Models of Blended Learning: An Overview

blended learning

To suit the changing demands of learners these days, blended learning has come up as an alternative outcome. It blends the best elements of traditional face-to-face instruction and online learning. Online learning offers self-paced personalized learning with interactive media like games, videos, tutorials, quizzes, etc. that are all accessible from the learner’s home page in a learning management system (LMS), while physical learning provides the opportunity for immediate face-to-face interaction.

With the help of blended learning, employees can now train outside the classroom learning setup and make use of offline as well as online training materials. This encourages participation from all sorts of learners, including those who study best in a traditional classroom setting and those who thrive on computer-based training that is semi-autonomous in nature.

Over the past few years, blended learning has become increasingly popular, gaining appreciation from eLearning experts for the benefits it offers. It has been successful in making learning more interactive, relevant, and real-time.

What is a blended learning model?

When blended learning first emerged, it was primarily intended to supplement traditional instructional strategies of a physical classroom. However, the same techniques have also been used to facilitate a mix of face-to-face instruction and distance learning.

Models for blended learning are methods to promote hybrid learning. Corporates and organizations design these experiences to create opportunities for blending offline with online learning.

Various diverse models exist, but they all have a few key characteristics in common:

  • They use eLearning content instructions that increase learner engagement and grab their attention.
  • Memory techniques like modeling and chunking are applied to help employees learn new skills.
  • It checks and ensures that the understanding and assessment of the online training course are aligned with the learning objectives.
  • It creates opportunities for every employee to interact with every other employee in the learning process and collaborate on projects to increase the scope.
  • The use of scaffolding helps corporate learners to put newly learned knowledge into meaningful practical situations.

Types of blended learning

Flipped Classroom Model

In a “Flipped Classroom,” which is arguably the most well-known type of blended learning, the learning model is ‘flipped’ or inverted. This concept emphasizes online learning rather than having corporate learners attend a face-to-face training session followed by some online self-paced learning.

Learners can read the required material beforehand, and the class time can be used for active learning and implementing newly acquired skills. Case studies, group projects, or debates can be used to accomplish this.

It can make use of group projects, discussions, spending time with high-order thinking, and troubleshooting specific problems.

Flex Model

In this model, the material is mostly given online. Learning is generally self-guided as employees autonomously study and practice new concepts in a digital environment, even while instructors are present to offer on-site guidance as needed. This model can be employed as a strategy to meet the requirements of employees who are facing behavioral and/or socioeconomic issues. It allows for face-to-face, flexible, and need-based support in small groups.

Individual learners move through modules on their own, while organizations create learning opportunities for their employees and provide guidance as needed. It allows them to schedule as well as create their own learning path. Older employees might be better equipped for this amount of independence. The model’s physical components can be used for collaboration, breakout sessions, lab activities, and intervention possibilities.

Individual Rotation Model

With the Individual Rotation approach, employees can rotate through stations on their own timetables that are determined by either an online instructor or by a computer algorithm. Corporate learners merely cycle to the activities listed on their playlists, as opposed to other rotation models where they must visit every station. The instructions can be taken both online and face-to-face and the schedules are fixed but can be changed too.

Independent study, small groups, cooperation, lessons delivered by the teacher to the entire class, and one-on-one interventions are all examples of learning opportunities. Corporate learners can take part in an autonomous study on a lab rotation schedule for an entirely in-person experience. They can have immediate access to online training resources through libraries and computer labs.

The personalization of the schedules to meet the needs of the employees is a key characteristic of this model.

Self-Directed Model

Self-Directed blended learning allows online learners to direct their own personalized research, meet formal learning objectives, connect with mentors physically and virtually, and more. There are no required official online courses because the learning is self-directed, changing the relationship between “online learning” and physical training.

One difficulty for educators in self-directed blended learning is being able to evaluate the success of the learning experience without taking away from its authenticity.

On the other hand, the challenge for employees is to look for examples of products, procedures, and possibilities that might offer the kind of spark necessary to continue learning while also being self-aware enough to understand what is working and why and to make necessary adjustments.

Some individuals can succeed with very little support, while others require assistance along extremely well-defined paths that they can follow independently and critically.

Enriched Virtual Model

With online training as its main component, the enriched virtual blended learning approach is quite similar to the flex model. In this remote work era, this paradigm has grown in popularity. But contrary to the flex model, employees are required to attend a planned instructor-led classroom session, either in real-world or online classrooms. By allowing interaction between the learners and instructors via online platforms, this paradigm improves the remote learning experience. However, while the learning instructions begin from the remote setup, they are mandated in-person eventually.

A La Carte Model

A La Carte approach provides a small element of learner autonomy. But usually, it pertains to the choice of selecting specific modules. While employees can select extra topics from a menu of A La Carte possibilities, the scheduled sessions will be done as usual. These individualized classes are frequently taught by a remote instructor of record fully online.

The learner could complete this online course totally online in a classroom or outside of scheduled training sessions using the A La Carte methodology. Due to the fact that this model does not encompass the complete learning experience for employees, it differs from full-time virtual courses. Although some online training courses are offered online, others can be taken in person or in the workplace, giving employees the opportunity to connect with colleagues and online instructors.

Conclusion

Which blended learning model do you think you will choose for your business? It should all depend on the needs of your business. Make a selection based on what will suit best your organization and your employees. Consider the key characteristics, benefits, and drawbacks of each model, fit it into your system and prepare to give your employees a great training and learning experience that will add to their skills and bring effective output.

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