What will your corporate Learning & Development (L&D) program look like when it’s safe again to train your team in person? Organizations that reaped the benefits of training their teams online won’t want to lose them. The good news is they can have their cake and eat it, too. How? With blended learning.
What is blended learning ?
Blended learning uses a learning management system (LMS) to combine the advantages of learning both asynchronously (e-learning) and synchronously (in-person or online real-time instruction).
As a result, your organization and learners keep all the convenience and cost-savings of asynchronous learning while benefiting from the instantaneous feedback and support of a synchronous trainer.
When designing your new blended learning program, you need to find the right balance between these two modes of learning by asking yourself questions, such as:
- Given the concepts to be learned, what balance will best serve the objectives of the course?
- What type of content can the instructor effectively deliver?
- What balance of synchronous and asynchronous learning accommodates our participants best, given their location and availability?
This discussion will highlight the advantages of each learning mode, so you can find the right balance to develop a blended learning program that helps your organization meet its L&D goals.
What are the advantages of synchronous learning?
In synchronous learning, a group of people meet at a scheduled time to learn material that involves all the participants simultaneously. This meeting can be held in person or online, and can be live or recorded.
The major advantage of live synchronous training (as opposed to a recorded session) is that the instructor can interact with the participants to give instant feedback, answers, and support.
At the same time, the participants can interact instantly with the instructor and their peers through a voice channel, break-out room, or group chat. If the online class is well-designed, all these interactions contribute to a sense of community and fun among the participants.
What are the advantages of asynchronous learning?
Asynchronous learning is all about learning on one’s own, at a pace set by the participant, whether online or off. This anytime-anyplace flexibility is one of the major benefits of this mode of learning.
During online learning, participants can receive feedback from the following:
- Programmed interactive content
- LMS-supported discussion forums that enable a dialogue between instructor and participants
- Scheduled chat sessions with the instructor.
Another big benefit of self-paced online classes is that they enable participants to do deep dives into the course content without being distracted by others.
Simplifying blended learning
As we noted above, blended learning takes advantage of the major strengths of both synchronous and asynchronous learning. What makes synchronous learning possible in blended learning is access to live video-conferencing. Modern online learning platforms make access easy by integrating this capability into their software. For example, uxpertise LMS has integrated access to Microsoft Teams, a video-conferencing and group chat platform.
As a result, an instructor can:
- Sign onto the LMS and easily create a Teams event or join a live video training session distributed on Teams.
- Start group chat channels linked to an event or group.
This Teams integration makes blended learning easier to adapt to for instructors who traditionally train participants in-person while using slides and a blackboard or whiteboard. For these instructors, the easy-to-learn, intuitive interface of uxpertise LMS eliminates the technical barriers to using blended learning.
Even the one key drawback of synchronous online learning ⎯⎯ the fixed scheduling which may not be convenient for some participants ⎯⎯ can be sidestepped by recording the live synchronous session and making it available to everyone post-event.
As you develop your blended learning program, it would be useful to remember some of the important benefits blended learning can offer your organization. Here are six to keep in mind.
1. Free your participants from a specific location
Physical location and time zones are no longer a limit to your training. When your blended learning program is supported by a cloud-based, mobile-ready LMS, your participants can learn wherever there’s Internet access, at almost no additional cost to you.
2. Maintain strong engagement with blended learning
People have preferred ways of learning: some favor audio content; others prefer visual support, while a number learn best when using their hands. Your LMS’ delivery of online learning enables you to cater to these varied learning needs through a range of media, such as videos, podcasts, interactive scenarios, and text-based instruction.
3. Solicit feedback
Learning is a two-way street. To support the future success of your blended learning activities, you want feedback from your participants.
A well-designed LMS’ quiz and survey tools enable you to effortlessly test participants on your blended learning program and solicit feedback.
4. Gamify your blended learning program
The right LMS can boost engagement and motivation by adding game-like elements, such as goal-setting, progress-tracking, and rewards (e.g., custom badges and certifications) for achievement.
When custom certificates and badges are shareable on LinkedIn ⎯⎯ as they are on the uxpertise LMS ⎯⎯ you reward learners as they progress along their learning path.
5. Personalize online learning
The assessment tools and analytics of a modern LMS enable you to gain insight into the progress of your participants and their learning gaps.
As a result, you can personalize the training path of each participant with appropriate course materials. This personalization elevates the relevance of the course content and increases participant engagement.
6. Work with an intuitive LMS
When your LMS is easy-to-learn and simple-to-use, it eliminates barriers to learning and facilitates engagement. Less frustration for your participants means greater ease in learning.
If you’d like to learn more about the possibilities of blended learning for your training needs, connect with us. We’d be happy to help!