Blended Learning: What is It and How Can It Help Your Employees?

Blended Learning: What is It and How Can It Help Your Employees?

Back in 2013, RAND Corporation ran a study to determine the efficacy of blending learning programs. The research report found that blended learning can improve algebra scores. Cut to 2020 and blended learning seems to be catching favor with people in the U.S. The COVID-19 pandemic played a role in the rise of blended learning programs. Given the benefits, the learning method is likely to continue rising in popularity. But what exactly is blended learning, and what are its benefits?

Blended Learning: What Is It?

In a nutshell, blended learning combines methods of traditional classroom teaching with online learning. For school learning programs, that would mean face-to-face classroom teaching combined with online classes. By combining the two teaching methods, it caters to a wider variety of learners who you then might differentiate according to learning styles, age, and other relevant factors.

For example, millennials, on average, are more comfortable learning online since they have grown up with the Internet. People in the age group of 60 years or above, on the other hand, might be more comfortable with the traditional learning experience. By combining teaching methods, you can make your program more accessible to a wider cross-section of society. This is especially critical with government-backed learning programs where one of the goals is an equitable distribution of resources.

Workplace learning has seen a shift in recent years. Learning and development departments are no longer restricted to compliance training. As companies undergo digital transformation, there is an increase in demand for upskilling and reskilling people. Consequently, budgets for learning and development are going up.

Related Reading: 4 Reasons Why Organizations Should Invest in On-the-Job Training

Here's why you should consider investing some of those dollars into a blended learning strategy for your company.

1) Blended Learning Is More Inclusive

A large part of online learning involves navigating the screen and having a basic Internet education. Factors such as age, economic background, and even gender in some cases impact how comfortable you are learning online. For example, a 50-year-old executive might not be very comfortable with online learning from the get-go. This may also be true of someone who is younger but did not have continuous access to the Internet in school or college.

Blended learning can make your workplace more inclusive by combining online learning with in-person classroom teaching. Employees who are not comfortable learning online can be eased into the process. A blended learning program is also more inclusive for your remote employees. If they live in the same city, for example, they can opt to attend one classroom session each week and take the rest of the course online.

Related Reading: How to Successfully Implement Remote Training With Online Video

2) Blended Learning Is More Cost-Effective

Classroom training can be expensive. Forget the added costs of off-site training programs. Even on-site learning takes employees away from their work desk, which translates to lost work time. Online learning mitigates that disadvantage of classroom training.

However, engagement and completion rates for a lot of massive open online courses (MOOC) are abysmally low. Blended learning is the middle path between the two approaches. By limiting the number of classroom sessions, companies cut employee training costs without sacrificing engagement rates. Ernst & Young reduced its employee training costs by 35% by adopting a blended learning program.

3) Blended Learning Is More Flexible

Employees are often juggling hectic work schedules with a demanding family and social life. A fixed time schedule for learning might not be the most optimum strategy. It can increase stress in their daily life, which might result in increased drop-outs from learning programs. By combining in-person teaching with online learning modules, you give your employees more flexibility. With online learning, they can set their own learning pace. They can revisit topics they haven’t fully grasped and find more resources and learning aids. Additionally, they can skip classroom sessions on topics they have already covered in their online program. Blended learning allows enterprises to accommodate the fastest and slowest learners in the workplace without any compromises.

Related Reading: What Is Asynchronous Learning?

4) Blended Learning Offers Better Feedback

With blended learning, you can combine in-person feedback with online quizzes for a more holistic feedback mechanism. For example, you can collect more detailed, subjective answers from classroom training, then let your learning management system (LMS) collect more objective data, such as course completion rates and efficacy of the program. In fact, when you combine an LMS with a video-hosting platform such as Viostream, you can collect even more user analytics to improve your learning program.

How Viostream Can Help

Standard learning management systems are not designed to host video. At best, they integrate text with graphics and animations, which are not enough to engage the modern workforce. You can also run into a host of technical issues, such as bandwidth concerns and low video quality, hampering your learning programs.

Viostream solves such limitations. Beef up your video hosting capabilities by integrating Viostream with your LMS, and deliver a better learning experience to your workforce. Sign up for your free trial today.

Stuart Auld
Stuart Auld
Stuart Auld (Head of Infrastructure) is a multi-disciplinary engineer with broad-ranging experience at executive level delivering operational best practice across customer engagement, technology, change management and process improvement.
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