The Relevance of Blended Learning in Modern Workplace Learning

The past few years have seen the growth of self-paced learning programs. Organizations have invested significant sums of money in developing mobile-first learning solutions that allow learners to access learning content on their smartphones. Surveys also indicate that modern learners, especially millennials prefer to learn on their own. Despite all these findings there are some interesting stats that continue to foster the growth of blended learning. This growth has sustained across both academic and workplace learning.

Gnowbe a Singapore based micro-learning course aggregator states that:

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A 2018 Brandon Hall Group Learning Strategy Study classified the importance of learning types as follows:

Blended learning allows for the presence of a physical or virtual instructor who can guide learners to achieve their learning goals with ease.In this blog post, we examine the relevance of blended learning in modern workplace learning and training.

A statement shared by the US Department of Education in 2010, still holds good.

“In studies contrasting blends of online and face-to-face instruction with conventional face-to-face classes, blended instruction has been more effective.”

“Blended learning has the proven potential to enhance both the effectiveness and efficiency of meaningful learning experiences.” Click To Tweet

Academic researchers Garrison and Kanuka on the relevance of blended learning in higher education, conclude with the statement – Blended learning has the proven potential to enhance both the effectiveness and efficiency of meaningful learning experiences.”

Though more organizations are switching towards self-paced learning solutions, L&D researchers continue to expound the benefits and the needs of blended learning at the workplace. Not every individual within an organization is at the same level of intelligence. Hence what works for one learner as a self-paced learning program, may not work with a larger group of learners who are not comfortable to learn on their own and who would prefer a guide or instructor to take them through the eLearning content. In such a scenario, blended learning is never going to go out of favor and will continue to remain relevant in the context of modern workplace learning and eLearning design.

Keen to learn how blended learning can play an effective role in workplace learning? Listen to tech-leader Rashim Mogha share her insights on ‘Blended Learning‘.

 

The Benefits of Blended Learning

Offers a high degree of flexibility

Blended learning solutions offer a high degree of flexibility in the way the content can be moulded to be supplemented by an actual instructor, or an online guide, or adapting the same core learning content to different learner-levels.

Proven to work

As stated in the earlier paragraphs, there’s an ample body of research that offers evidence on the effectiveness of blended learning. Hence it is no wonder that organizations continue to invest in building and deploying blended learning solutions.

Cost-effective

The growth of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality solutions has emboldened organizations to create and offer AR/VR-based learning solutions to customers who have the budget to afford them. But you got to remember that this is still a small percentage of the total global eLearning solutions market. We are also seeing the growth of learning apps wherein the entire eLearning program is offered as a mobile app. This incurs a high development cost. When it comes to designing a cost-effective learning solution, blended learning still holds on to the pole position.

Personalize with ease

Blended learning solutions are designed to make personalization easy to cater to a diverse learning audience. Here this is significantly impacted by the actual instructor’s ability to adapt to the needs of the learners as well. Based on the skillset and talents of the learners the blended learning content can be suitably tailored, personalized, and delivered with ease.

Right mix of learning strategies

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Blended learning offers organizations the opportunity to offer a mix of learning strategies when creating the training content. With more variety and a mix of different learning strategies, blended learning solutions offer the ideal avenue to help meet the requirements of different categories of learners.

Enhances interaction among learners

An oft-quoted LinkedIn study found that employees preferred to work in an organization that fostered a sense of learning and employees preferred their managers or mentors guiding them to learn a new skill. With blended learning, there’s greater interaction among learners/employees who have signed up for a specific program and this makes learning a collaborative and interesting task rather than a tiresome chore.

Some stats that offer interesting insights, which cement the relevance of blended learning in modern eLearning design and learning at the workplace:

  • 71% of respondents in a survey said that the lack of managerial support in learning inhibited their professional growth and prompted them to leave the organization.
  • 79% of respondents in a Training Industry survey report that offering alternate formats of training materials was very important or essential to the support of training initiatives.
  • 52% of companies use between three and six modalities to deliver sales training.

Key Disadvantages of Blended Learning

Heavily dependent on technology

The over-dependence on technology is cited as a key disadvantage for the implementation of blended learning at the workplace. But most modern organizations today, have the necessary infrastructure in place to deliver both synchronous learning to their staff, so unless there is an internet connectivity problem, blended learning should work without a hitch.

Initial investment is higher

This is true and setting up the technical resources to ensure that the blended learning is delivered properly requires a higher investment up-front. Over course of time, this value is recovered and justified.

Scheduling the presence of the instructor

Modern blended learning solutions integrate videos of instructors within the learning program. But there are still solutions that are designed as per customer requirements and mandate the presence of a physical instructor when deploying the course. From an L&D and HR perspective, ensuring that all the designated learners and the instructor(s) are available at the pre-determined time may prove to be a challenge.

Blended Learning – When it Works and When it Does Not?

This goes back to the perennial question that L&D experts have – “Will this solution work?”

Blended learning has helped schools in the US achieve significant improvements in making classes interactive and engaging the K12 sector. At the workplace, blended learning continues to remain significant, especially in soft-skills and specialized product-training learning solutions.

Blended learning is not recommended for a small learner group, or when the topic can be better explained in a pure-play self-paced eLearning course, or a regular full-fledged classroom-based training session. Remember, budgets play a key role as well and investing in a full-scale blended learning program that’s just going to be used for a small audience for just a couple of training sessions, will just be a heavy investment that will never give full value.

One of the primary challenges that software companies face is to train users/buyers to use the product with full competence. We have seen several examples of products failing in the market because users were not able to comprehend the product. Another scenario is ‘Certification Training’ wherein practitioners gain certification for their competence in using the software solution and they in turn can train other users to use the software easily. In both cases, organizations around the world are looking for innovative training solutions that can make their job easier and improve product adoption rates.

A few years ago, a leading American cloud-computing company came to us with a challenge that they had not been able to resolve. They had a sizeable chunk of training content available in the form of documentation and printed material, they were running classroom training programs trying to run certification programs for their product-users, and they were looking for a solution that would help simplify the training process and quicken it. Origin came up with a powerful blended learning solution that met their requirements.

Learn how Origin helped a leading American cloud-computing giant to develop and deploy an integrated and unified blended learning program that helped them improve product adoption rates.

Conclusion

Blended learning or multi-modal learning as some people tend to call it is an important part of the modern L&D puzzle. As organizations continue to evolve, catering to different business requirements and begin to employ a new generation of employees as their workforce, they are going to face challenges in internal training. In blended learning, organizations have both a strategy and solution to train their staff effectively, reward and retain staff who excel at work, and achieve both their training and financial goals with ease.

Are you looking for a blended learning solution to train your employees, customers, or channel partners? We offer customized blended learning solutions that are ensured to drive results. Write to info@originlearning.com to partner with us and develop blended learning solutions.

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