If you think new technologies can completely replace the older ones, you need to think again. You’ll still come across people who use radio and TV in the era of YouTube and Social Media. So, what does that indicate? It’s proof that a majority of these old technologies still exist and have even acquired some new-fangled tricks and competences on the way.
It also holds true for old-style classroom based learning. Contrary to the popular belief, e-Learning is not intended to replace traditional learning. Instead, it aims to cover those instances where old-style, face-to-face teaching was not appropriate, budget friendly, or possible.
Today, e-Learning is intended to work together with old-style learning and supplement its proficiencies. This setup is what is typically known as blended learning, and it’s a concept that contemporary Learning Management Systems (LMS) progressively offer support for.
Also Read: Why Do Businesses Switch to a Different LMS?
What is Blended Learning?
Blended learning is an amalgamation of offline teaching (such as face-to-face, old-style methods) and online teaching in a manner that both methodologies complement each other well.
This type of learning offers learners ample opportunities to appreciate the best of both worlds. For instance, learners might take lessons in a real-life classroom while complementing the lectures with an online software project or course. This way, the learners would only have to actually appear in class once every week while enjoying the freedom to learn at their own pace and according to their own schedule.
How does Blended Learning work?
Also known as hybrid learning, blended learning can assume a wide range of arrangements in online teaching settings. For instance, some companies utilize blended learning methods occasionally, while others might use it as the main learning technique within their training program.
Blended learning is often associated with two significant ideologies that owe largely to its worldwide success. Firstly, learners who share knowledge and collaborate with other learners have a deepened learning experience. Secondly, cooperation between learners can be enhanced if team assignments depend on knowledge acquired through online resources or trainings. Moreover, it is also suggested that learners who accomplish online trainings along with interactive, physical classroom based activities have profound instructive experiences.
Benefits of Blended Learning
Whether you wish to get the most out of your classroom and e-Learning platforms or are in search of methods to maximize your company’s ROI on training, blended learning is the way forward.
Here are some possible benefits of this hybrid approach:
Majority of the companies that effectively blend their old-style training practices with e-Learning offer a higher degree of flexibility to employees
Blended learning facilitates managers can be better involved in improving employee engagement through several kinds of learning content.
The approach facilitates instructors in assessing learning trends and planning for future lessons.
It also helps companies to make full use of the benefits of their e-Learning platform while preserving the human element in their teaching methods.
LMS and Blended Learning
Want to implement blended learning in your organization? Your LMS can be a great platform that complements blended learning.
Here’s how you can use your LMS to offer top-class teaching through blended learning:
1. Identify your training needs
Before you start using your LMS for blended learning, there are three things that you need to identify.
- Your corporate training needs
- Different setups of training (online/ILT/formal/informal) needed to meet these training needs
- Different possibilities through which the online component of the combination (web/mobile-based instruction) can be employed competently
Based on these three points, you need to formulate a plan reviewing the training approaches you currently use and would like to implement in the future.
2. Assess your current technical setup
In order to accomplish blended learning through your LMS, it is important to evaluate your current technical resources to ensure that your training happens in a stress-free environment.
Reach out to your technical team and learn about the hardware and software tools they use. Inquire about their strategies for technical rollouts and try to methodically bring your teaching platforms in line with the technology they employ. Most importantly, ensure that your learners can use your LMS whenever and wherever required. It is best to include the LMS retailer in the execution of the training initiative to ensure maximum technical compatibility.
3. Persuade all stakeholders
The trickiest part of implementing blended learning using your LMS is to convince all concerned individuals about its usefulness and benefits.
From the top management, to the technical staff, instructors and learners, it is important to clearly identify all the stakeholders and explain to them how this initiative can advantage them and the business. However, be prepared to receive mixed reactions and even resistance.
Therefore, it is suggested to initiate a trial program first so that your employees have a direct feel of it. To make your initiative a success, ensure that you offer appropriate support.
4. Scrutinize the features of your LMS
It’s essential to perform a detailed survey of the features of your LMS to understand how they can be used to implement the blended learning. It will require experimenting with numerous technologies, one by one and evaluating their effectiveness. Your LMS should facilitate the process by offering training through physical and online platforms. Moreover, it should support mobile and collaborative learning.
5. Develop and use a diverse range of training resources
One of the advantages of employing an LMS is the possibility of using a diverse range of learning resources. You can allow your employees to access FAQs, support guides, tutorials, and more. You can also offer recorded lectures and lessons to your learners during or after the training to draw connections between learning and on the job use.
6. Ask for feedback to enhance the training programs
Collect feedback from your learners to improve the quality of your training program. Learn about any difficulties they encountered in accessing the LMS and seek recommendations for enhancement.
Similarly, ask the instructors and LMS administrators if they faced any problems in using the LMS. Appropriate feedback can help you appraise the efficacy of your blended learning programs and improve them further.
Implementing a blended learning program through your LMS requires detailed planning. Along with evaluating your technical setup, it is also important to persuade all concerned individuals about the significance and advantages of using your LMS to impart blended learning.
Moreover, it’s essential to scrutinize the features of your LMS and incorporate a diverse range of training media. You must also be prepared to collect feedback efficiently to enhance the quality of the learning program.
Ehsan Memari is a blogger for BoostHQ, the leading knowledge sharing platform for organizations to share, centralize, and discuss internal knowledge. Ehsan is a regular contributor to blog posts related to knowledge sharing, L&D, and eLearning.