The simplest way I can think of defining blended learning is as a combination of offline and online learning. Learners nowadays need an interactive environment to learn in, which a learning platform provides, but they also need a sense of control over what they are learning, which can be provided by an instructor. Learning exclusively online might especially be tricky for people who are not self-disciplined.

Therefore, blended (or hybrid) learning, offers a platform for a both face-to-face and online learning experience. Best of both worlds, right?

Advantages of blended learning

Learners have immediate access to training resources

Since blended learning involves online and digital resources, there are never time limitations. The online resources are always there to help – 24/7. Moreover, the learners can also have 24/7 access to the public forum to communicate with peers or instructors.

A personalized training experience

Every learner has different learning needs and capabilities and the instructor can’t expect them to always be on the same page in terms of grasping the information. Blended learning makes possible for every individual to receive personalized training according to their learning needs.

The learner is more engaged using different content types

The blended approach of learning uses a variety of different material types which result in more engagement from the learners. The fact that blended learning courses include videos, audio, and presentations helps keep learners engaged and makes it easier for them to understand the material, which doesn’t always happen in the fast-paced environment of a physical classroom.

Learning is self-paced

Learners can work at their own pace while receiving face-to-face education at the same time. If you learn things faster than others, learn more without waiting for others. Conversely, if you are slow, then just take your time. For people who work while learning, it is often difficult for them to manage their time. Blended learning can help them find the appropriate time when to learn.

You can track participants’ skill and performance development

Tracking down the data in terms of participants’ eventual performance improvement can be easily done if you have incorporated the right tools into your blended learning course. Data tracking has never been more convenient and quick than with this learning strategy. It offers an evaluation option of online assessment which comes with a built-in grading rubric with an additional benefit of immediate feedback.

This modern learning strategy can also track the material the participant accessed and the time frame when they did so. In a corporate setup, this can easily be done digitally and the data can further be used by managers to take promotion and development decisions.

It is a cost-effective training strategy

Fewer classrooms, fewer instructors, no commuting time – less money spent.

Everyone wants to find ways to reduce training costs without sacrificing quality. On the field of employee training, blended learning offers a good strategy. This is due to the fact that this learning program can make the training process more effective without requiring as much time or money as traditional training.

No instructors need to be present in the classroom in some cases, and you don’t have to rent a training space. Moreover, the training courses can be updated and expanded in much less time, since you don’t have to worry about any printed materials.

Disadvantages of blended learning

It might be a risky investment

Learning technology tools are not totally cost-less and ineffective use of them can waste resources. Training facilitators and employees need to be trained on the technology first because if they don’t know how to use the learning technology provided, you probably won’t get the results you’re were aiming for.

Moreover, if you utilize learning technology tools that aren’t very reliable or do not offer the necessary features, then it may end up wasting money instead of improving Return On Investment. This is why it’s detrimental to find the right tools first, thus, determine which devices and software are going to meet your needs and which fit into your budget, and then implement your blended learning program in the workplace.

High maintenance can be costly

Incorporating advanced technology into your blended learning projects, such as infrastructure setup and devices, can be costly. This is especially true for bigger organizations that have various departments or a large workforce. But, on the bright side, if you compare this cost with the benefits that come with blended learning, it is not only a short-term expense which will eventually be beneficial in the long run and pay itself off.

There will always be technological dependence

Since online learning is involved, this learning strategy depends on technological feasibility. So, in case of potential technical issues or inadequate technical accessibility, this advanced learning strategy is, unfortunately, not accessible.

On the other hand, since blended learning is dependent on technology, there is a risk of instructors or learners having technological skill limitations. Students and instructors who are not quite tech-savvy might have a problem until they get a hang of it.

It might not be everyone’s cup of tea

Not every blended learning model is applicable to every single employee of every age and industry. Employees who do more practical jobs and are used to work with their hands may not like sitting in front of a screen for too long. So, it’s important to take such matters into consideration when preparing your learning methods and materials because, if it doesn’t fit the audience, blended learning can diminish the motivation of your participants to participate in the training program.

All in all, blended learning offers many benefits for a successful employee training program. Sure, it might have its perks, but if you’re not convinced to go full on digital yet and use a simple LMS that does everything for you, then it’s much better than traditional routes!

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