The corporate learning and development landscape has dramatically evolved in the past few years. As organizations grow, there has been an increasing need to deliver training that best meets the needs and capabilities of a diverse workforce. While many L&D professionals recognize that training cannot be a one-time event, they often run into time, cost, and space issues that make it challenging to deliver training in the learners’ moment of need.
Organizations have turned to blended and hybrid learning to tackle this issue. The blended learning model includes both a virtual or face-to-face setting and a virtual or eLearning environment, establishing a combination of the best features of in-person teaching with technology-based eLearning methods. With blended learning, learners can participate in instructor-led training programs while enjoying the flexibility offered by online training programs.
Whether organizations are training their employees, partners, customers or planning compliance training, blended learning can provide some benefits:
- Blended learning offers accessibility and flexibility. Learners can have the ability to learn at their own pace and arrange the structure of their courses. Learning can also occur remotely.
- Learners can take ownership of their learning. The use of eLearning materials has increased learners’ ability to set appropriate goals, take control of their own knowledge, track their individual achievements, and seek out resources.
- It cuts down the cost of training. While numerous organizations utilize instructor-led training as their preferred training method, it can be costly to provide training for large organizations, especially ones with multiple offices.
- Blended learning can help instructors utilize several eLearning methods, such as webinars and gamification, to train their workforce while maintaining learner engagement.
- The combination of face-to-face training programs along with online courses effectively reinforces learning. When learners receive the opportunity to practice what they have learned, they can retain the information better.
While blended learning focuses on the combination of in-person and online learning, hybrid learning focuses more on finding a balance between the two that best fit the learners’ specific needs. In hybrid courses, asynchronous learning, such as self-paced courses, video instructions, and synchronous learning, such as face-to-face sessions, produces the best model for learners.
The best learning model allows learners the opportunity to interact with training content through custom eLearning practices before, during, and after face-to-face instruction. Some benefits of hybrid learning include:
- A flexible learning experience. Many institutions can benefit from a flexible learning schedule, teaching method, content, etc. For learners who cannot attend training sessions face-to-face, the hybrid learning method best suits their needs by allowing them to train remotely.
- Synchronous learning opportunities can provide the proximity and intimacy of in-person training that some learners might best benefit from. The face-to-face training allows for real-time engagement between colleagues.
- Hybrid learning can reduce digital fatigue. In the past year, many in the workforce have experienced digital fatigue due to remote work. By making learning more collaborative, inclusive, empathetic, learners are more likely to be more engaged.
When using blended or hybrid learning, the goal is to combine the strengths of both traditional and online learning methods to give learners a more engaging learning experience. Through blended learning, organizations are provided an advantage in improving the effectiveness of training and knowledge retention rates. As travel becomes less frequent and remote work continues throughout the country, organizations are stepping back from traditional on-site training and shifting to blended or hybrid learning models.