Blended learning, which mixes traditional face-to-face sessions with online learning, has become increasingly popular over the years. This style of learning provides a way to engage learners through group discussion, activity and online interaction.
Blended learning as a concept for adult education has been evolving for a long time and there are different definitions or understandings.
Its roots can be traced back to the first distance learning or correspondence courses going back to the 19th century. With the formation of the Open University in the UK in the 1960s, distance academic courses became a more common experience.
Even back in the 1970s, you could argue that the experience of studying an Open University course was somewhat blended; the A101 arts foundation course, for example, consisted of reading, evening lectures, records with music related to the course, and occasional day trips to view relevant architecture, as well as an optional Summer school.
There are many benefits in creating an appropriate mix of learning activities – what that mix is will depend on what is being learned, but it could include a mix of observation, analysis, practice and accessing learning content via reading, listening, watching and online.
Some benefits of blended learning
Here are six benefits of introducing a blended learning programme; there are of course many more!
1. Time saving
Trainers spend a lot of their time preparing all the materials needed for a workshop session. What if all those materials were uploaded on one platform and a trainer, instead of producing them, would only send a link to any type of research paper, main material, article or PDF document for everybody to access. Would be more convenient and time-saving? Practice shows, it actually is. Therefore such an approach is actively used by loads of trainers.
2. Money saving
With a blended approach, there is no longer the need for learners to travel to attend all of their learning. Learning can happen in the workplace through observations and coaching, and of course at any time it suits through online modules.
3. Learner enjoyment
By mixing up the learning and method of delivery, learners often find it much more enjoyable. Different learning styles can be easily accommodated through different types of learning activity.
4. Improved communication
Learning platforms can offer a vast variety of built-in communication systems; from messaging learners, through to online video calls and virtual conferences. Trainers can place assignments, due dates, address questions, and much more through online platforms, rather than just doing this in a workshop setting.
5. "Working Groups" work
Online collaboration allows learners flexibility, as there is no need to work synchronously anymore. Also, technology allows tracking who did more or less work, as the impact of each participant is seen under their profile. This creates an environment of equality for everybody and eases the evaluation process.
6. More sustainable
Blended learning is a much more sustainable way of delivering a learning programme.
If learning is also undertaken in the workplace or online, and learners do not need to travel to a venue for a workshop, or receive all their training materials as paper, just how much more sustainable is this way of learning?
Blended learning from Ditto Sustainability
Our platform Rio, delivers many hours of online learning; from quick animations and bite-sized modules; through to longer programmes; accredited for continuing professional development by CPD UK and recommended by IEMA.
We have previously supported blended learning through network and round-table events and will be increasing this offering during 2020 with further similar events, in addition to workshops delivering a range of sustainability-themed sessions to enhance our approach to blended learning and to support your sustainability-based CPD.
Please contact us to find out how our online learning can be used in your organisation now; and look out for our 2020 events calendar available soon.