Blended learning is a method of learning that has a certain number of advantages for both teachers and students. What is it, exactly? What are its advantages? How do you implement it? Everything you need to know about this big trend in the training sector.
What is blended learning?
Unlike co-modal teaching, which combines face-to-face teaching with distance learning, blended learning is a teaching method that alternates between periods of face-to-face learning and remote classes. In practice, blended learning may take several forms:
- Theoretical study prior to face-to-face classes
In this case, students read the lessons prior to face-to-face sessions. Then, face-to-face classes focus on practical exercises to check that students have learned and understood the lesson. They also provide the opportunity for students to ask the teacher questions and discuss topics with other students.
- Face-to face teaching prior to distance learning
This is another form of blended learning: students take face-to-face classes then develop and maintain the knowledge they have acquired in virtual classrooms remotely.
During the second phase, students take short modules to go back over what they have learned and make sure they have understood them. To ensure students remain engaged, modules often include videos and quizzes.
- Content posted online throughout the course
The teacher or training officer gives face-to-face classes and uploads teaching materials after each class.
Further reading: How can you give an effective virtual class?
What are the advantages for the student and the teacher/company?
Blended learning has many advantages, for both the students and the teachers or training officers.
Lower costs for the training officer or organisation. For example, they do not need to occupy a classroom for a long period of time. Travel costs and additional costs like eating or accommodation expenses are also lower.
The flexibility of this hybrid method of teaching also has the advantage of being able to take more students, improve course quality and facilitate organisation.
Students are not overlooked. Blended learning gives them the opportunity to be actors of their own learning and progress. This method of learning also offers great flexibility. It enables students to learn at their own pace and also to go back over certain modules whenever they wish.
Another advantage for both students and teachers is that blended learning retains an important element of any training course: dialogue.
Further reading: Continuity of learning: what is at stake?
The key stages of any blended learning course
To ensure your blended learning course is effective, you must plan it carefully. These are the key stages to adopt:
1. Define your goals
What knowledge and skills do the course participants wish to learn?
2. Choose your training tool(s)
The choice of tools is a determining factor. Take time to study the tool’s functions, how easy it is to use and whether it has options for customisation.
3. Design your training programme in detail
This phase is crucial. The aim is to create the full programme of classes, modules, exercises (to be done individually or in groups) and assessments.
4. Create content
PowerPoint presentations, videos, quizzes, etc. To ensure your blended learning course is effective, you must vary the type of content you provide.
5. Share teaching materials
Students must be able to access content at all times. This constantly available content must be combined with regular supervision, on top of the support provided during face-to-face sessions.
6. Gain student feedback
Every training course can be improved. There is no better way to improve than by asking students to give their opinion at the end of the course, using a feedback form, for example.
What digital solution can you use to run a blended learning training programme?
Do you want to adopt blended learning? It is best to use tools that enable you to create virtual classrooms, like Glowbl solutions, for example. This type of tool allows you to reproduce the learning conditions of a traditional classroom. But it also offers much more. Like, for example, the possibility of sharing various types of document, creating quizzes, or working in sub-groups.