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What is Blended Learning?

Blended Learning means delivering training content in variety of settings and styles over an extended period of time to ensure proficiency. This style of learning uses the most effective delivery method - eLearning, instructor-led training, mobile learning, performance support, etc. – for the content being trained. For example, classroom training works best for role-playing and coaching, whereas training video is ideal for creating an emotional hook.

Blended Learning Benefits

Studies show that learners have a deeper understanding of content when they receive it in more than one way. The 70:20:10 adult learning model states that 70% of learning occurs on the job, 20% involves learning from others, and only 10% takes place during a formal training event, like an eLearning course or a classroom session.

Blended learning supports this theory and provides all the benefits that each individual learning mode offers on its own. Blended learning allows for flexibility, convenience, self-pacing, and the ability to learn remotely. The approach accommodates different learning styles, including visual, kinesthetic, social, and solitary. These benefits increase learning retention and engagement by capitalizing on adult learning best practices.

When training is delivered in a variety of modes, money can be saved by presenting some content in cheaper formats, like performance support materials, instead of cramming everything into more expensive eLearning or classroom training. Because costs are reduced and effectiveness is improved, organizations experienced increased ROI.

Blended Learning Modalities

Any learning modality can be used as part of a blended learning program, including:

  • Instructor-Led Training (ILT), from face-to-face classes to webinars and remote classrooms
  • eLearning, also known as online learning, computer-based training (CBT), web-based training (WBT)
  • Serious games
  • Self-study
  • On-the-job training
  • Training video, explainer video, culture video
  • Microlearning
  • Performance support tools
  • Flipped classroom
  • Simulations

The graphic below shows benefits of each.

Blended Learning Graphic-1

Blended Learning Models

Blended Learning Models include:

  • Enriched Virtual or Online Driver is when most of the work is provided on-line, with some before and after work in a classroom or on-the-job training.
  • The Face-to-Face Driver approach is when the majority of work is conducted through instructor-led training, with some before and after study completed in a self-paced manner.
  • The Flex approach allows people to be trained at their pace with asynchronous-supporting tools, such as recorded webinars, eLearning, videos, and performance support tools.
  • Flipped Classroom reverses the traditional learning environment by sharing learning material outside of the class, and moving active work (once considered homework) to in-class time spent with the instructors and classmates. Flipped classroom eLearning is when the “classroom” is virtual and digital devices are used for content and activities.

Scoping a Blended Learning Project

To design an effective blended learning program, it’s critical to begin with a training needs assessment. Recommendations from this assessment could result in more than one training project, which would each need to be scoped individually.

The phrases “scoping a project” and “conducting a training needs assessment” are often mistakenly used interchangeably. Scoping a training project means to identify and define requirements for one particular initiative.

To learn more about conducting a training needs assessment, read this blog.

Here are some general questions that are part of the process:

  • What is the business problem that you are trying to solve? What is your goal?
  • How will success be measured?
  • Who is your primary audience? Who are the other audiences? How will they benefit from the eLearning? What are their attitudes and expectations towards training and towards this initiative? What behavior changes are required for the project to be successful?
  • How will the audiences access the eLearning content?
  • Do you have any special requirements, such as language translation or accessibility compliance?
  • Who is the project sponsor? Who are your project partners? Subject matter experts (SMEs)?
  • What are your content needs? What existing content can be leveraged? How will it be maintained?
  • What are your technology needs? How will technology be maintained?
  • What are your internal skills and talents vs. what you need to accomplish?
  • What are your organization’s limits and risks?
  • What is your desired timeline? Any critical milestones and dates?
  • How important is tracking and reporting? Do your existing techniques satisfy those needs?
  • How flexible can you be with structure, approach, and creativity?
  • What is your budget? What is the biggest priority between cost, time, quality?
Needs Assessment Template Toolkit

Needs Assessment Templates

Measuring Effectiveness

Blended learning programs prove to be cost-effective when properly deployed. To measure this effectiveness, develop metrics that are related to the planned benefits and outcomes, including overall cost reduction, less time to train, less demand on subject matter experts and facilitators, improved learning retention, and higher engagement.

The decipher the return on your investment, subtract the costs from the gains using this type of information:

Costs, such as tool development, technology integration, and deployment time

Gains, such as reduced call volume, salary amounts saved due to reduced training time for both trainers and users, improved productivity hours, reduced error savings

Your formula looks like this:

Blended Learning ROI

To learn more about what metrics to use, read this blog.

Frequently Asked Questions

Don't see your question answered here? Let us know, and we'll update the page.

Yes, you can deploy a whole blended learning program online, using a combination of these modes:

  • eLearning
  • Virtual instructor-led training
  • Serious games
  • Performance support tools
  • Training video, explainer video
  • Flipped classroom
  • Simulations

Off-line activities that can complement your online program are self-study, simulations with colleagues, and on-the-job training.

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