We’re all privy to the term blended learning. But what do we mean by it exactly? At its core, blended learning refers to a mix of in-person classroom teaching (offline) and e-learning (online). And, in today’s more digitally connected age it’s increasingly becoming a must-have to suit learner needs & styles.
As a training method that has been around since the 90s, it’s no surprise that there’s a great deal of data to support the efficacy of blending learning. A recent study by the Centre for Digital Education found that 73% of educators who use blended learning reported increased engagement. Similarly, a recent ECAR study found that the percentage of learners who prefer courses with online components has risen each year, currently standing at 79%.
In a post-Covid world where remote working is the norm, such figures look set to grow. Shifts in working attitudes mean that flexible patterns of working & learning will continue to rise.
With access to materials from anywhere and at any time, learners can virtually create their own curriculum, selecting which modules to take and when according to their work schedule. Such flexibility is also beneficial to the employer. Since the e-learning elements of blended learning are modular and scalable, it is easy to roll out and adopt across a large team making it exceptionally economical.
Learner engagement within a blended learning & or e-learning environment is driven by the concept of self-autonomy. The more freedom and personal input a learner has the more likely they are to be engaged in the subject they’re learning. This has numerous benefits including proficiency, competence but, not least of all, retention as engaged and stimulated employees are more likely to remain with a company.
People learn best when they can work at their own pace & in their own preferred mode. A hybrid e-learning solution provides the perfect answer to this need. Most employees will deal with time constraints, as well as heavy workloads. Self-paced e-learning also ensures members of staff are able to fit their work around existing commitments.
As mentioned, there are a variety of different learning styles. Broadly speaking, these can be placed under three headings: logical, social, and solitary. Logical learners generally prefer dealing with reasoning to understand concepts, social learners prefer acquiring information through interaction with people, while solitary learners perform best through self-study. With the ability to mix and match (or focus on) different methods of instruction, blended learning is the perfect way of serving a variety of learning styles.
There’s a reason why blended learning is fast becoming the new normal in the workplace. Firstly, we all know it’s been changing the game in the world of education for a few decades now, and, secondly, it directly feeds into the functionality and efficiency of businesses. Blended learning tends to be more immersive than standard learning. Rather than offering one style of learning learners can be stimulated through interactive self-directed e-learning plus teacher interaction either online or in person.
Because the e-learning element of blended learning is flexible, allowing you to learn on the move, it’s the perfect solution for company expansions and relocations. Rather than being tied to a specific location to complete corporate language training, a blended learning strategy is continuous and allows for employees to learn on the move.
With this flexibility, your team is far more likely to fit their learning programme around their work schedule, meaning your employees are more likely to stick with their course and implement what they've learned.
But the benefits don't end there: engaged employees are happy employees. And blended learning provides the rigor and interactivity that’s designed to satisfy your learners’ appetite while also stimulating them with an interactive experience. By setting up an online language course tailored to your staff’s needs, your team members are much more encouraged to stay on board, hence blended learning promotes employee retention too.
Learn how you can use Busuu to implement an engaging language e-learning course that supports your blended learning goals.
It allows for trackable outcomes
WIth e-learning platforms, it’s easy to keep track of outcomes. Since blended learning nearly always incorporates an online platform or learning centre, you can easily monitor information like the number of languages learned, the number of lessons completed, and the amount of time spent studying. This applies to your teams’ ongoing performance too: information on their course progress should automatically update as they study in real-time.
It’s efficient & saves time
One of the biggest demands in education is finding a learning style that works. This can be both time-consuming and costly. With blended learning, you can try different learning approaches within a matter of minutes, discovering which method works for you. And this dynamic is continuous: you can switch to different learning styles (e.g. interactive, webinar, tutorial-based) as you go along, saving you time changing courses due to structural monotony or personal disinterest.
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While you may be set on pursuing a blended language training strategy, implementing one should be planned out in alignment with your team & business. You’ll want to run surveys or conduct 1:1s to identify skill gaps. Try to ascertain how many people speak foreign languages in your business already, and of the people who already do, what languages they speak, and their present level of proficiency.
The second stage should be to identify learning preferences through further insights from your team. Either way, the feedback you receive should give you ample opportunity to plan and faithfully implement. To ensure your course remains flexible throughout, it’s also worth carrying out regular 1:1s to catch any potential issues as they arise.
When deciding on the e-learning element of your blended language learning programme, you’ll want a platform that allows the learner to control the pace & agenda of their course. A solution that gives enhanced control to learning & development staff is also important. You’ll want to be able to keep track of each learner's progress, as well as the effectiveness of the course overall allowing you to monitor the ROI of your language training programme.
Since Busuu is a personalised, user-defined language learning tool, creating your language e-learning strategy has never been easier. With a structure that lets you set access per employee, you can assign tasks and modules with full control and flexibility of use. Busuu allows for access to bite-sized lessons and personalised tasks, from any device, whether online or off. This means users are less likely to drop out as they can pause tasks and restart lessons as and when it suits them.
The bottom line? Companies must adapt to blended learning if they are to attract and retain the workforce of tomorrow. It’s not just a case of adapting to new technologies for the sake of it: businesses of all sectors must futureproof themselves to remain relevant in a world which, as Covid has dramatically shown, relies on online communication now more than ever.
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