Blended Learning - Why Is It Essential In The Modern Workplace?


When we talk about the modern workplace, we must know what it is all about. A modern workplace is a work environment that can be set up anywhere. It is secure. The infrastructure includes devices and tools that can leverage the quality, productivity, and effectiveness of work. Individuals and teams can work in remote locations, at their homes or wherever they want, and yet communicate as effectively as they do in a regular office.

This new normal has changed the expectations of both employers and employees for all aspects of work. Meanwhile, organizations and business strategies are undergoing transformations. In this scenario, employees still need to upskill or re-skill. Since the “working model” has changed, the traditional classroom training is no longer applicable to train employees in a modern workplace. Here, we need a blended learning approach. In this blog, we will discuss blended learning, what it does, and how it helps training employees in the modern workplace.


What is Blended Learning?

Blended learning is a combination of online and offline learning. It includes classroom learning along with a wide variety of digital learning approaches. The learning programs can be partly online with varying levels of controls by the learners on time, place, pace, and the learning content.


Blended learning has three essential elements:

1. Face-to-face active learning activities led by an educator

2. Digital learning objects, mostly bite-sized pieces of learning content

3. Independent and structured study time, guided by an educator


It is not just about combining the elements - it takes quite an effort and thoughtful approach to develop blended learning programs. Also, there is no predefined percentage of each of these elements, the proportion of the individual components can vary across topics and sessions.


Blended Learning Models

There are six main types of blended learning models, these are:

1. Face-to-Face Learning Model

2. Flipped Learning Model

3. Flex Model

4. Enriched Virtual Model

5. Rotation Model

6. A-La-Carte Model

Let’s look into each of these to understand how various models help in employee learning at the modern workplace.


1. Face-to-Face Learning Model

This model conducted offline or online, is appropriate for learners at different levels of expertise.

For example:

i) Learners with a higher level of expertise, can proceed at a faster pace of learning on their own with the help of the online engagement/ learning activities

ii) Learners with a lower level of skills, who need additional support to learn, can avail of one-on-one time with the instructor

  • Like the traditional classroom, homework and assignments are parts of these sessions

  • Typically, this requires more time and effort from the educator or instructor

  • Microsoft Teams is an example of the tool to run the face-to-face model

Who should attend?

This model is useful for employees:

i) Senior level employees or domain experts who already has a higher level of knowledge or skills and are able to deploy online and offline resources effectively

ii) Fresh recruits or junior-level employees with less experience or domain expertise who need continuous support, attention, and motivation.

 

To know more about this, read The Face-to-Face Model of Blended Learning Explained - ViewSonic Library.

 
2. Flipped Learning Model

This is a reverse model of a typical classroom learning approach. Instead of the learners attending a lecture in the class and completing assignments at home (homework), they have to learn new topics before the session is conducted. The classroom time is used to further discuss the learning content, collaborate, or start a project.

A Learning Management System (LMS) is used to deliver the learning content before the online class. These are prerequisites for attending the online sessions and the learners are expected to study and prepare for the session.

Who should attend?

This model will be useful for the employees at the mid-senior level, who would like to study at their own time and pace, and attend online classes when they need help.

To read more about the Flipped Learning Model, read this article.


3. Flex Model

In this model:

  • The learner can come to a classroom at any time that they want

  • The classroom is equipped with computers for every learner

  • Learners can access the learning content at their own pace

  • Instructors will be available to answer questions and to provide feedback to the learners

  • It is a flexible model, because the learners can switch between synchronous (group level) or asynchronous(individual level) learning

Who should attend?

Self-motivated employees, who knows exactly what's important for them and how to use the learning modalities. Ideally, the mid-senior or senior level employees can adopt this model.

 

To know more about flex model, read this: The Flex Model of Blended Learning Explained - ViewSonic Library.

 
4. Enriched Virtual Model

In this model:

  • Learners can set their pace of learning and learn the complete content (or most of it) on their own

  • Attend online sessions when required. For example, they can attend webinars run by the instructors at their convenience

  • Learner decides the proportion of live interaction and self-learning

  • This model is also referred to as disruptive learning because it is not measured by traditional seat-time in the classroom but is determined by the extent of learning by the learners

Who should attend?

Employees working remotely, mostly in managerial positions are occupied with critical work related to business or customers. They can decide the learning time, pace, and interaction modalities.

To read more about Enriched Virtual Model, click here.


5. Rotation Model

In this model, the learner's time is spent between two learning stations, in which the sessions are delivered:

i) in a fixed schedule

ii) in a schedule determined by the educator

There are two sub-models under the rotation model, those are:

i) Station Rotation Model: here, the learners move between the fixed schedule and the educator's schedule and one of these stations must use online learning.

In the station rotation model:

  • The instructor or educator organizes learners into groups based on their learning styles

  • These groups can remain fixed for every session or can be made dynamic based on the learning requirements

ii) Lab Rotation Model: Here, at least one station must use a computer lab.

In the lab rotation model:

  • The learners may not have full-time access to the computers

  • Here, the educator delivers a session and schedules a lab time for an online session

  • The online session in the lab is used either to reinforce learning or let the learners access the content at their own pace

  • This works well with small learner groups with specific learning objectives and focus

Who should attend?

Employees who need to work on projects, research, presentations, and interactive or collaborative activities can choose the Station Rotation model. This model works well when the learner needs to apply the skills and knowledge at the workplace parallely with learning.

Lab rotation model can be applicable for employees who work on computer-based projects and need to learn new software applications or tools.


6. A-La-Carte Model

The A-La-Carte model is a blended learning approach that combines the face-to-face model with an elective online course that the learner chooses based on specific learning needs.

This model expands the opportunity for the learner to access enough learning materials. Also, the learners are empowered to customize their learning path.

Who should attend?

Employees who frequently travel for jobs and are responsible for time-bound tasks can use this learning model.


Conclusion

We have discussed various models of blended learning. Now, we need to summarize the benefits of blended learning in the modern workplace. Here's the list of the benefits.

  • Time management: Employees can effectively manage time for both work assignments and learning

  • Improved interest level: When the employees are given multiple options to learn in their own time, place, and pace, their interest level improves, compared to a forced and fixed scheduled learning program

  • Better Return of Investment (ROI) on training: Training ROI can be calculated in percentage as an increase in profits related to employee learning/cost or training X 100. When employee learning is made effective through blended learning, this measure will be high, typically above 80%

  • Better collaboration among employees: Blended learning model helps employees collaborate to learn thus creating a positive learning environment

At S4Carlisle, we facilitate development of customized learning environments in your organization to help your employees adopt the most effective, suitable, and convenient learning method. Write to us at sales@s4carlisle.com for further details.