What Is Blended Learning?

Blended learning is an educational approach that combines traditional face-to-face classroom instruction with online learning. In a blended learning environment, students engage in a mix of in-person and online learning activities, often with a greater degree of flexibility and personalization than in a traditional classroom setting. 

Blended learning typically involves the use of technology tools such as learning management systems, video conferencing software, and multimedia resources to support and enhance traditional classroom instruction. For example, a teacher might use online resources to deliver lectures or provide additional practice exercises for students to complete outside of class. In-class time might then be used for discussion, collaboration, or other activities that benefit from direct interaction with the teacher and other students. 

Blended learning can take many different forms depending on the needs and goals of the teacher and students. Some programs might be structured as a hybrid model, with students alternating between in-person and online instruction on a set schedule. Others might be more flexible, allowing students to choose when and where they engage in online learning activities. The key is to find a balance between the benefits of face-to-face instruction and the convenience and flexibility of online learning. 

What are the basic components of blended learning?

Blended learning or hybrid learning is named so as it combines different components in one system. The three components of blended learning approach are: 

  1. Traditional in-person classrooms led directly by an instructor. 
  2. Virtual and e-learning materials such as pre-recorded videos and audios, text-based files, and presentations. 
  3. Independent and self-paced learning modules. 

The combination of these three components gives the students/participants enough flexibility. It combines features of direct classroom atmosphere of the traditional classrooms and flexible accessibility of online coursework. 

To ease into self-paced and independent work in the hybrid system, it is encouraged for the students to first start with the in-person classes and gradually incorporate online learning. This enables the student to have a proper initial glimpse into their coursework and makes them familiar with the class environment. 

What are the different types of blended learning and training models?

There are different models of blended learning systems that have been proved to work over the course of time. While the system is relatively new and still being tested, companies and organizations have worked on different blended learning methods to train their employees, customers, partners, and students. The approach is now gaining traction and is becoming more accessible. Here are a few models that have worked in the past: 

  1. Face-to-face driver learning model – This model is similar to traditional classroom teaching. Live classes are conducted at fixed times led by an instructors and assignments are given if needed at the end of each session. 
  2. Flipped model – The flipped model is similar to face-to-face driver learning model. The advantage is that coursework and materials will be shared in advance virtually. 
  3. Open classroom model – In this method, participants work at their own pace with their own machines. Instructors will be present to help as well. 
  4. Station-based model – In this model, the sessions happen in stations. The first station is instructor led, the second station involves collaboration between participants and the third station promotes self-learning. 

Each blended learning type can be different, and no one model fit all. Your organization or business can be different and customized blended learning approach can be made. 

Integration of blended learning in businesses

Sure, blended learning training works in educational institutes. But if you’re a business owner, how can blended learning be advantageous to your company? Here are the pros of using blended learning techniques in your employee/customer/partner training: 

  1. Scalable – These virtual platforms and sessions are scalable, which means that you can add participants as you go. 
  2. Cost-effective – There is reduced need of physical accommodation and travel. 
  3. Saves time – The instructors save time on travel. Virtual methods can also be used directly to assess participant performances. 

Blended learning approach also helps instructors give more emphasis on application-based content than just information. This makes it very popular with companies. The companies often opt for different learning systems such as learning management systems (LMS) or Virtual instructor-led training (VILT). 

Learning management systems are extremely useful to companies. It is not necessary to use company resources to develop a blended learning system either. Virtual lab services and LMS systems can be outsourced from cloud-based lab providers. From implementation to maintenance of these training labs, these companies can help in every step of your blended learning journey. 

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