Blended learning is an approach to learning and development that combines instructor-led training and self-study with e-learning and other less-structured forms of learning support—think “communities of practice,” or groups of people who share an interest in improving at a specific profession, skill, or craft. By combining different training approaches, blended learning programs create a supportive environment where learners can explore information, practice skills, and get feedback through different channels.
There are tons of situations where a blended learning approach can help you create effective learning experiences. For example, if you’re developing a training program focused on construction skills, it’s crucial that some of that learning happen in person. For starters, you’ll want to make sure your students can use tools safely and appropriately. But you will make the most of your in-person course time if everyone has the same basic background and knowledge before they walk in.
In this situation, you could use e-learning to create a foundation (no pun intended!) for the construction skills you’ll cover in person. You can make sure that learners are familiar with terminology, safety rules, and other background info, and then use your in-person training time for discussion and hands-on skills.
Here’s another example to consider: Say you’re creating a sales skills course and you want learners to be able to practice the skills they studied in an in-person class. You could create online courses with branching scenarios, where learners can try out their new sales approach in a private environment. That way they have a low-risk setting to experiment with new skills. And perhaps you could complement the e-learning exercises with an informal study group, where your learners could role-play challenging situations and get feedback from their peers.
Are You Using a Blended Learning Approach?
There are many popular approaches to using e-learning to create education and training programs. Blended learning is just one example challenging you to think about how different forms of educational content can help learners master content effectively.
If you’re using e-learning as part of a blended learning approach, tell us more! Share your insights in the comments below. And follow us on Twitter and check back on E-Learning Heroes regularly for more helpful advice on everything related to e-learning.