You might surprised to learn that the pandemic didn’t kickstart the concept of “blended learning.” It's actually been around since the 1960s, and in a 1999 press statement by Interactive Learning Centers, an Atlanta-based education company, announced a name change to EPIC Learning.
The release stated, "The Company currently operates 220 on-line courses, but will begin offering its Internet courseware using the company's Blended Learning methodology."
Due to the rapid adoption of blended learning models, innovative educators in both higher education and corporate learning and development programs are improving learning through technology.
The phenomenon of blended learning is receiving more and more attention. Plus, multiple generations have grown up in a digital world and expect to use online tools in their studies.
That’s why we’ve created a comprehensive guide covering blended learning, its benefits and recommended tools for educators.
What is blended learning? How does it differ from traditional learning models?
According to Wikipedia, “Blended learning, also known as hybrid learning, is an approach to education that combines online educational materials and opportunities for interaction online with traditional place-based classroom methods.”
In simple words, blended learning enables a completely integrated classroom where the requirements of various learners may be fulfilled by making in-person and online learning complementary.
Whereas, conventional classroom learning occurs in a designated space where both the student and the teacher are present. If we consider online learning, it lets students work at their own pace and time.
Blended learning is a committed teaching technique that mixes in-person and online learning. Students can access an immense library of appropriate learning materials with digitally delivered resources from anywhere. They only need an internet connection or access to a mobile device. That means students can continue asynchronous communication and education when on vacation, on weekends, or wherever they are.
Understanding what a blended learning education means makes it simple to comprehend the reasons for this shift. This style of teaching breaks free from the rigidity of traditional teaching schedules and offers future generations a more involved and valuable learning experience.
This concept has been extensively researched and used in K-12 and university education. Plus, it offers a perfect alternative for improving corporate training, particularly when it comes to upskilling staff. There’s no end to blended learning examples in both these environments.
Proven benefits of blended learning for learners & educators
If you're considering implementing blended learning, you'd want to know if it's worth the effort. The success of blended learning can be attributed to the advantages we’ve listed below:
- Gives learners flexibility: When teaching in a corporate setting, the staff’s daily workload should be considered. Blended learning methods focus on a combination of online training and assignments. Meaning, they can learn when it’s convenient for them, giving them more control over their training and growth. The same goes for those in an educational setting.
- Improves learner engagement and motivation: A study by The Center for Digital Education found that 73 percent of educators using a blended learning approach saw increased student engagement. Another report by Blackboard stated 59 percent of teachers reported that students were more motivated to learn in a blended learning environment.
So combining the "human" element of engagement, like video conferencing and internal social media forums, improves learning for most people.
- Creates a personalized experience: From a global perspective, blended eLearning offers the same training to all employees, whether they work in another country or from home. According to Upwork's Future Workforce Study, 63 percent of businesses employ remote workers. Blended learning allows both scalability and the cultural customization required for global training by supplementing content that can be accessed anytime.
It enables learners to take the lead and choose how and when they interact with the material. The ability to test out of a known topic or watch the same video several times ensures each student receives the training they require (and want).
- Decreases training costs: In-person training programs take time away from work and it can even deplete the L&D budget in a company with travel time, lodging, and printed training materials, etc. Blended learning saves money as well as reduces teacher time. There’s also the benefit of being able to roll out training on a wider scale.
- Enables better comprehension of learning materials: A blended learning solution makes sense with so many different learning styles to address. Online self-paced video delivery is useful for those who learn visually or via reading and prefer to learn alone.
While live instructor-led courses benefit social learners the most, this concept even offers something for those who prefer a more hands-on experience in applied learning initiatives.
With so much to consider, a blended learning experience might be the most effective strategy for your team or students. Obviously, it’s not easy to implement and manage a mixed learning system. But with the correct support and resources, you can curate an engaging blended learning environment.
Step-by-step guide to creating a blended learning program
The most difficult aspect of launching a blended learning program is that it’s incredibly adaptable. Even experienced teachers or professionals will likely feel overwhelmed and bewildered by the range of tactics, resources and the need to balance everything.
Determining which works best for you can be tough. So here’s a step-by-step guide to help you successfully implement a blended learning strategy.
Step 1: Outline the learner’s journey & define learning outcomes
You may want learners to get more involved and self-sufficient in their education. Alternatively, you may choose to give more collaborative chances for pupils or staff to build their social skills.
This means you must identify the aims and objectives you hope to achieve through blended learning. At each stage, it’ll be a guideline for designing your blended learning courses.
Describe the course objectives, assignments and assessments that must be submitted and the deadlines. Clearly state what you want from the students regarding attendance and involvement.
For a corporate environment, this should act as an SOP that defines the instructions you need to follow to complete your training successfully.
Step 2: Choose your preferred blended learning model
Integrating online learning experiences into face-to-face delivery is essential to meet the various needs of individual learners and honor different learning styles.
You must pick the blended learning model that best meets your objectives. You can utilize multiple models, but be prepared to maintain them all in the future. Here are some examples:
- Face-to-face driver model: This strategy works well for those who prefer in-person interaction. Only a small percentage engage in online learning components.
- Online driver model: Learners work from home or other remote locations and receive all their teaching through online platforms. There are usually opportunities to engage in online messaging and interact with the course instructor.
- Rotation model: There’s a specific plan for students to meet with their teachers in person before moving on to online work.
- Flipped classroom model: A flipped classroom is built on the premise that students are exposed to information before class. This allows the resulting group setting to be a dynamic, interactive learning environment where the educator guides students to apply concepts and engage creatively in the subject matter.
- Flex model: Those in the flex model study through online material while on-site at school, with teachers present to deepen students' learning and offer additional support as needed.
Note that different models may involve different blended learning tools and layouts.
Step 3: Integrate tools to support learning
Sure, specific software is required to begin the online component of blended learning. Every company / university has unique requirements for delivering and tracking learner progress.
Modern instructional design approaches have generated some extremely unique and engaging methods of performing that evaluation, making online and instructor-led content complement each other.
Shifting some course content online also helps instructor-led sessions by allowing instructors to focus more on knowledge applications or more difficult activities.
You can also use documentation software to create user manuals to guide staff / employees for more complex learning. Here’s an example of using tools like Scribe to learn how to manage customer leads in Sales Navigator:
Step 4: Finally, launch your blended learning program
You may need to restructure your classroom or course depending on the blended learning style you adopt. Once you’ve made the major decisions, you must organize and sustain the learning process. An easy way to structure your plan is to outline an easy-to-follow guide using a template.
You must learn to be patient too. Blended learning will take at least a few weeks to produce effective results. Successful training has always been learner-centric; regardless of strategy, you can't go wrong by prioritizing your learners and optimizing the rest as you go.
Benefits of using Scribe to create & document your blended learning program
Having a reliable tool to maximize the effectiveness of your mixed learning training sessions is important. There are many software available, but the best online training tool should aim to make the program engaging and fascinating for the learners.
Scribe does exactly that! It offers a step-by-step guide for any course or training material, complete with texts and screenshots.
Turn on the recorder, and it’ll automatically create a video with all the instructions in seconds. Even better, you can quickly update it and add custom branding to your Scribe. Plus, it’s free for anyone. You just need to download an extension.
There are multiple other benefits of having Scribe as your online learning tool:
- Saves training time: Using Scribe means team members can effortlessly answer questions without requiring them to interact extensively. Team leaders can share the course of action for each task in advance to make the processes faster. Even students can use their time effectively by looking at Scribes of their materials.
- Easily shared on multiple platforms: Scribe lets you sync information between platforms and send it to anyone you wish. You can create your training guide, export it as a PDF, and upload it to Confluence or any centralized page where your materials exist. This means you can pass on your knowledge faster among those who need to upskill.
- Creates structured documentation: Scribe does the heavy lifting for you, making the creation process as simple as possible. Teams can enhance production and construct complete SOPs with useful tools while keeping up-to-date on best practices at all times.
- Embed anywhere: To make your courses more actionable, Scribe can embed them into any platform. It lets you delegate materials to the specific person, so they'll be more productive in no time.
Integrating Scribe in blended programs can:
- Improve the student experience
- Increase participation
- Improve accessibility and possibly improve achievements
Educational institutions and businesses continue to adapt how they educate with digital tools to offer an engaging, integrated learning experience. But how do you ensure the outcome is desirable?
Tips & best practices for implementing & evaluating your blended learning program
Blended learning effectiveness is determined by how instructors integrate the two separate learning modalities into a cohesive whole that incorporates the best of face-to-face instruction with online learning. Apart from that, other factors can enable a better experience for learners:
- Develop a learner-driven experience: It’s critical to establish strong relationships between the teacher and students, as well as between students. Consider learner preferences during design and development. Survey the audience to learn about their preferred or most convenient learning mediums.
- Keep track of learner progress: Take the time to monitor the progress of your blended learning program and the performance of your staff. Examples include how assignments are submitted, surveys or polls are conducted, and tests are given. So it's a good idea to look for tools that’ll help you receive the most precise assessment of how your program is operating and functioning.
- Introduce new interactive assets: Quizzes, online games and gamified learning platforms are now popular among most learners. Students will engage if you use those suited for your topic area. Instructors can even help students create their own games.
- Gather feedback from learners: Feedback helps you identify areas you want to work on for blended learning programs. Collect input from the learners and make improvements as needed. Encourage your participating staff to express their ideas, thoughts and concerns to improve the current strategy. You can conduct online polls / surveys to make future adjustments.
Blended learning programs will be widely embraced by businesses and institutions in the coming years. A study from Statista revealed the revenue in Online Education is projected to reach US$166.60bn in 2023. Moreover, an annual growth rate (CAGR 2023-2027) of 9.37%, will result in a projected market volume of US$238.40bn by 2027.
In that case, instructors must continually innovate and reinvent their methods to design, develop and deliver effective L&D programs.
Build your own blended learning program using Scribe
Remember – the goal of a blended learning model is to utilize both traditional and online learning approaches to offer your learners a more interactive experience.
Scribe proves time and time again that it’s the perfect tool to set up lessons in the classroom and provide guidance to staff. Here’s what our users have to say:
Just start the recorder and create comprehensive step-by-step guides in no time. So what are you waiting for? Get started with Scribe for free right now and create the blended learning program of your dreams.