Understanding Blended Learning: Is It Right For Your Team?
Blended Learning isn’t new in education, but you may have been hearing a lot more about it in the past few years. It is steadily gaining in popularity due to its cost-effectiveness and flexibility of delivery. However, it’s been recognized as an emerging trend since at least 2003. By 2014, nearly 30% of corporate learning content was delivered in a blended manner.
But what exactly is Blended Learning? And why should you care about the latest buzzword in education?
What is Blended Learning?
Blended Learning is the fusion of traditional in-class style learning with online, distance-based learning experiences. The goal is to provide learners with multiple means of content engagement across various settings that fits with their busy lifestyles. Blended Learning offers a personalized approach to training where learners have control over how and when they learn. Since not everyone learns at the same speed, the pace of learning can also be tailored to the needs of the learners to ensure maximum retention.
What are the Advantages of Blended Learning?
Blended Learning has several advantages over traditional in-person lecture or workshop style learning experiences. For example, Blended Learning is a great fit for teams where employees are geographically dispersed and meeting regularly in-person isn’t an affordable option. Taking most of your training online allows learners across the globe to access the content, while also drastically cutting down the overhead costs of in-person training.
Similarly, if your team is spread out across time zones, it can be difficult to schedule an optimal time for everyone to meet either in person or in an online classroom. Offering Blended Learning solutions where learners are able to engage with content on their own time can be a great way to ensure every team member gets access to the learning they require, without inconveniencing anyone.
Blended Learning can also be extremely cost-efficient. If you are looking to cut costs in the learning and development budget while still offering top-quality education, Blended Learning is an excellent option for your team. For example, blending online learning with classroom instruction allowed Ernst & Young to reduce their training costs by 35%.
Since Blended Learning has been around for some time, there are several published case studies demonstrating how companies have successfully utilized a blended, online-focused learning strategy. Bersin & Associates (now Bersin for Deloitte) published a Blended Learning strategy document back in 2003. They continue to share their latest research on how companies from the automotive sector to retail and tech have all implemented Blended Learning models to increase revenue and flexibility of delivery. The result? Blended Learning has been deployed and tested by companies of all sizes, and been shown to amplify learning, resulting in a more dynamic, engaged, and informed workforce.
Photo: Cathryn Lavery