What is blended learning ?

Nov 9, 2022

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Training and learning have adapted to changes in working methods, organizational shifts and new technologies. E-learning makes it possible to effectively train a large number of learners, on a vast choice of themes, with more flexible time management, while limiting costs compared to face-to-face training, which requires a trainer and resources.

However, digital learning alone does not make it possible to respond efficiently to all needs, in particular for knowledge or know-how which require practice in the field, nourished exchanges and strong interactivity. This is where blended learning comes in.

What is blended learning ? Definition.

Blended learning: definition

Blended learning (hybrid training or mixed training) is a type of training that combines face-to-face and digital tools (like those of e-learning). The training can alternate interaction phases led by the trainer and autonomous learning phases based on e-learning modules. But face-to-face phases, or at least direct interaction, can also benefit from many digital tools that will make them more effective.

The objective is of course to make the most of the two teaching methods so that the training is best suited to the needs of the learners and the educational objective.

Even beyond the pedagogical processes, the role of the trainer is absolutely essential in terms of commitment and attendance: if the training is only self-service, attention and motivation can quickly drop. The trainer brings all his expertise, but he is also the benevolent coach, who drives the learners and ensures that everyone stays motivated.

Blended learning is not a unique learning method since it adapts to the organizational context and to the objectives of the training. Blended learning allows great flexibility in training methods.

The advantages of blended learning

The articulation of learning methods offers trainees the benefit of practical work supervised by a trainer, while allowing them to carry out certain phases of learning at their own pace, at home or at their office, thanks to e-learning modules and digital activities.

Hybrid training courses make it possible to create tailor-made, flexible training courses, adapted to groups as well as to each individual. This flexibility offers a significant advantage to training organizations and trainers who can adapt and modulate their training services according to customer constraints, both material and in terms of costs. One of the objectives is to make the best possible use of the trainer's time, which is an expert and therefore a costly resource. Typically, overseeing knowledge assessment exercises and marking everyone's answers, when this task can easily be automated, is not the best use of a trainer's time. A trainer will be irreplaceable in individualized interaction, listening to everyone, providing expert answers.

The digitization of sections of the training also offers the possibility to support learners with greater precision. Adaptive learning, which consists of personalizing the training course according to the progress of each individual, will make it possible to extend the training by providing additional learning resources. This approach makes it possible to enrich notions or fill in any gaps, thanks to e-learning modules which will be automatically offered to the trainees in need, during or after the training, depending on the results they will have obtained in the assessments.

By transferring part of the training to digital learning, logistics and organization are less important (rooms, tools, meals, trainer, mobilization of learners, etc.). Costs are therefore reduced. The e-learning modules created on an LMS / LAS can be reused at will to train on a large scale if necessary, and the same educational resources will also intervene in support of the interactive learning phases.

In summary, we can list 5 advantages of blended learning:

  • An acquisition of enriched knowledge thanks to the variety of learning formats,

  • More fluid and more flexible processes (sign-in, attendance sheet, assessments, etc.) and a simplified organization,

  • The possibility of setting up personalized training courses as well as adaptive learning,

  • The grouping and pooling of educational resources in one place and on the same plateform,

  • In the end, more effective learning at a cost globally optimized.

Blended learning is therefore relevant in many situations and for many professions. It is suitable for all training on subjects that require practical phases and a highly interactive exchange, typically language teaching, but also all themes that include a strong soft-skills dimension.

The example of flipped classroom

Blended learning can take the form of “flipped classroom”. Unlike the traditional process, which begins with the teaching of new concepts by the teacher, and continues with a phase of revisions and application exercises, the flipped classroom offers a different approach combining online learning and practical traning.

In the flipped classroom model, learners carry out, upstream and independently, a first phase of acquisition, therefore at their own pace and in a digital way, in particular thanks to elearning modules. The face-to-face part - or if not face-to-face, at least supervised interaction - is dedicated to practical work and so-called active learning allowing the application of the theoretical knowledge learned individually, and allowing a lively exchange with the trainer.

Blended learning with the LMS and LAS ExperQuiz

The LMS and LAS ExperQuiz platform makes it possible to design and lead fully digital or blended learning training courses combining e-learning modules, online animations, face-to-face sessions and practical work.

ExperQuiz offers all the essential features to deploy blended learning courses. The integrated “chat” allows learners to exchange directly with the trainer, the blackboard and flipped classes create dynamic activities, and the fully digitalized attendance sheet takes care of the regulatory part.

Skills management is also affected by blended learning: on ExperQuiz, knowledge and skills can be assessed and validated through online assessments, but also by trainers or judges (during practical work, for example).