In today's rapidly evolving educational landscape, finding the perfect balance between traditional face-to-face instruction and digital learning is a major priority for modern educators.
As the need for flexible, personalized learning experiences grows, so does the importance of implementing blended learning strategies in classrooms and training environments.
In this blog post, we'll delve into the world of blended learning, showcasing successful and diverse examples that combine the best of both worlds.
By examining these programs, educators can gain insights into how to design and execute their own blended learning programs, effectively catering to the unique needs of their students or trainees.
Moreover, we'll introduce you to Scribe, an innovative software tool that can become an indispensable resource for supporting your blended learning initiatives.
So, let's dive in and explore how you can mix it up and transform the way you teach.
What is blended learning & what makes it so promising?
Blended learning is an educational approach that combines the best of traditional face-to-face instruction with the advantages of online learning.
This innovative teaching methodology provides several benefits, including:
- Greater student engagement: By incorporating a mix of in-person and online learning activities, blended learning can cater to different learning styles, keeping students more engaged and invested in their education.
- Increased flexibility: Blended learning can allow students to access course materials, complete assignments and engage with their peers at their own pace, leading to a better work-life balance and helping accommodate individual learning needs.
- Enhanced collaboration: The online component of blended learning encourages students to collaborate with their peers through virtual discussions, group projects and other interactive activities, fostering a sense of community and improving communication skills.
- Personalized instruction: Blended learning enables educators to collect real-time data on student progress, using it to customize training and offer targeted support to struggling individuals, creating a more personalized learning experience.
To learn more, you can check out our in-depth introductory piece on blended learning.
6 Real-world blended learning examples to elevate your teaching strategy
Embarking on a blended learning journey can be an exciting and transformative experience for educators. To help you navigate this path, we have compiled six inspiring real-world examples of blended learning implementation across corporate and educational settings.
IBM Basic Blue management training program
IBM's Basic Blue management training program, launched in 1999, utilized a blended learning approach to develop new managers into effective, people-oriented leaders.
Key components of the program included:
- Seventy-five percent online training: Comprised of articles, simulations and short courses.
- Twenty-five percent traditional classroom training: Known as the "Learning Lab."
- Four-tier blended learning model:
- Tier 1: Online content covering topics such as evaluation, retention and conflict resolution.
- Tier 2: Simulated situations and interactive scenarios to enhance learning.
- Tier 3: Emphasis on collaboration skills using IBM's collaboration tools and group exercises.
- Tier 4: In-person "Learning Lab" for hands-on activities and direct interaction with others.
The success of Basic Blue encouraged IBM to extend blended learning to its sales personnel and experienced managers with another program known as "Sales Compass." Through the execution of these programs, IBM not only managed to cut down its training expenses but also substantially enhanced employee productivity.
NYC iSchool program during COVID
In 2020, after a month of launching, NYC's iSchool witnessed positive experiences among both students and teachers. The program enhanced productivity and happiness by providing an essential change of scenery and fostering social interaction through in-person components.
The iSchool program effectively executed safety measures such as desk sanitization, mask-wearing and social distancing. However, some people did raise concerns about commuting via public transport. The initiative also served as helpful preparation for college, where students face irregular hours and increased independence. Notably, the school significantly improved the remote learning experience since the spring of 2020.
Carpe Diem Collegiate High School blended learning program
Carpe Diem Collegiate High School, initially established as a conventional public charter school in 2000, embraced a blended learning approach in 2006-07 under the leadership of Executive Director Rick Ogston. The school implemented an individual rotation model where students switched between online learning for initial concept introduction and instruction and in-person education for reinforcement and practical application.
Customized for each student, these rotations lasted 55 minutes. Students attended class four days per week, with extended school hours from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., amounting to 145 school days and 1,007 instructional hours annually. Typically, teachers assigned little to no homework outside of school. During the day, students alternated between online activities in the learning center and classroom instruction. A "coach" or teacher would revisit, expand upon, or apply the material initially introduced online. Students went through the online/in-person cycle two to three times daily. Physical education remained a non-virtual, hands-on activity.
The blended-learning model at Carpe Diem necessitated fewer teachers and administrators, which resulted in lower per-student spending compared to similar institutions.
Boeing CTL training program
Boeing faced the challenge of improving its capture team leader (CTL) training to reflect the business development role better while reducing classroom time and reliance on experienced CTL guest speakers.
The company created a blended learning solution comprising eight web-based training lessons completed before a four-day live course to address this. This approach allowed participants to gain foundational knowledge and practice CTL skills beforehand, making the live session more effective.
Initial feedback was positive, with high average ratings in knowledge gain, value, performance improvement and job impact. Additionally, 82.5 percent of respondents felt they could immediately apply the course content on the job and 100 percent would recommend the course to a colleague.
Deloitte leverages blended learning to create a diverse, inclusive environment that fosters leadership development and career growth. They offer a range of resources, including:
- Live classrooms.
- Team-based learning.
Through their world-class Deloitte University, they help professionals develop their leadership skills in a way that suits them best. Their various programs cater to different aspects of professional growth, such as the Emerging Leaders Development Program (ELDP), Ellen Gabriel Fellows, Women's Leadership Programs and more.
These programs provide opportunities for networking, mentorship, sponsorship and skill-building. Deloitte's commitment to tailored learning experiences ensures all professionals can thrive and succeed.
General Electric's brilliant learning program
In 2017, General Electric (GE) announced the "Brilliant Learning" initiative, a proprietary skills curriculum to train supply chain employees in lean, advanced, additive, and digital manufacturing. Based on GE's Brilliant Factory strategy, which incorporates big data, software, sensors, controllers and robotics to enhance productivity, the program was designed for GE's global supply chain staff but was also accessible to all employees.
The "Brilliant Learning" curriculum catered to individual site needs, covering seminars, workshops, online courses and immersive boot camps focused on lean manufacturing practices, advanced manufacturing, additive manufacturing and other digital technologies. The training program included the following:
- Becoming Brilliant Global Online Course: A four-week online course introducing employees to the four pillars of a Brilliant Factory: lean, advanced, additive and digital manufacturing.
- Advanced Manufacturing Workshops: Two-day hands-on learning experiences for manufacturing engineers and leaders, featuring interactions with technologies and demonstrations of additive manufacturing processes.
- Lean Manufacturing Academy: A three-day immersive program for leaders, such as manufacturing supervisors and operations leaders, focused on improving business performance using lean leadership skills. Activities included tours of manufacturing facilities, simulations and real-time tasks centered on productivity and cost savings.
- Brilliant Leadership Seminar: An immersion experience for senior strategic leaders, covering industry trends and engaging with external businesses to share best practices.
This blended learning approach combined classroom learning with hands-on training, providing employees with practical experiences in manufacturing sites.
Key elements of a successful blended learning program plus related challenges and best practices
In this section, we explore the key components that drive successful blended learning programs and address some challenges and best practices associated with each. By paying close attention to these aspects, you can create a well-rounded, engaging and effective learning experience for your students.
Clear learning objectives
Clearly defined learning objectives lay a strong foundation for a successful blended learning program. They provide direction for both instructors and learners, ensuring that the course content is aligned with desired outcomes and helps learners achieve their goals.
Challenges and best practices:
- Challenge 1: Lack of clarity in objectives can lead to confusion and disengagement among learners.
- Best practice: Ensure that objectives are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) to set clear expectations for learners.
- Challenge 2: Difficulty in aligning online and offline activities with learning objectives.
- Best practice: Regularly review and adjust the course content to ensure that all activities contribute to achieving the learning objectives.
Objective assessment strategies
Assessment strategies are essential to measuring a learner's progress and performance in a blended learning program. Effective assessments provide valuable feedback for both learners and instructors, helping to identify areas of improvement and adjust instruction as needed.
Challenges and best practices:
- Challenge 1: Inconsistency in assessment methods across different learning environments.
- Best practice: Develop a consistent assessment plan, including formative and summative assessments for online and offline activities.
- Challenge 2: Difficulty in tracking learners' progress in real-time.
- Best practice: Implement learning analytics tools to monitor and analyze learners' progress, enabling timely intervention and support.
Choose technology stack
Technology tools are crucial in facilitating and enhancing the blended learning experience. They enable seamless communication and collaboration between learners and instructors and provide access to various engaging learning resources.
Challenges and best practices:
- Challenge 1: Selecting the right technology tools that meet the needs of the program and learners.
- Best practice: Evaluate and choose tools based on their functionality, ease of use and compatibility with existing systems.
- Challenge 2: Ensuring equitable access to technology for all learners.
- Best practice: Provide training and support for learners to build their digital literacy skills and offer alternative resources when necessary. Try using digital training manuals and step-by-step guides to help with this challenge.
Effective instructional design models
Instructional design models serve as a framework for creating engaging and compelling blended learning experiences. They help instructors organize and structure the course content, aligning it with learning objectives and assessment strategies.
Challenges and best practices:
- Challenge 1: Adapting traditional instructional design models to the blended learning environment.
- Best practice: Select a flexible instructional design model like ADDIE, which can adapt to the specific demands of blended learning.
- Challenge 2: Ensuring a balanced mix of online and offline activities that cater to diverse learning preferences.
- Best practice: Apply the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles to create various learning experiences that accommodate learners' needs and preferences.
Scribe: Your partner in blended learning success
Scribe is an innovative software tool that enables creation and distribution of captivating, multimedia-intensive e-learning content.
Here are some practical ways how Scribe can supercharge your blending learning program workflows:
- Streamlined content creation: Scribe's intuitive drag-and-drop functionality allows educators to conveniently develop various educational materials, including interactive training manuals, standard operating procedures (SOPs) and step-by-step guides, saving time and effort.
- Seamless material sharing and access: Scribe makes sharing content with anyone via links and embeds very simple. A user doesn't even need to log in to access the assigned material, making content consumption frictionless.
- Consistent branding: Scribe allows users to customize the look and feel of their learning materials to align with institutional branding, ensuring a cohesive and professional appearance across all content.
- Quick updates and revisions: Scribe simplifies the process of updating and revising content, making it easy for educators to keep their materials current and relevant to learners' needs.
By incorporating Scribe into your blended learning approach, you can efficiently create content, boost collaboration and offer your students captivating, high-caliber learning opportunities.
Join us in revolutionizing how educators and trainers create and manage learning content for blended learning programs.