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Blog: To blend or not to blend learning?

Let’s get our head around what blended learning really is, and then we can answer the question…

Blended learning is also known as ‘hybrid’ or ‘mix modes’. These are forms of learning whereby a proportion of traditional face to face tuition is replaced by web-based online learning.

Every learning strategy has its advantages and disadvantages. The question that everyone in the learning and development industry must ask, is whether the benefits outweighs the risks? This is also true for blended learning. Will combining technology with face to face tuition benefit your learners?

Blended learning is great for a variety of students as it suits many learning styles, some other advantages are:

  • Provides personalised training experiences – This means the student can spend less time in class and more time online if convenient
  • Offers 24/7 access to training resources – As all of the resources are online, the student can access this whenever they desire
  • Self-pacing for slow or quick learners reduces stress and increases satisfaction and retention – The student doesn’t need to go over subjects that they already know, they can focus on subjects that they need extra time going over
  • Track student progress – Students and lectures can monitor their progress online

However, there have to be some disadvantages to this learning model, some of these are:

  • Learners must have basic technology Knowledge – Students must have a basic knowledge of how to use a computer/phone/tablet in order to be able to use the e-learning system
  • Students must have the willingness to learn – Falling behind can be easy when learning is up to you

Whilst you’re just getting your head around hybrid learning, there is a new education model called ‘flipping’. This is essentially an adaptation of blended learning. By flipping, it means teachers and professors use online media to deliver notes, lectures and related course materials. Students then review the material at home and that their own pace.

Classroom periods are then transformed into hands-on work periods, where the teacher who will have already delivered this on their lecture digital, is free to answer questions. Flipping reinforces student centre learning, allowing students to master content in an individual way.

Having a mixture of both offline and online training activities captures the student and provides them with the best of both learning models. This also means that the student can learn at their own pace and have the support they need if and when required.

As blended learning becomes more common, lecturers will likely understand and implement it better. Even now, blended education shows promise, making this an exciting time to be a student.

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