Blended learning: definition, operation and interest

Blended learning: definition, operation and interest

With the rise of the web and new technologies, all sectors of activity have undertaken digital transformations, including in the field of training. Online training is now favored by more and more learners, trainers and companies. However, face-to-face training is not left out and still has significant advantages.

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This is why the blended learning has developed to meet the new needs of all: enriching training in line with the digital age.

What is blended learning?

Blended learning, or hybrid learning, refers to mixed training that combines face-to-face training sessions with e-learning training. This type of innovative training aims to vary the learning methods. They are designed to adapt to educational objectives, organizational contexts and learner profiles.

Blended learning also focuses on put learners at the heart of the training process. Learners then become the masters of their journey. Thanks to blended training, they benefit as much from the interactions with their trainers as from their expertise. The concept of blended learning was thus designed to solve both the existing problems in face-to-face training and in online training.

On the one hand, face-to-face training requires indoor sessions that can last several days. This format is not very dynamic and can make learners passive. The organization of face-to-face training is also complex for companies. Indeed, it is often difficult for employers to combine their employees’ working hours with training hours. Transforming a meeting room into a training room can also be complicated. In addition, face-to-face training generally requires rapid assimilation of the courses and learners rarely have a follow-up at the end of the training.

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On the other hand, online training sessions require great discipline from the learners. For many people who have a kinesthetic memory, it is indeed difficult to assimilate these formations. To memorize them, they need to refer to the gestures of the trainer and human contacts. In addition, e-learning is a training method not suited to training modules with a degree of complexity or high technicality.

It is from all these observations that blended learning was born. This combination of face-to-face training and online learning is an effective way to guarantee successful and effective professional training. Blended learning is a device that can concern many sectors of activity. However, some areas, such as marketing, management or languages, are predisposed to offer more mixed training.

How does blended learning work?

Blended learning will mix different formats, media and teaching tools, so that learners benefit from specific time for each learning.

Some modules will be covered in e-learning. The courses can then take the form of videos, online games and exercises or teleconferences. This mode of training allows learners to study according to their availability and without time constraints. Indeed, the training resources are accessible 7 days a week and 24 hours a day. Learners have the possibility to download and save the training content. They can also log on at any time to review certain concepts that they need to deepen.

At the same time, face-to-face training sessions take place in the classroom, in a more traditional way. They are planned according to the timetable defined by the trainers. Face-to-face training sessions can be more easily devoted to putting into practice and verifying the assimilation of knowledge. They also allow interactions between trainers and learners. Each learner then has a dedicated time to ask questions to the trainers, to obtain instant answers. Face-to-face training also promotes discussion with other learners and the sharing of experience.

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Blended learning requires the use of computer tools to ensure the smooth running of courses: tools for collaborative work, planning, synchronous communication, etc. Like some MOOCs, this type of learning can lead to obtaining a certification or a diploma at the end of the training.

Blended learning comes in 4 different models.

  • the rotating pattern which is based on the exchange of learning stations between learners, some of whom are face-to-face while others are online.
  • the flexible model which is mainly focused on e-learning, access to face-to-face training then concerns only small groups of learners.
  • the a la carte model which leaves learners the freedom to build their training course according to their needs and their schedule by combining face-to-face and e-learning modules themselves.
  • the enriched virtual model which gives a majority place to online teaching and which includes one-off classroom courses.

Blended learning is an educational approach often used by companies that offer mixed training to train their employees, increase their performance or even welcome new employees.

What is the interest of blended learning?

For trainers and learners alike, blended learning has many advantages. Indeed, it combines all the advantages offered respectively by online training and face-to-face training to provide everyone with a complete and adapted experience.

The main charm of blended learning lies in its flexibility. Learners are free to choose the times, place and work materials they want to take the online courses. In addition, they have the opportunity to study at their own pace. This flexibility offered by mixed training has a decisive impact on the quality of training.

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Blended learning also offers a saving valuable time for trainers and learners and makes organization easier for businesses. Indeed, it helps to reduce trips to the training center. For learners, this formula is more practical to combine their personal and professional schedules with training times.

Since face-to-face training sessions are more expensive than online training sessions, blended learning allows trainers and learners to make substantial savings. Travel, catering, room rental, educational costs: training costs are considerably reduced.

Blended training allows learners to personalize their course. Different modules and formats are available to suit everyone’s needs. Thanks to the sharing of documents and feedback, learners can focus their learning on different themes according to their needs and profile.

Visual, auditory or kinesthetic memory, all learning methods are taken into account. Blended learning is a solution that helps respond to all types of learning with appropriate media to facilitate understanding and retention of information. Videos, audio content, digital books, podcasts, games, short learning modules, exchanges with trainers: all educational materials have the advantage of being usable and reusable indefinitely.

For companies, blended learning is therefore a key factor in their development and an excellent way to boost the careers of their employees.

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