Blended Learning is Useful for Designing Corporate E-learning Courses

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Technological innovations have brought in high quality improvements in all fields of human interests, and the arena of education is not an exception. Varied types of technological tools facilitate the learning process of the present generation. Though e-learning methods have become all the rage for quite some time now, with the introduction of the blended learning approach, they have become more lucid and coherent. Blended learning solutions are appropriate tools for designing operative corporate e-learning courses. In blended learning, the effectiveness of classroom learning and the innovative digital learning methods are blended, and thus the course becomes pragmatically good for corporate training and self-development programs.

Blended Learning – Key Attributes

The main purpose of all training programs is to make the participants fully aware of the subject that is discussed, irrespective of the schemes employed for the same. The participants must not only comprehend the contents in entirety, but also become competent to apply them in practical terms. Blended learning solutions make the process of learning uncomplicated and straightforward. Classroom learning will pass on the essential knowledge regarding the various connected theories and concepts, and also will give the participants detailed hands-on training, whenever the same is required. The digital presentation modes, on the other hand, will give them more extensive study on both theories and practical, so that they become experts in implementing the same without much ado. This sensible combination is actually the essence of blended learning and is the reason for its popularity.

Yet another significant plus point of blended learning is that the related training strategies can be twined together without losing the real spirit of the learning course concerned. The overall structure and the synchronization of the elearning courses can be easily carried out by applying the appropriate blended learning solutions. This will be handy in dealing training classes in which there are a lot of participants. You can reduce the classroom teaching hours to the bare minimum; just to convey the key relevant points and then can switchover to videoconferencing. This will only enhance the quality and efficacy of the training course concerned.

Learning Management System or LMS

The sharing of the elearning course materials can be performed through the innovative technological technique of ‘Learning Management System (LMS)’. By this way, the essence of the subject can be communicated to the participants effectively and in a cohesive manner. LMS can be also utilized for conducting the required and relevant course tests, related surveys, or for issuing the course certificates.

In fact, LMS is a pivotal tool by which you can manage the entire training process successfully. You can make use of functional ‘classroom apps’, this will enable you to arrange ‘active’ training programs by picking relevant location, time, and the related learning course materials. If you can incorporate the most advanced level apps such as the ‘unified calendar’ in the system, you will be able to make sure that all course participants are attending the training program, and thus can impart the course contents to the entire group in a worthwhile fashion.

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Designing Blended Learning through LMS

LMS Learning Management System

LMS is a software application through which the diverse phases of E-learning processes such as delivering, recording, administering, tracking, and monitoring can be controlled effectively. During the initial time, Learning Management System was just intended to handle the basic training delivery and the tracking arrangements which many of the foremost organizations were looking for. That being said, it must be also pointed out that the elearning service platforms were also not fully developed as they are now during that particular period. The concept of LMS has changed over time and now, the same is utilized for a much broader section of e-learning activities. The present-day LMS is quite capable of delivering specialized training and monitoring the complete training programs such as doling out the elearning courses, managing the blended learning programs, classroom training, and the constructive reporting. LMS is also useful in gauging the practical progress of the E-learning participants, which in turn enables the course directors to provide them the proportionate future courses.

Design Your Blended Learning Approach Pragmatically

Blended Learning programs are adaptable, effective, inventive, and cost-effective, which means that practically the ROI (Return on Investment) will be great! To ensure the winning nature of your blended learning methodology, it is imperative that you must design it in an ingenious way. You should take into account the entailed aspects such as your related requirements, the mental capabilities of the group to whom the programs are planned, and also the resources that are on hand. In short, you should approach the task inventively and with a creative, as well as sensible vision. Likewise, you must make use of the available resources wisely; you should consult all the relevant departments which are involved in the process, so that overall consistency can be brought into the process of the blended learning course creation. You must also have practical awareness regarding the time needed to complete the course successfully and should break up the curriculum (ILT, Workshops, elearning, Virtual Training, etc.) effectively.

Careful Blending is Essential

Please note that the right type of ‘blend’ is crucial, and only through this way you can make sure of the success of the created blended learning methodology. Ensure to fix the elements of your blended learning courses in a prudent manner. You can include viable and effective modules such as ‘elearning’, ‘gamification’, ‘ILT’ (Information and Learning Technology) for classroom training, ‘virtual classroom’, and ‘mobile learning (Mlearning)’.

For elearning creation, you must use a useful ‘Learning Management System (LMS)’, through which you can easily deliver any form of contents such as ‘Tin Can’, ‘Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) objects’, ‘PPT’, ‘PDF’, ‘Word’, etc. Gamification is an excellent and feasible way to make the learners of the blended learning courses more engaged and allowing them to flow with the subject. Hence, due care should be given to this part of the program. ILT is practically effective and the participants will get the option to pick the practical classroom training programs in line with their work schedules. This is a good way to avoid extra expenses such as the charges for transporting, venue, trainers, etc. In the same way, ‘virtual classroom’ and ‘mLearning’ are appropriate in our time. Virtual Classrooms are practical necessities in our time, because the participants can shun travelling and can save time. Mlearning (mobile learning) has become imperative in the contemporary period, due to the influx and the high influence of mobile gadgets like smartphones and tabs. Hence you must incorporate them also in your blended learning programs.

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Is it Necessary to Implement Blended Learning?

Blended Learning
Corporate training programs have been implemented by most companies as a matter of investment. But, with technology advancing at such a rapid rate, it is not enough if you just leave all the training sessions in to just classroom training. It may not fulfil all the goals completely. Today, we see BYOD, next generation cloud computing, and all other pervasive technology. In order to enhance appeal, reach, and impact all in one, it is important to revamp the training program and move to a new strategy called Blended Learning.

Understanding the overall essence of the Blended Learning methodology is most important. A combination of several elements is contained in it. It includes teaching methods that are efficient and effective, powerful and rich content, and dissemination channels that are enabled using a Learning Management System that is efficient enough. You can sum it up by saying that blended learning solutions are much more than a simple classroom teaching methodology. You have all round techniques involved in it, like eLearning modules, face to face sessions by instructors that lead to games, and also learning programs employing the social media.

There are a number of things you need to keep in mind before implementing blended learning in to your organizations learning programs. Here are the most important questions you need to consider before making the big move:

  • Is your current learning program benefiting a geographically diverse workforce? Have you left enough room and space for flexibility? Have you implemented the concept of anywhere anytime learning?
  • Are your organization’s learning objectives effectively fulfilled using the current strategy and methodology?
  • Is optimal learning working out with your employees? Are they having a continuous learning process?
  • Have you made sure to set training touch points to appeal to the interests and requirements of the Generation C workforce? Are these methods interactive and modern? Do they align with the social media?

In case you find that at least one of these questions answers ‘no’, then you need to implement blended learning methodology in your learning program. This enables you to help your employees to excel in their roles and provide them the fuel to focus in their work and offer continuous learning programs to help them grow.

The concept of Blended Learning

The LMS enabled Blended Learning includes the core concepts of Mobile Learning, Online Learning, Social Media or Informal Learning, Games, and Classroom Training. If the Learning and Development function is able to regularly align the outcomes with the larger goals of the organization, then you can say that the learning is effective. Blended Learning is what is needed to improve the performance for the organization. You could create a vibrant learning environment with this. Using technology as the backbone and other channels to be able to disseminate the content, the employees will be able to experience flexibility and quality in all the learning processes.

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Blended Learning Solutions – A more effective form of learning

Blended Learning The training process is one that involves a number of different processes. A continuous learning process needs to be provided to the learners along with some reinforcement techniques to make sure it works out well. These learning solutions need to be designed using a well planned strategy if you want to get results that last really long. ELearning and ILTs are two very important learning techniques which have their own advantages and limitations as well. The biggest part here is to decide which one is better among the two.

Since a very long time practitioners have been debating on the topic to come out with a feasible solution. Different people have different views and claims for each type of learning process. The training requirements in today’s world have become extremely complex with the increasing complexity of business. As such, sticking to a single type of learning format will no longer work out. For maximum eLearning benefits, both the styles need to be combined in the correct manner to get a blended approach of learning. This is where the concept of blended learning comes up from. Different delivery methods are mixed together to create a learning experience which is more comprehensive. This is called blended learning. It is typically used for a mixture of ILTs and eLearning. In short, it is known as the mixture of the face to face instruction method with computer mediated instruction techniques.

Before deciding to implement blended learning, it is necessary to understand how the method works, and what its advantages are. When you use blended learning, it helps you mix all the different kinds of learning strategies, methods, and even the medium of delivery. This helps you ensure that all your objectives of learning are successfully met. A typical example can be that in which product training needs to be given to your employees. You can use a classroom session for this, or a series of different sessions including some self paced modules and hands on demo. You can try doing it with some simulation modules and then an online assessment. You have a variety of options in front of you. Different types of content can be matched to offer you the most effective learning solution for your specific requirement.

ILTs and eLearning, when integrated together, make a very strong learning process. eLearning is well known for all the benefits it can offer on any kind of level. But, it cannot fit perfectly in every situation. You need to add ILTs in it to complement the process. This makes your training process really effective and comprehensive, and also offers maximum results. You need to remember two points:

  • ELearning and ILTs need not be mutually exclusive.
  • Do not view both the processes in different silos.

ELearning solutions can be used as the backbone of your process, as it is cost effective and reaches out globally. You could just add a bit of ILTs here and there to integrate the system seamlessly with the eLearning process.

For a learning technique that is ideal, you need to mix both the learning processes and create a perfect blend.

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E-Learning and Blended Learning

Blended Learning It is difficult to find one simple solutions for a complex issues. The expectations with regards to performance at work place or at home are complex; we need a blend of various learning solutions to resolve these complex issues. In such a scenario, Blended learning offers a greater chance of success.

Blended learning is not new concepts. In fact, it is an age-old concept that existed for several centuries. In ancient India, the pupil leave with their teacher or guru for years in Ashrams. The pupil was imparted theoretical knowledge, in the presence of the guru, sitting under the tree. The requisite physical training took place in open places. The pupil would also help the guru in the preparation of food. And, many such areas of learning were available under a single roof under the aegis of a single teacher. Blended Learning is akin to the form of pedagogical practice such as the Gurukul where there exists a blend of various training or learning strategies.

Today, the needs and challenges of learning have changed. Enlisted below are a few such challenges:

  • Time constraint
  • Total number of students that can be reached
  • Learners being distributed at far different places
  • Complexity of tasks to perform
  • Complexity of content
  • Forms of content (Audio, Video, Text etc.)
  • Infrastructure
  • Cost

All these factors necessitate a unique learning strategy; a strategy that constructs a learning environment that has the following features.

  • Ease of access of content to remote learners
  • Platforms to deliver various types of content anywhere and anytime.
  • A learner-centric Learning Module/Design.
  • Easy tracking
  • Multiple delivery of learning content
  • Regulatory or supervisory control over content, trainer performance and learner’s understanding.

The above learning environment is a blend of technology and traditional learning strategies.

E-Learning and Blended Learning:

Technology helps create most effective blend of learning solutions. E-learning, itself, is a technology-enabled blended learning concept. It can be mixed with traditional learning solutions like instructor-led training programs, books, field trips, etc.

Blended learning is the latest product in the arsenal of e-learning. Companies that develop Learning solutions help organizations build a blend of learning solutions suitable to their requirement and resources. Technology enabled Blended Learning includes all the advantages of e-learning and more; It offers more time and variety of platforms to deliver content.

Blended Learning solution does increase the cost of learning but the benefits, in terms of the significant impact on business goals, mitigate its costs. Blended Learning helps bring a very real and desired change in employee performance which in turn boosts the organization’s performance.

Learning managers or Officers face the challenge of application of Blended Learning. It is indeed a challenge because they are the premiere points of contact with an overview of various processes and have the requisite expertise to identify the areas of improvement. And so, they must lead the process of incorporating a suitable Blended Learning technique in the learning environments of their company by understanding the specific needs of the organization and employees, and developing a suitable strategy to combat the same.

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