Micro-learning, eLearning, or blended learning – You’ve heard all of these buzzwords before, but do you know the difference between them? And most importantly, do you know which one is the most effective?
Blended learning is a fancy way of saying that an educational program combines online digital media with traditional classroom teaching methods. Therefore, blended learning is a broader, more comprehensive approach that includes eLearning and might also incorporate elements of micro-learning.
Since blended learning draws on the strengths of each kind of learning, it is also much more powerful than one kind alone. A 2015 survey revealed that 72% of Europe’s leading companies were planning to make more frequent use of blended learning in the next two years, making it the most preferred learning method in European workplaces. But why is it the most powerful training method?
To answer that question, let’s first imagine that you are an individual employee and you have identified a personal need for training. If no internal training has been planned for the near future, you will seek out a training program that fits your exact needs. As virtual training is now trendy, you are most likely to take some webinars, eLearnings, or virtual live classes (VLCs).
Studies have shown that—no matter if you choose webinars, eLearning, or VLCs—the results will be the same: In a matter of weeks, half of that newly gained knowledge will be lost. “With little practical follow-up or meaningful assessments, some 90% of new skills are lost within a year,” according to a 2012 study by Eduardo Salas, a professor of organizational psychology at the University of Central Florida. Inevitably, you—as most participants who have done such trainings—will find out that your training was a gigantic waste of time resulting in no real tangible benefits for you or your company in the long run.
Don’t despair. Powerful blended learning approaches, if properly designed, can avoid the common pitfalls that result in knowledge being lost. Here’s what is unique about blended learning which makes it more effective than conventional learning methods.
- A blended learning approach ensures that the learner remains engaged and in control of their own individual learning experience.
- As this is not just learning by listening, blended learning follows an interactive approach by mixing traditional classroom training with online sessions. Many more senses and skills are engaged in the process.
- Face-to-face interactions follow online self-studies, or vice versa, thus optimizing and reinforcing the unique benefits of each.
- Knowledge gained in the real and digital worlds allow you to develop your critical thinking and problem-solving skills in the specialized subject area.
- Incorporating multiple learning channels and multimedia allow you to access large amounts of information in a variety of ways, such as videos, podcasts, and more—and you can dive deeper into a topic or review a difficult one on your own time whenever you wish.
- Knowledge retention is significantly improved with a variety of interactive elements in the learning process, built in assessment and feedback, and real world implementation.
- The blended learning approach delivers a much richer training experience and helps you to immediately begin to use what you have learned in the sessions while receiving valuable feedback from an expert instructor so that you can focus on improvement in your weaker areas.
Thus, individuals are given everything they need to satisfy their own learning needs successfully. Often learners feel much more motivated and inspired when they take part in such a learning program.
A very powerful model of a blended learning program, like the one used at PDAgroup, consists of a set of various elements including face-to-face training, virtual classroom training, webinars, links, videos, simulations, assessment, and one-on-one coaching.
Of course, blended learning is not perfect: IT resources and tools need to be reliable, easy to use, and up to date. You’ll need a certain level of IT knowledge, self-discipline and motivation as well. You will also have to dedicate some time and effort. But once these hurdles have been overcome, there is nothing left to prevent you from having an engaging, enjoyable, and highly-effective learning experience!
Would you like to learn more about one of our powerful blended learning programs for your sales team?