Designing effective and sustainable training & development programs not only involves choosing the right content, but also the right format. The problem: both in-person events and digital-only online events bring their own specific problems. Employees cannot always participate in scheduled in-person events. This results in differing levels of knowledge or gaps in knowledge that cannot be compensated for on an individual basis through in-person events.
Digital-only events also constitute challenges relating to time management, the ability of the learners to self-organize and the lack of social interaction caused by the absence of personal contact (between employees, but also between trainers and employees).
Blended Learning or Integrated Learning refers to the didactically purposeful combination of “classic” in-person events with modern forms of e-learning. Blended Learning concepts combine the effectiveness and flexibility of digital learning with the benefits and social aspects of face-to-face communication.
This approach to learning combines different learning methods, media as well as learning theory tailored to the topic, the target group and the situation. The efficient use of the most suitable medium in each step of the learning process optimizes the advantages of the different media and enhances their benefits.
Where learning content is delivered online (video conferences, webcasts, podcasts, etc.), the employees can access it in a flexible manner that suits their needs – when they want and as often as they want. The focus of the in-person events is on interaction and dialog between the employees.
In Blended Learning scenarios, three forms of activity can be discerned or combined:
Self-learning sequences: with the aid of an online platform, the participants work through specific learning modules – in the process, they determine when, how often, at what speed and where they carry out the learning activities.
Live e-learning sequences: synchronous forms of digital learning, such as workshops or webcasts or collaboration in a virtual classroom on a scheduled date. This enables the course participants to ask the coaches questions in real time or communicate directly with other learners.
Instructional sequences (= “classic” in-person teaching): lectures, seminars, activities and discussions take place in the classroom, laboratory or seminar room and facilitate face-to-face interaction.
Combination: online elements and in-person training are combined into an integrated learning environment.
As a rule, Blending Learning can be used for all topics and all types of knowledge instruction. Its use is of particular interest for training & development programs, because career professionals have a much tighter work schedule and their working day is more dominated by time slots. This makes self-directed e-learning phases the ideal option and the perfect supplement to in-person training. Blended learning makes particular sense in the context of occupational training & development as it enables the long-term delivery of interpersonal content.
The key to the success of Blended Learning is the integrated training concept – and this is where the P1 Academy comes into play. To ensure the greatest degree of effectiveness, it is absolutely essential to optimally coordinate in-person and e-learning phases. Our P1 Academy supplements your virtual or analog training with short, highly interesting and multifaceted learning content. Optimally interlinking the P1 Academy with synchronized training creates the best possible learning results and transfer of learning to your working lives. Whether video, quiz, text or interactive elements, the participants are actively engaged and can complete their tasks whenever their schedules allow. The optimal combination of formal and informal learning enables significantly more sustainable learning success than conventional methods.
By combining e-learning using electronic end-devices and classic in-person events, courses and learning formats can be tailored precisely and individually to the requirements and needs of both companies and learners. The gaps between electronic and offline learning can be closed in a targeted manner through “blended classrooms.”
Learning cannot be forced. In addition to the quality of the content, the motivation of the participants is the decisive factor for the enduring success of training & development programs. Through more active involvement and greater learner autonomy, Blended Learning scenarios have been shown to lead to greater learner engagement and, hence, to better results and sustained learning success.
At the company level, the use of Blended Learning has a number of positive effects. The use of more modern, progressive teaching methods in occupational training & development and digital tools reflects positively on the company as a whole because it presents the company as an innovative employer on the cutting edge of technology. In addition, the right concept can result in both cost savings and significantly more effective utilization of resources.
Blended Learning does not involve a standardized methodology or a fixed concept that is always to be applied in the same way. Rather, the many possible combinations of digital sequences and in-person phases enable an almost infinite variety of potential concepts, depending on the respective topic and goal.
A range of models can be considered for your project, depending on the starting situation, the topic, the objectives and the conditions. Sometimes it makes sense to focus on an online phase in the course, sometimes an in-person phase is preferable – when developing the Blended Learning concept that best suits your needs, the experts at P1 Academy will channel their expertise and experience to provide you with the right advice and support.
We would like to briefly introduce you to a number of Blended Learning formats that have become established in practice. There are generally three different concept approaches:
This Blended Learning model alternates between online and in-person phases, which are given equal weighting in the course.
In this Blended Learning format, the focus of learning is on the in-person phase.
In this Blended Learning model, the focus is on learning during the online phase, which precedes and follows the in-person training sessions.
In addition, there are four other models that have proven themselves to be suitable for use in companies and can be used as the basis for a stand-alone Blended Learning concept:
This approach is the closest to traditional training. The focus here is on in-person events. Online elements are only used specifically to support learners who have difficulties or want to go deeper into the material than planned in the in-person sessions.
As a virtual model, this method forms the antithesis to classic in-person training and relies exclusively on pure e-learning and digitally delivered learning content. It combines various forms of e-learning, alternating between synchronous training (webinars, e-learning courses, etc.) and asynchronous training (self-learning sequences). In this model, there are basically no in-person sessions, but they can of course be added as required.
The rationale behind this method is to divide learners into small groups, who then take it in turns to go through different learning sequences in different phases. This approach enables participants with different learning styles to get the maximum possible input from the training program.
The motto of this model is “learn online, apply offline.” This concept reverses the traditional separation of instruction into classroom work and homework assignments. New training content is taught to participants digitally, and learning takes place online and in a self-directed manner. The learned content is then applied during the in-person sessions in the form of discussions or project work. The coaches therefore provide participants with targeted support in putting the training content into practice and are available to answer questions.
In the era of digitalization, training & development means more than just offering or taking online courses. Due to their great variability, Blended Learning concepts offer numerous advantages and opportunities to develop individual and innovative formats for training & development programs. The final evaluation and recommendation as to whether your intended goals can best be achieved with in-person training, e-learning or a combination of both is made by the coaches of our P1 Academy following extensive preliminary discussions. Whichever digital technology and/or offline method you use or prefer, successful training is always focused on the learners and their personal preferences. That’s why it is so important for us to first learn as much as possible about your company, your team and your training goals before we start developing the most suitable training model.
The multitude of different methods is both a curse and a blessing: Which blended learning strategy is right for your company? Which form of hybrid learning is most suitable for your goals? Does a virtual classroom make sense or would alternative e-learning modules be more appropriate? Our e-learning experts at P1 Academy will support and advise you on these and any other questions you may have. Together, we will develop the optimal Learning Journey for your team and decide which offline or e-learning methods are best suited, as well as which e-learning systems and digital media to deploy. The project and the goals determine the learning method. If you would like to learn more, please contact us for a non-binding consultation. We will be happy to show you the potential that Blended Learning can offer your company.