Every student is different. In recognizing that, educators not only accentuate the differences that exist between students of various ages or intellectual abilities, but also the fact that two persons can be at the same phase of physical and cognitive development and still have different needs, preferences, and approaches to learning.
Some acquire knowledge by listening, others thrive on visual cues. From these highly individual affinities stem different learning styles. Auditory, visual, kinesthetic, and reading/writing approaches to learning are only a few of them. Others are more hybrid and suggest combinations of learning techniques that vary from one person to another.
But how can we, as educators, accommodate such a diverse range of learning needs? Blended models, experts agree, provide a universal approach to learning that is suitable to all types of students, regardless of their age, intellect, and personal inclinations.
Here’s why you too should use them in your online training.
What is Blended Learning?
Blended learning is a combination of different learning techniques. As a hybrid model, it merges two forms of training - traditional instructor-led training and eLearning - in order to cater to the needs of both old-school learners and new-age students.
It also combines classroom-type lectures, usually live-streamed via the Internet, with online-based training platforms that provide both eLearning and mLearning modules.
Blended models rely on real-time communication and collaboration tools with eLearning capabilities, such as blended learning software or eLearning software.
These are their biggest benefits for learners and educators alike:
1. Blended Learning is Personalised and Learner-Centric
Blended learning offers something according to the taste of every student. Being designed to accommodate various learning styles, it facilitates knowledge acquisition in people who prefer infographics over bullet points, group learning over intellectual isolation, and live streaming over books, and also vice-versa.
Blended learning software allows you to use or combine various formats of learning content, as well as to choose different delivery methods and assessment techniques.
This means that blended learning online helps you, as a course creator, to personalise learning paths and make them suitable for students of highly individual needs, besides addressing their pain points and specific preferences. To students themselves, it provides a self-paced learning track.
2. Hybrid Learning Environment is Much More Flexible
In hybrid learning environments, self-paced learning is enabled by the unusual flexibility that traditional classrooms cannot possibly provide. This may be the greatest advantage of online training and the one that is especially important in the context of andragogy. Most adult learners are not in a position to quit their day jobs and dedicate their time to education. Finding a work-life balance is already difficult enough.
Unlike offline training, eLearning is available anytime and anywhere. Employed adults can take eLearning and mLearning courses while commuting to work or during their lunch breaks. The only thing these students need is a strong motivation for professional development and a reliable Internet connection.
Additionally, blended learning software solutions come with built-in knowledge retention assessment tools that allow instructors to track learners’ performance in real time, provide feedback for each course taken, and navigate students in the best possible direction. Without blended learning, corporate training would hardly be as effective.
3. eLearning Unlocks Innovative Approaches to Training
Personalisation and time-efficiency are not the only benefits of blended learning online. Deep personalisation of these training courses includes innovative approaches to learning that are made possible, thanks to technology. Microlearning and gamification are currently two of the most popular ones, and they are thus very effective as motivational tools.
The variety of multi-device formats supported by cutting-edge eLearning software solutions is just as important when it comes to learners’ engagement. Students can now choose between flip books, iPDFs, micro-portals, eBooks, infographics, interactive videos, and much more. Taken together, these approaches help create an improved learning experience.
4. It Enables and Encourages Educational Collaboration
Although some students rather study alone than as a part of a larger group, modern learning theories suggest that collaborative social learning boasts benefits that should not be ignored.
This is especially true in the workplace context, where social learning:
- Helps employees develop hard skills faster,
- Improves collaboration between employees,
- Helps capture organizational knowledge, and
- Boosts engagement in adult learners.
Real-time collaboration with instructors and peers, instant feedback, 24/7 messaging, and online discussions are all considered essential blended learning software features. Even if your students are lone learners, they will still be able to benefit from collaborative capabilities in your eLearning platform whenever they need help, expert advice, or consultation.
Conclusion: Blended Learning Boosts Retention Rates
The immense power of blended learning online lies in personalisation, 24/7 accessibility, flexibility, and collaboration. Taken together, these four characteristics of the eLearning environment increase learners’ motivation and engagement, thus boosting retention as well.
In fact, eLearning increases retention rates by 25%-60%.
Compare that to the numbers behind face-to-face training (between 8% and 10%) and it’s clear that online educators must be doing something right. They are leveraging the best aspects of educational technology such as eLearning software and bland learning software.
In corporate training, eLearning even helps increase revenue by 42%.
If not for all the reasons explained above, consider adopting blended training for this whooping ROI and a chance for your organization to grow along with your employees.
Robin Singh, Technical Support Executive
About Robin: He is an expert in various LMS and employee training software. Currently, he is a resident learning management expert at ProProfs. In his free time, Robin enjoys cycling and sky diving.