in onboarding materials or keep them from becoming distracted in training meetings. It’s human nature to have a relatively short attention span for dry information. Blending your in-person training with online learning tools can introduce ways to make the content more engaging.
You can use an LMS to include all kinds of engaging content in your training sessions like interactive media, quizzes, competitions, and more. When learners are actually engaged instead of sitting and listening to a dry presentation, they're more likely to retain the information.
Blended learning courses are much more flexible than traditional training courses. Learners can review online training materials whenever it’s convenient for them. Employees can complete courses incrementally, so their regular workload isn’t interrupted.
Blended learning also allows you to tailor the learning experience to the situation. With a course based around flexible online materials, you can make changes to cater to groups with different learning styles. You also aren’t restricted to a time and location. Blended learning makes it possible to give your learners a personalized experience that’s designed to meet their specific needs.
By incorporating online learning into your training strategy, you can reduce the cost of holding physical training sessions. You don’t need to pay for space or materials to host classes or arrange any of the logistics. Instead, you can use online learning tools that allow learners to take courses whenever and however works for them.
Easy to Scale
One of the biggest challenges of creating a successful user education program is sustaining it. Your ultimate goal as a company is probably tied to growth — but as your workforce and customer base grows, your education capabilities need to scale up to match. Implementing elements of blended learning now is a great way to create room for scalability. It’s almost impossible for a business to rely entirely on in-person learning for the long term. Eventually, your business will probably grow too large for in-person learning to be practical.
Using a learning management system to create a blended learning program comes with an extra benefit: you can use it to gain insight into the health of your workforce and customer base. By tracking user interactions with your learning content, you can begin to identify where the bottlenecks are for both your customers and your employees. This allows you to continually improve your education program in real-time.
Blended Learning Models
Blended learning doesn’t always look the same. There are different kinds of strategies that work best for different situations. One of the most important benefits of a blended learning approach is its flexibility.
There are many different blended learning models. Here are four models of blended learning that are commonly used:
A course based on the rotation model uses an organized structure to switch between online learning content and in-person instruction. For example, learners in a rotation model course might participate in an in-person session with an instructor, then finish with an online quiz they can take later.
The flex model involves learners participating in an in-person class and using online learning materials at the same time. This is a way for learners to use digital learning tools under the instructor's guidance. This is typically the most difficult of the blended learning styles to accommodate because it requires all the resources of in-person learning even though digital tools are also used.
A La Carte Model
The al la carte model mainly prioritized in-person learning. The majority of training happens via traditional in-person courses. However, learners are offered the option to take supplemental online courses. This is a good way to offer further education on additional topics you don’t have the time, resources, or expertise to teach in person.
Enriched Virtual Model
The enriched virtual model mainly prioritizes online learning. Learners can complete their coursework in an online environment, but they also get access to in-person classes with an instructor. This is a great way to harness all the benefits of online education while also giving those who prefer to learn in person the chance to do so.
Blended Learning LMS
As you can see, there are many different ways to incorporate online learning into your education program to varying degrees.
There are ways to simply supplement your in-person training with online materials and there are ways to round out a mainly online education program with in-person classes. There are also ways to fully embrace the best parts of both digital and traditional learning environments equally.
One of the best ways to begin taking a blended learning approach to user education at your company is to implement an LMS.
Here are some of the best blended learning LMSs available right now:
Northpass is an online learning platform that makes it easy to organize all your online learning content in one accessible location. This ability for the organization will become essential as you scale your blended learning program. Having a central repository for your online learning content can make it much easier to create a seamless blended learning experience for your customers and employees alike.
TalentLMS is a learning management system that simplifies the process of designing a blended learning program. You can use this software to deliver online training content and schedule offline training sessions, all from one convenient platform.
360Learning is an application that makes it possible to blend digital training sessions and in-person classes into one comprehensive program. By enabling connection and collaboration, 360Learning helps businesses improve learner engagement rates.
Absorb LMS is a learning management system that’s designed to help you create intuitive learning experiences for your users. You can use Absorb LMS to incorporate learning into almost every part of the customer journey or employee workflow with the use of many different blended learning capabilities