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A Complete Guide On Blended Learning Solutions

September 19, 2018 | By Asha Pandey


A Complete Guide on Blended Learning Solutions


Blended Learning offers several benefits for both organizations and learners. In this article, I will show you how you can manage the transition from a facilitated mode (or ILT) to a Blended Learning mode in order to design and deliver successful Blended Learning solutions.

What are Blended Learning Solutions?

Blended Learning solutions, as the term implies, combine facilitated (or Instructor-Led) trainings with online training. This synergistic approach is especially relevant in today’s workplace, offering an optimal hybrid strategy to address varied corporate training requirements. These solutions are increasingly aligned with the realities of a multi-generational workforce in a hybrid or remote work environment, where they save time and provide a spectrum of online learning choices.

Why Does It Make Business Sense to Adopt Blended Learning?

In the current era of hybrid and remote work models, Instructor-Led Training (ILT) continues to hold its ground but is now seamlessly integrating with digital methods. The shift towards the digitization of ILT is gaining momentum, making Blended Learning an essential strategy for modern organizations. The value that Blended Learning solutions bring to organizations in today’s hybrid and remote work settings includes:

  • Cost Reduction: It cuts training costs, a crucial factor for geographically dispersed teams.
  • Shorter Training Duration: The sessions are concise and more efficient, catering to the fast-paced work environment.
  • Ease of Scaling: Blended Learning allows for the easy scaling of training programs to accommodate diverse team sizes.
  • Wider Reach in Less Time: This approach enables uniform training across various locations, ensuring consistency in learning outcomes.
  • Rapid Updates and Redeployment: Blended Learning facilitates quick updates to training content, keeping pace with rapid industry changes.

The Value to Learners in a Hybrid/Remote Work Context:

  • Blended Learning solutions are exceptionally beneficial for learners in a hybrid or remote work setting:
  • Learning at Varied Paces: They cater to different learning speeds by combining online self-paced learning with instructor-led sessions.
  • Diverse Learning Options: These solutions offer a range of learning modalities to suit varied learning styles and preferences.
  • Accessibility of Learning Resources: Learners have continuous access to online resources, allowing them to revisit material as needed in a dynamic work environment.

The efficacy of Blended Learning in a hybrid or remote work context largely depends on the thoughtful integration of facilitated training and self-paced online modules. This approach is pivotal in ensuring that learning and development initiatives are effective, inclusive, and adaptive to the changing dynamics of today’s workplace.

Blended Learning Models

  1. Flipped Model:

  • Description: This model revolutionizes conventional classroom instruction. It allows learners to first engage with instructional content (like video lectures or online modules) outside the class.
  • Advantages: It excels in promoting personalized learning experiences and offers the flexibility for learners to absorb information at their own pace.
  • Best Use: Particularly effective in training programs demanding hands-on application of complex concepts, such as technical training or soft skills development, where theory is learned independently and practically applied in class.
  1. Face-to-Face Driver Model:

  • Description: Resembling traditional classroom training, this model primarily occurs in a classroom setting, emphasizing individualized learner support.
  • Advantages: It’s exceptionally beneficial in providing personalized support to learners grappling with new concepts.
  • Best Use: An ideal choice for training programs requiring intensive mentorship or coaching, like leadership development or specialized skill training where individual feedback is pivotal.
  1. Rotational Model:

  • Description: This model involves a dynamic rotation among different learning modalities, including face-to-face instruction, online activities, and independent study.
  • Advantages: Its strength lies in its flexibility, catering to diverse learning styles and allowing employees to engage with the learning modality that best suits them at any given time.
  • Best Use: It’s most effective in diverse skill training programs, where employees can choose different learning formats tailored to their specific learning needs.
  1. Flex Model:

  • Description: Offering significant autonomy, this model merges online learning with on-demand in-person support and is geared towards self-paced learning.
  • Advantages: It shines in providing learners the freedom to access content anytime and anywhere, backed by necessary instructor support.
  • Best Use: Best suited for ongoing professional development and upskilling, allowing employees to learn at their preferred pace while accessing support for challenging topics.
  1. Enriched Virtual Model:

  • Description: Predominantly an online learning experience, this model is enhanced with periodic in-person sessions for collaborative projects and assessments.
  • Advantages: It uniquely blends the convenience of online learning with the advantages of face-to-face interaction, ensuring tailored instruction and collaborative opportunities.
  • Best Use: Extremely suitable for training remote workforces, blending online convenience with occasional in-person sessions for more profound engagement and collaboration.
  1. Station Rotation and Lab Rotation Models:

  • Station Rotation: Features a rotation through different stations on a set schedule, including an online learning station.
  • Lab Rotation: Similar to Station Rotation but with online learning in a dedicated computer lab.
  • Advantages: Both models offer a well-structured yet adaptable approach, integrating online and in-person elements seamlessly.
  • Best Use: Excellently applicable in extensive training environments like corporate training centers, where different learning stations cater to diverse learning preferences and styles.
  1. Individual Rotation Model:

  • Description: Involves individualized rotation schedules for learners, curated by teachers or algorithms, focusing only on the activities in their playlists.
  • Advantages: Tailors the learning journey to individual needs, providing a highly personalized learning experience.
  • Best Use: Particularly effective in customized skill development programs, enabling employees to follow a learning path that aligns with their individual pace and needs.
  1. A La Carte Model:

  • Description: Allows learners to augment face-to-face courses with online courses, adding to their schedule flexibility.
  • Advantages: Expands the range of educational offerings beyond traditional curriculums, ideal for elective or specialized courses.
  • Best Use: Ideal for providing a broad spectrum of elective or specialized training options that learners can select based on their interests and career goals.
  1. Applied Learning and Self-Blend Models (from Hurix Digital):

  • Applied Learning: Focuses on immediate application of learned solutions, often combining virtual learning with subsequent in-person sessions.
  • Self-Blend: Enables employees to select and complete courses at their own pace, entirely online.
  • Advantages: Applied Learning is highly relevant and instantly applicable, while Self-Blend offers the ultimate flexibility and self-paced learning.
  • Best Use: Applied Learning is best suited for scenario-based or real-world problem-solving training, whereas Self-Blend is ideal for ongoing learning and professional development, allowing employees to manage their learning schedules.

How Can You Design Blended Learning Solutions for Success?

The key to success lies in handling the transition correctly from a successful and established facilitated or ILT program to a Blended mode.

To achieve this, you need to be aware of some of the associated challenges and ensure that these are handled, therefore mitigating the risks. The list of the key challenges is listed first and then I share a guide or a toolkit that you can use to handle them.

  1. Not quite sure where to begin.
  2. No buy-in from senior stakeholders.
  3. Lack of adequate resources to manage the transition.
  4. Often, trainers may not be convinced of the need to move the ILT mode to fully online or Blended mode. However, their support is very critical in ensuring the success of the Blended Learning solution.
  5. One size does not fit all and what approach (that is, what degree of blend) is required is not obvious and isn’t easy to identify.

At EI, our practice of Blended learning design is driven by a Step-by-Step Guide or our Blending Learning Toolkit.  You can use these pointers as you transition to a Blended Learning mode.

Step 1: Identify your reason to opt for a Blended Learning solution

  • What are the factors that are triggering the need to transform the training format?
  • Is the new format expected to address any specific challenges that were not being addressed by the facilitated format?
  • What are the expected gains from the new format?

Step 2: Validate the effectiveness of the new approach (to arrive at the degree of blending and the impact it would create)

  • Would the learners be amenable to adopting the revised delivery format?
  • Would the learners get a better learning experience?
  • Would the program mandate be met?

Step 3: Identify the support required (for delivery and for instructors and learners)

  • Evaluate the options for delivery including:
    • The platform to offer VILT and LMS to offer online training.
  • The support for instructor and learners so that they can maximize the value of the new format.

Step 4: Identify the support required to handle change management effectively

  • Begin with the measures to ensure that you have the buy-in of the senior stakeholders (from L&D as well as from business units).
  • Also, ensure that the instructors are aligned to support the transition.
  • Poll the learners to be certain that they see the required value.

Step 5: Review the existing content to determine its suitability to adapt to a blended delivery

  • You need to effectively map classroom-based activities and exercises to the online format. While some of them would find a direct match to the interactive activities in the online mode, some may require a selection of alternative formats.
  • You also need to update the initial assessment strategy after identifying how it can be adapted for a Blended delivery. For instance, given the ease of tracking online assessments, you could move the entire assessment (of both facilitated as well as online components) to an online mode.

Step 6: Once these measures are in place, you are ready to go and are poised for success

  • Create the Blended training program design.
  • Create an approach plan to implement the Blended training program as follows:
    • Plan for a pilot.
    • Take feedback.
    • Re-deploy.
  • Feedback and further improvement: Arriving at the right degree of a Blended Learning solution is a combination of art and science. Feedback from learners as well as business units will help you fully align to your mandate. After the initial roll-out, seek feedback from learners as well as business units to assess if the program was successful. These cues can be used to update the mode of delivery (the way you had Blended it).

Parting Thoughts

In summary, the shift from traditional Instructor-Led Training (ILT) to Blended Learning is crucial for meeting the dynamic needs of today’s workforce. This approach combines the strengths of face-to-face and online learning, offering benefits like cost efficiency, scalability, and personalized learning experiences. The key to a successful transition lies in selecting the right Blended Learning model—from Flipped to Self-Blend—and addressing challenges like stakeholder buy-in and resource allocation. By adopting this flexible and inclusive approach, organizations can enhance their training programs, ensuring they are more engaging, effective, and aligned with the evolving business landscape.

I hope this article provides the insights on why you should adopt Blended Learning and, more significantly, how you can successfully plan the transition from facilitated or ILT sessions to a Blended mode.

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