How to Use Blended Learning in Your Training?

Classroom instruction and online learning fare well in different situations. Classroom instruction offers the benefits of personalized instruction, immediate feedback, and opportunities for social interaction, so necessary for hands-on learning. However, it's very resource-intensive and can be inflexible, limiting access to learners with diverse schedules or locations.

Conversely, online learning provides flexibility and accessibility, allowing learners to progress at their own pace and catering to individual learning needs, abilities, styles, and preferences. Still, it can lack the social aspects and real-time feedback that can enhance learning.

Blended learning — a hybrid learning approach that combines traditional in-person instruction with online learning activities — aims to bypass their drawbacks and amplify the learning effectiveness, compared to what each method alone could provide. Many different studies show that when implemented the right way, blended learning can noticeably improve student engagement, achievement, and satisfaction compared to traditional classroom instruction or online learning alone.

Let's explore the pros of implementing blended learning in training programs and how to leverage the versatility and adaptability of this approach.

Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.

John F. Kennedy

The benefits of blended learning

The main point of blended learning is to combine the flexibility of self-paced online learning with the collaboration and engagement of being in a physical or virtual classroom. However, blended learning also allows one to gain several more advantages.

Catering to different learning styles

Combining in-person and online activities maximizes learning potential and allows learners to achieve their educational goals. Those who prefer direct instruction and social interaction can benefit from instructor-led sessions, while those who enjoy independent learning and flexibility can thrive in self-paced activities.

In a blended learning course on data analysis, for example, instructors might lay the basics in a classroom with hands-on workshops where learners train on real-world datasets. Later, learners can access online tutorials on specific data analysis tools and techniques and practice on interactive simulators at their own pace.

Reducing training costs

Blended learning offers significant cost savings compared to traditional in-person training. Each learning session moved online reduces instructor expenses, travel costs, and facility rental fees. Additionally, the flexibility of online learning allows for remote training, eliminating the need for learners to travel to training centers, further reducing costs, and increasing accessibility.

Optimizing learner time

Blended learning provides learners with more control over their learning schedule. Online modules allow them to learn independently, pausing, rewinding, and reviewing content as needed. This flexibility helps learners fit training into their busy schedules and revisit areas of difficulty without disrupting the class flow.

Enhancing knowledge retention

Blended learning can lead to improved knowledge retention compared to solely in-person or online learning.

The combination of in-person interaction, self-paced exploration, and interactive activities creates a more engaging and effective learning experience that promotes deeper understanding and long-term retention of information. Plus, it simply extends the time the learners spend on training, which can also contribute to more knowledge gains.

Improving instructor visibility

Blended learning gives instructors a more comprehensive understanding of learner progress and engagement. Online tools, such as discussion forums, quizzes, and progress-tracking dashboards, allow instructors to monitor individual and group performance, identify areas for improvement, and provide targeted feedback.

Five ways to incorporate blended learning with Opigno

The rich diversity of online tools and technologies provides endless combinations and opportunities for blended learning. Here, we'll cover the five most approachable but effective ways of incorporating blended learning with Opigno LMS.

1. Flipped classroom

A flipped classroom is a pedagogical model that reverses traditional classroom dynamics. Rather than sit through a lecture with an instructor and then complete homework on their own time, the flipped classroom model has students learn the materials beforehand and then use in-class time for active learning activities, such as problem-solving, group projects, and discussions.

Blended learning fits this scheme perfectly, with online platforms providing the perfect opportunities for an initial introduction to the subject.

For example, Boeing flipped the classroom when training capture team leaders (CTLs) in their sales teams to get maximum benefit from the short amount of in-person instruction time. They decided to teach the basics in a series of eight online training lessons, which allowed them to explore more nuanced topics during a four-day live session.

With Opigno LMS, educators can build comprehensive courses that cover all the bases so that learners come to the classroom prepared for an in-depth discussion. Moreover, Opigno's assessment system and progress-tracking capabilities provide instructors with a transparent overview of topics the learners have learned, how much time they have spent on each training module, and how well they have understood the material. With these insights, educators can adjust their offline activities to maximize the output.

2. Online discussions, forums, and collaborative tools

Unlike the flipped classroom, the following approaches don't require overhauling the whole program but rather augment the traditional lesson structure by promoting active engagement, collaboration, and knowledge sharing among students and instructors beyond the confines of the conventional classroom.

On online forums, students engage in meaningful discussions about course materials, assignments, and topics of interest. Instructors can pose thought-provoking questions and steer conversations toward learning objectives. This asynchronous communication allows participants to reflect on their peers' perspectives and foster critical thinking, communication skills, and the ability to articulate ideas.

Additionally, online discussions serve as avenues for peer feedback, collaboration on group projects, and exploring diverse viewpoints.

Collaborative tools allow individuals to work on documents, presentations, projects, and other group learning activities. It promotes teamwork, communication, problem-solving, and project management skills, essential for academic and professional success.

Opigno LMS offers a comprehensive suite of social features facilitating effective blended learning experiences: course-related forums, polls and surveys, resource sharing, built-in private messenger, dedicated learner communities, and learner management tools that enable instructors to assign tasks, track progress, and manage collaborative projects effectively.

3. Simulations and interactive multimedia

Simulations and interactive multimedia are powerful tools used in blended learning to enhance engagement, facilitate experiential learning, and reinforce key concepts.

Simulations replicate real-world scenarios and allow learners to apply theoretical knowledge in practical contexts in a safe and immersive environment for learners to experiment, make decisions, and receive immediate feedback based on their actions, allowing them to reflect on their choices and refine their problem-solving skills.

Opigno LMS can integrate simulation modules with interactive case studies, scenarios, and decision-making exercises tailored to specific learning objectives.

Interactive multimedia elements such as videos, animations, quizzes, and multimedia presentations enrich the learning experience by capturing learners' attention, stimulating visual and auditory senses, and facilitating information retention and comprehension.

Opigno LMS supports the integration of multimedia content, allowing instructors to embed interactive videos, audio recordings, slideshows, and interactive quizzes directly into course modules.

4. Blended assessments and feedback mechanisms

Online platforms like Opigno enable instructors to assess student understanding, identify misconceptions, provide timely and personalized feedback on student assignments, quizzes, and projects, and adjust instructional strategies accordingly. And all of that — in real-time.

Online platforms also offer self-assessment tools, such as reflective journals or self-assessment quizzes, to encourage students to assess their learning progress and identify areas for growth.

Moreover, blended learning can integrate traditional in-person exams with online assessments, quizzes, or projects to comprehensively evaluate student knowledge and skills. Instructors can create online quizzes and assessments with various question formats and track student performance efficiently.

5. Personalized learning paths

Personalized learning paths are a cornerstone of blended learning, and online platforms are the primary enablers of such personalization.

Adaptive learning technologies use algorithms and data analytics to assess students' knowledge, skills, and learning preferences and offer supplemental resources, multimedia materials, and alternative assignments to accommodate diverse learning styles and interests, allowing for personalized recommendations and interventions. For example, in Opigno LMS, instructors can create branching learning paths that provide different options for students based on their interests, abilities, previous training results, and learning objectives.

As the learners progress through the modules in a flexible and personalized manner, instructors can use the data generated by the assessment tools to provide targeted feedback, adjust instructional strategies, and support students in achieving their learning objectives.

Get better results with blended learning

The key to successful blended learning is thoughtful planning, effective use of technology, and a focus on achieving educational goals while accommodating diverse learning styles and preferences.

Often, in-person training can feel like being firehosed by information. Adding elements of online learning to in-person training lectures can make them more effective by laying the groundwork for a more substantive classroom discussion, offering additional opportunities for learners to engage with the material, or providing an individual approach at scale.

For example, you can add interactive microlearning opportunities that employees can engage with outside classroom instruction, such as short videos, quizzes, and gamified modules.

Conversely, if your training is already primarily self-guided and online, you can implement blended learning by scheduling live virtual or in-person meetings that augment the online material. In these sessions, instructors can answer student questions or review more complicated aspects to ensure everyone understands. 

The improvement in e-learning technology and learning management systems has made it easier than ever to offer blended learning opportunities as part of your training program. Whether that's adding online components to existing in-person sessions or completely rewriting your training to flip the classroom, Opigno's customizable e-learning platform can help you deliver more effective and engaging training using blended learning. Contact us today to make your blended learning a reality.


Published on February 06, 2024.