01 May 2018

Blended Learning - How to Guide

Blended Learning - How To Guide

There is a lot of conversation about how blended learning is one of the biggest learning trends right now. But what exactly is it?

Quite simply, it’s a way to combine the convenience of technology with the face-to-face interaction of a classroom environment to help with learning. It doesn’t mean that technology replaces teachers or that you can simply put a bunch of laptops or iPads into a classroom and walk away, it just means that you’re adopting a style of education that leverages online education as well as technological hardware in the classroom.

The goal of blended learning is to have the freedom to be educated in and out of the classroom.

When did Blended Learning start ?

Although most of us today think of blended learning as something that recently appeared on the market, the concepts behind blended learning first developed in the 1960s. One of the earliest uses of the term appears in a press release, in which the Interactive Learning Centers, an Atlanta-based education business, announced technology-based training as an alternative to instructor-led training in the 1960s on mainframes and mini-computers.

Why is Blended Learning is so important in 2018?

Blended learning is essential in most organisations these days because it ultimately breaks down the traditional walls of classroom learning. Now with access to present day technologies and resources we can tailor the learning experience for each learner. Here are some of the benefits focusing on e-learning being less expensive to deliver, more affordable and less time-consuming:

1. Blended learning offers flexibility in terms of availability – anytime, anywhere. In other words, eLearning enables the learner to access the materials from anywhere at any time.

2. Access to global resources and materials that meet the learner’s level of knowledge and interest.

3. Self-pacing for slow or quick learners reduces stress, increases satisfaction and information retention.

4. e-learning allows more direct interactions between the learners and their instructors through the use of emails, discussion boards and chat rooms.

5. Learners have the ability to track their progress.

Will Blended Learning work in my organisation?

Absolutely! The best thing about blended learning is that it can be used in any business and is proven to be a successful tool in all industries such as mining, construction, retail, education, transport , manufacturing, Finance and so on. With both the advances in technology and the current focus on brain science helping us to understand how learning happens, it is now L&D’s opportunity to see that compliance training efforts combine resources to produce more powerful and targeted programs.  

Where do I start?

Most organisations are interested in blended learning strategies but if you have never implemented a blended learning program you may not know how to start.

Looking into blended learning techniques online will likely make you feel overwhelmed. There are so many software tools available, which his great, but also confusing. Some of the common questions are:

1. Do you invest in technology first?

2. How do you implemented a blended learning approach leveraging mobile devices if you don’t have some sense of the technology?

3. What are the best ways to implement a blended learning program so that you achieve maximum buy-in from learners?

These are all of course valid questions, and it’s great if you are thinking about them. However, you don’t need to have all the answers right from the beginning. If you are just starting out then here are five ways to begin blending :

  1. Start with easy technology. While the software tools available are great, some are easier than others. Choose the tools that require the least amount of technical “know-how”. If it is intuitive then usage will increase.
  2. Start small. You don’t need to revamp your entire course to accommodate blended learning. Use it in small ways initially and ramp up as you get more comfortable with it.
  3. Adapt based on feedback. As you implement the blended learning approach in your organisation, solicit feedback from learners and make adjustments accordingly. The success of the program comes down to participation. Don’t force something that isn’t working.
  4. Scale when ready. After you have blended small parts of your program with success, it’s time to flip. Turn courses into online micro-content with videos and infographics. Use class time for active learning and exercises.

Want to know how to get started with Blended Learning?

If you want to know more about how to implement a blended learning strategy, please book a free demonstration with our eLearning Team.