Blended learning is a concept that has been rapidly gaining popularity in recent times. The idea has attracted many supporters, both among instructors and learners. Whether you are a teacher in a school or train employees, partners, or customers, blended learning can bring many benefits.

This article will explain what blended learning is and why you should use it, along with tips on how you can get the most out of this learning method.

What is blended learning?

Blended learning (b-learning) is a new approach to education that incorporates the power of educational technology & online learning methods. It combines online educational materials with traditional teaching methods. In this concept, the learner has access to online learning materials and can interact with the teacher via the internet. The key thing is that the learner has control over their own pace, time, or place of learning. This provides a great deal of personalization and convenience and makes students more engaged in studying. This method is used by schools, educational portals, training companies, or organizations that want to provide training to their employees.

Difference between blended learning, hybrid learning, and distance education

Blended learning, although gaining popularity, is still sometimes confused with distance learning and hybrid learning. Although all of these learning systems use digital tools allowing learners to acquire knowledge, the differences between them are significant.

  • hybrid learning combines in-person learning and online learning. Simultaneously, part of the group may receive face-to-face instruction and others may participate in the class via the internet. Often, some classes are delivered in person and some are delivered using online learning.

  • distance education: in this case, student learning is done fully online. Thus, the learning experience is primarily provided by e-learning and various means of communication. In this case, face-to-face meetings are not a necessity, very often even exams are held online.

  • blended learning model: blended courses involve a combination of face-to-face meetings and e-learning techniques, including the use of different activation methods and the most effective ways to ensure the best learning experiences. Unlike hybrid learning, blended learning is a cohesive system designed to ensure that students at different levels of education thrive and acquire knowledge at their own pace.

Best software for your blended learning activities

As blended learning combines face to face instruction and interaction online, to prepare your blended learning programs you’ll need three things:

  • Blended learning models & blended learning methods
  • Software that will boost your e-learning activities
  • Instructors that know how to get the most out of blended learning environments.

When it comes to the software – here are the features, that you shall look for:

  • Possibility to run different kinds of online classes: whether you have to run a practical exercise or a lecture, you need software that supports online teaching. You should choose a tool that works for different types of classes and different groups

  • Integration with learning management system: managing blended learning requires not only competence but also tools. Choose software that can be integrated with learning management systems, such as Moodle. This will make it easier for you, your teachers and your students, and provide you with access to advanced features. You will also take care of asynchronous learning networks

  • Interactive features: the event room should contain solutions supporting online collaboration. These include an interactive whiteboard, polls and tests, or a Q&A mode.

  • Intuitiveness: blended learning model should be intuitive both for teachers and students. Look for the platform that will make the learning experience really attractive.

  • Advanced features of the virtual classroom: providing a comfortable online learning environment requires additional features. These include Edu mode, which allows for better focus and easier organization of classes.

ClickMeeting has all of these features! Check out more about our virtual classroom. If you are looking for a customized solution, please contact our advisors!

What does the b-learning method look like?

Typically, blended learning is based on the fact that part of the learning takes place online to manage the pace of learning. However, the other part is conducted live by the teacher or instructor – usually in the form of webinars. In this method, online training available as pre-made materials and instructor-led classes complement each other and create an integrated learning environment.

Blended learning – benefits

The blended learning model is undoubtedly a great way to enhance the learner experience, but its benefits go far beyond that. Below you’ll find the top benefits for learners, trainers, teachers, and organizations that use this method.

Flexible learning process

First and foremost, blended learning offers excellent convenience and flexibility to learners. Since it provides self-paced learning, and on top of that, the possibility to gain knowledge from anywhere in the world. This reduces the risk of missing lessons due to absences. There are plenty of blended learning methods, so it’s easy to adjust them and engage students.

A better understanding of the transferred knowledge

Academic research has shown that blended learning gives learners a more comprehensive understanding of the course content. They can always go back to the source describing the topic that needs consolidation with pre-made course materials. In case of questions or doubts related to any matter, the learner can ask the trainer or teacher for clarification.

Tutor support and networking

In the blended learning method, the student is never left alone. As it allows learners to interact with instructors, they can expect full support. Moreover, the social aspect is also essential in the b-learning concept. During online lessons, learners have contact with other people; they can communicate, support each other or work together on a particular issue.

Cost reduction

Let’s now turn to the benefits from organizations that decide to use this method of transferring knowledge. In this case, a very significant factor is the reduction of costs. During standard training, one has to consider expenses concerning travel, accommodation, renting a training room, or printed educational materials. We should also mention the significant time saving. By choosing the b-learning method, you can be sure that none of the organization’s members loses time on traveling to the place of the training.

Using the potential of technology

If you decide to choose an advanced webinar platform, such as ClickMeeting, you can fully exploit the potential of innovative technologies during training. Quizzes, group work, virtual whiteboard, or the ability to show participants an interactive multimedia presentation are just a few of the many possibilities available in our tool. Conducting classes using interactive elements positively affects the involvement of students and is a great way to consolidate the transferred knowledge.

More measurable performance

When learners have to complete a test or quiz in an online format, as an organizer, you can see how many people participated and how they performed on the given tasks. With traditional training, this is often impossible to verify, making it difficult for the organization to monitor the results and effects of the provided training. What’s more, by using the b-learning method, you can have insight into the results of individuals and create interactive rankings, maintain statistics, monitor the results of individual groups, and much more.

Saving time

Let’s stay with knowledge testing. When students take online quizzes and tests on their own, the software automatically grades them and reports back to you. This is convenient for both the student, who is instantly informed of the results, and for you because it saves a lot of time. This usually results in higher grades, better retention, and happier students.

Best blended learning strategies

It’s worth thinking carefully about your plan of action before you implement a blended learning model in your school, company, or institution. Below are some of the best blended learning practices that will help you get the most out of your blended learning.

Set goals and ways to measure them

Before you develop a blended learning course, you should define your intended learning objectives. To do this, you can brainstorm with your students and then identify the most important goals. Remember that all students should be able to assess their learning at the end of the course. Develop a plan that will allow you to connect your classes to the learning materials provided cohesively.

Create engaging content

Online content needs to be more than a recorded lecture or presentation. It should be engaging, interactive, and complement learning with the teacher. Using multimedia such as video, images, narration, games, and animations makes students more involved in their education and remember it better. While doing so, keep consistency in mind, which is crucial when combining different types of learning. Set some guidelines to encourage interaction. You can do this by, among other things, requiring students to answer a certain number of discussion questions or setting a minimum length for their speech.

Link learning materials and activities appropriately

In online courses or lessons, students need opportunities to come together and review the skills they are learning and consolidate the knowledge they are acquiring. This is important both for their self-assessment and for evaluating how well they are mastering the learning outcomes. Therefore, it is helpful to combine different learning opportunities to provide them with access to sources as well as opportunities to discuss selected topics. For example, students can watch a video online before class together and then discuss it during the course.

Keep communication in mind

Regardless of the format of your classes, good communication is a significant part of education, so you should always make sure to give students a chance to express themselves. In addition, get their feedback on the course itself, asking which aspects they like and which they would prefer to change. Be prepared to make improvements if some aspects of the course or teaching are not appealing to them.

Encourage collaboration with other learners

One of the best ways to integrate trainees or learners is through group activities during the training section of the program. However, this is not the end of the possibilities to integrate people participating in blended learning classes together. You can also do this by creating online group chats or even group work during online classes. A good relationship with other learners will ensure a much better experience of the entire course or class and make learning more enjoyable.

Include diverse activities

Try to create a model that is rewarding for everyone. Take into account that every student is different, and while one prefers to learn through reading, another achieves better results through action. There is no one-size-fits-all method for effective learning, but varied activities such as group discussions, online quizzes, games, and even role-playing increase user engagement across all types of studying.

Integrate with learning management system

To deliver online instruction

Carefully select the tools you use

Creating a successful blended learning program is not at all that simple. Whether it’s technical issues, deciding which content to deliver, or building engagement among learners, these are the challenges you’ll face. This requires using the right tools to help you achieve as much as possible. One of the best tools available on the market is the ClickMeeting platform, which has a number of useful features from the perspective of both teachers and students. Some of the most important ones include:

  • Edu Mode – allows the teacher to see all students while students only see the presenters. This option allows you to better monitor student engagement while ensuring student privacy and avoiding mutual distractions.

  • Tests and surveys – allow you to test knowledge, monitor engagement, and gather valuable feedback from a lesson or course participants.

  • Presentations and screen sharing – enrich standard courses with an interactive and engaging element tailored to the presenter’s needs, preferences, and resources.

  • Interactive whiteboard – enables creative collaboration with students who can work collectively on the projects.

  • Q&A mode and private chat – allow for better student communication and integration.

  • Breakout rooms – allow students to work in smaller groups within the same course or lesson.

  • Automated Webinars – provide the ability to record a lesson and share it with your students as an online resource.

Want to start your blended learning adventure? Sign up for a free 30-day trial account with ClickMeeting and see if it’s right for you.

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Posted by Katarzyna Rojewska

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