Blended learning is a process of merging online and offline education to maximize its performance.
🎓 Adult education is different from typical classroom learning: adults are usually self-motivated and oriented on relevant and practical skills. Therefore, a successful adult education requires rather a dynamic and interactive environment with access to learning materials and communication.
🛠️ Learning management systems, such as CleverLMS, serve as platforms for such an integration. They store online learning materials and help the management to organize offline activities.
📈 Various well-known companies, such as Boeing and Intel, implemented blended learning to improve their staff competency without detaching them from work and with minimum expenses.
What is blended learning? Examples & tools
Many companies rely on various offline processes, and so cannot scale them online, even if they want to. However, they can greatly optimize their performance by scaling some parts of these processes. Corporate blended learning is a way of blending online and offline work and education activities to achieve maximum productivity and convenience.
While it has begun in schools and universities as a method to combine online classrooms and offline seminars, it proves to be very useful for companies. For diving into this topic, it’d be good to divide all workflows into two parts: those which can be transferred online and those which cannot. So, the task of blended learning is to connect these processes, transferring online each of them which is possible, and optimizing all offline ones.
To realize it, learning management systems (LMSs) are necessary instruments. CleverLMS is a good example of such a tool, providing a knowledge library for self-paced learning, a course builder, tracking tools, and a task scheduler for workflow and offline tasks management. Using these options, a company’s management creates materials for online education and optimizes offline learning.
So, let’s see how learning management systems enable companies to implement blended learning and improve their workflow and see some examples of such implementations.
Blended learning examples include educational scenarios which you may implement to improve some key aspects of the company. As you can see in the picture below, taken from the book Blended Learning (What Works in Talent Development), adult education is very different from the more typical university and school education. While adults are usually self-motivated, their education must always be practical and relevant so that they may implement its results in their daily activities. So, familiar classroom-based learning isn’t the best option for corporate education.
LMSs are widely used for blended learning, as they create this necessary environment, ensuring that adult learners will be motivated. In addition, they track the learning information, such as the education progress, percent of completed tasks, and completion time, enabling the management to make smarter decisions. In a world of constant changes and new approaches and technologies, they are the robust tool for learning and development.
Therefore, blended learning definition for companies is creating an environment where adult learners may adopt skills necessary for their work. Various companies implement it differently based on their objectives. Before presenting examples of such companies, let’s see how it works and which LMSs are the best choice in which case.
To see the benefits of blended learning, let’s overview several possible scenarios of its implementation.
- Skill nurturing without detaching from work. It works especially well for soft skills, such as customer support and sales, as it enables dynamic, practical training to improve them. However, hard skills, such as occupational safety, can also be trained without breaking the workflow.
- Employee onboarding for newcomers. It’s efficient to add a short introductory courses and tasks into the corporate LMS, so an employee will dive into their new work quickly and efficiently.
- Franchisee training for those adopting the company’s business models. Blended education is a good way to show franchisees how to operate the company’s business, introducing them into the company’s vision, mission, and best practices.
- Connecting remote branches of the company, such as offices and shops. It’s especially helpful for large international companies and for those of them having various operational facilities (offices, manufactures, and shops, for example). Blended learning ensures the concordant work of these facilities and constant skill uplifting for their employees.
For the efficient blended education, you can apply learning instruments, so let’s overview them next.
Tools and platforms
Blended learning solutions include learning management systems (LMSs) which optimize online and offline processes and build bridges between them. Let’s overview four of them shortly: they all are different, so we’ll specify for which purposes they’re the best suited.
- CleverLMS is a tool for employee education, organization, and management. It’s fully customizable, meaning that you can obtain your own web and mobile app based on it. Therefore, it’s a universal solution applicable to most businesses.
- TalentLMS is a simple tool with a bunch of options for employee onboarding and organization. It’s universal, too, but it works best for businesses oriented on content creation.
- 360Learning is a more complex tool with extended features such as AI for analytics and content generation. Due to that, it’s best suited for startups and tech corporations.
- Moodle is a free educational platform, although it requires various plugins to work decently, many of which are paid. Use it only if you’re ready to build the platform by yourself, searching for various plugins for your tasks.
Summary: Best practices
Lastly, let’s see some examples of the blended learning strategies implementation. Here are three well-known companies in different fields and with different business models, which greatly improved their workflows using blended education.
- Ernst & Young (E&Y) is a British company providing professional services, such as accounting and consulting. It adopted the blended learning approach as far back as in 2000, as it relies heavily on the activity requiring strong competency. It has more than 300,000 employees worldwide, in more than 700 offices and 150 countries. To connect all of this, blended education is what they need.
🧾 The company transformed its classrooms into virtual educational spaces, where most of the time, employees learned by themselves, using a variety of educational materials. It enabled E&Y to save 35% of its training expenditure and reduce education time more than threefold.
- Boeing, a well-known aerospace manufacturing firm, uses blended learning tools to train its sales department members. As airships are complex and have many specific characteristics, often changing as the company improves them, salespeople should know all these specifics and how to present them to potential customers (from airports to governments and military organizations).
✈️ Therefore, the company launched a series of online courses about job responsibilities and peculiarities, before the offline life session, with robust results. 5 percent of participants found the course materials highly instrumental and were happy with it.
- Intel is a high-tech microprocessor company relying on high-precision equipment to build its chips. It requires a well-trained workforce that proceeds with this equipment efficiently.
💻 Taking that, Intel adopted the blended learning approach to keep their worker skills sharp in all locations, with minimum expenses and work detachment. The online training, connected with the offline practice in the factory, has shown a return on investment (ROI) of 157%. It means more than twice the company’s earnings after investing in blended education.
To maintain high staff competency and integrate different work processes, companies need to work with online and offline processes while increasing the efficiency of both. Various blended learning platforms are indispensable to ensure that you’ll connect all your workflows efficiently. The choice of the specific platform depends on your objectives: whether you need a simple tool with the required minimum of functions, a bunch of advanced instruments, or a free platform that you may scale by yourself.
CleverLMS has all the necessary features to realize blended education efficiently. They include
- online course builder;
- knowledge base for self-education;
- task scheduler for offline activity;
- gift store for motivation.
All these features will connect online and offline processes and ensure that your company will use the best from both of them.
By Jonathan Hill.
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