Blended learning models can increase learner engagement and boost overall training completion rates. Learn what they are and how to choose the best one.
4 blended learning models every training manager should know
If your employees are struggling to complete their corporate training or education, you may want to consider a blended learning model.
Blended learning models combine a variety of teaching methods that increase learner engagement and cater more to each person’s individual learning style. As a result, instructors who switch to blended learning models often find higher course completion rates.
Blended learning is popular in academic settings, but it’s especially beneficial in corporate environments. In addition to increasing learner engagement, which is often extremely challenging in corporate settings, it can also reduce costs.
Knowing the differences between the four most common blended learning models can help training managers pick the right one for their needs.
What is a Blended Learning Model?
A blended learning model (also known as hybrid learning) is a framework for teaching that “blends” in-person teaching, online learning, and self-paced modules. Each blended learning model combines these teaching elements differently.
With other forms of learning, students are required to learn in only one format i.e., traditional face-to-face learning, or through self-paced online modules. Blended learning allows students to experience more than one form of learning and provides increased learning flexibility.
As a result, blended learning can increase learner engagement and overall training completion rates. And depending on the model, it can often reduce costs by eliminating the need for travel or hard-copy materials.
4 Common Blended Learning Models:
The rotation model of blended learning is when students rotate on a set schedule between learning methods, with at least one virtual component. Some of these learning methods might include group projects, homework assignments, one-on-one tutoring, and more.
The blended learning rotation model can be divided into the following categories:
- Station Rotation: With this model, learners stay in one room but rotate between stations.
- Lab Rotation: In this model, learners complete the eLearning portion in a physical classroom or lab.
- Flipped Classroom: In this model, employees might complete online training modules on their own time, but then a manager or senior employee will watch them implement the skill they’ve learned.
- The Individual Rotation Model: Learners have a customized schedule created by the instructor where they’ll complete stations on an individual basis.
The flex model of blended learning allows trainees access to all the materials at their disposal, often online. And they are freed to work through the work independently. However, the instructor should be accessible to the trainees at all times. This face-to-face communication is what separates it from online learning.
In general, the flex model may have a heavier online component than other blended learning models. It also gives more independence to those going through the training than the rotation model does, allowing for greater self-paced learning.
Enriched Virtual Model
The enriched virtual model of blended learning is similar to the flex model in some ways. The trainees are still doing most of their work independently online. However, some sessions are completed in person as a class when the instructor feels they are necessary.
So really, enriched virtual learning is more so enriched virtual learning. Essentially, it’s online learning with extra help from in-person, more traditional instruction when required.
À La Carte Model
The à la carte model of blended learning allows employees to pick and choose what courses or types of training they would like to learn.
Maybe their interest was piqued by a certain subject, and they wanted to learn more about it. Perhaps they feel their training lacks something, and they’ve taken it upon themselves to learn more about it. Or maybe they have a skills gap and want to strengthen their skillset.
À la carte allows employees to invest in extra online training aside from what is provided to them in person, which can pay back tenfold for an employer. It gives employees a greater sense of control over their learning needs and allows them an individual learning experience.
How To Use Blended Learning Models In Corporate Training
Practically speaking, how do you use blended learning models effectively in corporate training? The answer is it depends a little bit on your business goals and your employees’ preferences. Some things to consider include:
- Your employee base
- Teaching modalities
- Learning complements
Consider Your Employees’ abilities
When you’re choosing models of blended learning, consider the abilities, comfort levels, tech literacy, extroversion, introversion, current job, skill knowledge, etc. of your employees.
In all likelihood, your employees will be in different places in these categories, so it may be challenging to cater to them all. But that’s part of the benefit of a blended learning model.
If you’ve chosen the right kind of model and provided proper customization, you should have training courses with aspects that meet most of your employees’ needs.
Combine Lectures and Seminars with Practical Application
You’ll want to balance information given in a lecture-like format with real-world applications of the information or skills your employees are learning.
According to Harvard Business Review, people learn best when they practice what they learn immediately; otherwise, they likely won’t retain the information.
When creating or implementing your blended learning model for training, remember to balance lectures with practical application.
Use Complementing Online and In-Person Teaching Elements
Regardless of the blended learning model you choose, in-person and online teaching should work with each other and not break the natural flow of learning. That means concepts should not feel broken, stuttered, or hard to understand when switching between learning methods.
Instead, the online and traditional learning in your blended learning model should complement each other, both in content and methods. It should be one cohesive course and read as such for the employees going through it, rather than two distinct courses.
How To Choose The Best Blended Learning Model
Identify the Training Needs of Your Company and Employees
You need to consider and identify the needs of both your company and employees. Ask yourself:
- What training needs does your company have?
- Where do your employees have skills or training gaps?
- What will your employees need to be trained on in the immediate or distant future?
- Are there any new technologies or products related to your industry or company your employees should know?
- Do different employees and job positions require different training?
After answering these questions, you should have a much stronger idea about what blended learning models will work best for your employees and what sort of modules and content should be included.
Determine a Training Schedule
To determine a training schedule for your employees, first consider how busy they are and their schedule availability. This may seem obvious, but determining the schedule first will help you decide which blended learning models would best suit your needs.
For instance, if there’s very little or no time where everyone could meet together with an instructor, then the flex or enriched virtual models would work best. However, if your employees have more time, and there are many activities for them to learn, the rotation model may be ideal.
Evaluate the Complexity of the Content
How complex is the training your employees need? Is it hard to learn without direct help and teaching? Teaching that is more complex or involved would probably do best with a rotation blended learning model so an instructor is always around to help.
On the other hand, if your employees need limited support, they may only need a flex or enriched learning model.
Consider What Resources You Have Available to You
To decide which blended learning model is for you, consider what resources you already have available to you both in-person and online. Do you have a room in your business to facilitate a group of employees gathering for in-person training? Do you have other online learning platforms that could be used for effective online training?
Your access to technology will affect how heavily you can rely on the online learning aspect of blended learning models. For instance, the flex and enriched virtual blended learning models heavily rely the most on online learning. Whereas, the rotation model of blended learning only relies on online learning as much as the instructor determines.
A Learning Management System Can Provide Blended Learning Experiences Without the Hassle
Blended learning models can be a great option for training managers. However, a learning management platform could provide that same blended learning experience without the hassle. It can even increase learner engagement more than a blended learning model alone.
A learning management system has various features like built-in course authoring, course tracking, course management, quizzes and assessments, interactive videos, presentations, virtual classrooms, and more. These tools engage learners more for increased completion rates and can even help reduce employee turnover.