What is Blended Learning? Definition, Components, Models, & Advantages

What is eLearning

By learning you will teach, by teaching you will learn - Latin proverb

Those who are associated with the online learning industry or those who follow it closely must be familiar with the concept of blended learning already. These people who include tutors, trainers, instructors, students, eLearning experts, and so on do know why it is such a buzzword.

Unfortunately, if you are not a part of these groups and still in the dark about what is blended learning, don’t worry! This blog post explains in detail everything you need to know about it.

What is Blended Learning?

Blended learning describes a learning environment that combines both face-to-face and online learning. This format of delivering education, also known as ‘hybrid learning’, breaks down the traditional classroom teaching and learning methods and blends them partly with eLearning technology. It encourages in-person as well as technology-enabled learning for a richer learning experience.


Read More: New-Age Learning Management System: What It Has in Store for You


Components of Blended Learning

Blended learning is made up of three primary components:

  1. In-person classroom activities supervised by trained instructors
  2. Online learning materials such as webinars and pre-recorded lectures
  3. Structured and independent studies guided by online lectures and classroom skills

Blended Learning Models

There are different interesting models in blended learning. Some of the popular ones are described below:

✓ Flipped Classroom

This is one of the most popular blended learning models used by learners around the world. In flipped classrooms, students study lecture materials at home before class. The classroom time is dedicated to discussions and homework. It may be mentioned that in the case of a traditional learning system, homework is usually done at home. The flipped classroom is, thus, a reversal or 180-degree flip from the traditional education model.

✓ Rotation

The rotation model is characterized by a learning cycle that rotates between online study and face time with teachers. The schedule between the two learning methods is divided, fixed, and announced usually at the instructor’s discretion. Learners are rotated between online learning and pen-and-paper assignments according to a plan.

✓ Self-Directed Blended Learning

In this model, students take online courses in addition to face-to-face learning. As the learning is self-directed, there is no fixed weight given to either online learning or offline learning. Learners usually use this model to supplement classroom learning, and they learn at their own pace and convenience.

✓ Flex Blended Learning

It is a self-guided and independent method of learning in which online learning forms the mainstay for learners, punctuated by offline learning from time to time. In other words, students rely primarily on digital platforms to learn, even as teachers are available offline for face-to-face consultations and necessary support.

Advantages of Blended Learning

Blended learning brings substantial advantages to both learners and teachers (facilitators). Some of them are:

Advantages for Learners

Advantages for Instructors

  • Blended learning gives learners the convenience and flexibility to learn anytime and anyplace. They can also self-pace their learning.
  • Since it is a blend of brick-and-mortar education and virtual learning, it offers opportunities for comprehensive learning, which is the best of both worlds.
  • This approach to learning enables learners to interact with teachers as well as fellow learners. It, thus, encourages and supports social learning.
  • Blended learning cuts down training costs, efforts, and time associated with face-to-face learning such as space, commute, printed materials, etc.
  • Organizations can use various methods such as webinars and gamification to deliver eLearning for better engagement and results.
  • When implemented using a learning management system, blended learning makes learning & development cost-effective and efficient. It brings quicker ROI besides enabling easy tracking of who has completed a lesson and who hasn’t.

 

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Role of Facilitators in Blended Learning

Sometimes, the term ‘facilitator’ is used in place of ‘teacher’ to refer to those instructors who are engaged in blended learning. The key role of a facilitator is to enable learners to develop specific knowledge and skills by leveraging online study materials, classroom discussions, and independent studies.

Facilitators put emphasis on four major areas:

  1. Development of course content, both online and offline
  2. Facilitation of communication with and among learners
  3. Enabling personalized learning experience with custom courses and designated learning paths
  4. Timely assessment and grading of learners

Wrap Up

When you mix instructor-led training with self-paced, self-guided eLearning, the result is awesome. With a variety of models to choose from, blended learning can give a richer experience to learners than it would have been if they had opted for strictly physical classroom or online learning only.

The advantages that it brings to both learners and educational institutions or enterprises are too substantial to ignore. It promises a flexible and more rounded development of learners, either students or professionals.

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About the author

Michael Laithangbam

Michael is a wordsmith with more than 8 years of experience in writing for different industry verticals. He is a foodie and loves to crack jokes.

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