Blended Learning and Technology
As we’ve all had to move online over the last few years due to the pandemic and lockdowns, ultimately moving online seemed the best. But what about your long-term strategy? Here at Brooks and Kirk, our learning is blended. We find it the best working model for our learners. So how do you implement technology in your blended learning model?
As it’s vital that you think about how using them together might provide the best possible training for your learners. If you don’t know what blended learning is, it’s a combination of face-to-face activities and digital elements, like tools and resources. Most of our units and tasks are delivered online, however, our learners are required to come to one face-to-face session at their chosen centre.
What are the benefits?
There are many benefits of using blended learning, so we’re going to go through them individually.
Reduced travel costs and time for learners and trainers. This allows for more engagement time. If learners can complete work from their own homes, they can take it at their own pace and not feel pressured to keep up, which they might feel for face-to-face elements.
Reusable resources which can be updated in real-time. This ensures that responses to any policies, legislation changes or changes in implementation happen quickly and efficiently. In addition, your learners can use the resources on the learning system multiple times and they can go back to it when needed.
Having online quizzes or tests or even systems that allow automated responses. This is essential if you want to give your learners quick results and it also helps with monitoring progress. As you can see where they may be falling down on and then you can tailor any training to help them in that subject area.
If your learners are in different areas of the country having blended learning can help them work together without having to travel. This really helps in generating group engagement and allows them to network.
You could have a wide range of resources. This helps support learners with their individual learning styles. Such as giving further reading, in different forms. For example, It could be a combination of texts, videos and audio.
You also need to think about any potential issues that could arise when using blended learning. You should consider your approach towards this as well.
There are some great opportunities for using blended learning and technology. We’re going to discuss them with you now.
- Having a mix of high-quality learning resources which can support different learning styles.
- It can be cost-effective training and resource method.
- You are able to have learning resources that can quickly and easily be updated and implemented.
- Learners can develop digital skills which can support wider employability in the long run.
- The learning can be easily tailored to the learner’s needs and challenges.
- More flexibility allows for more engagement
- It’s a quick and easy way to collect evidence and data for the learner’s progress.
There can be a lot of potential issues with using blended learning and technology. Trainers or Assessors and learners may be more familiar with face-to-face delivery only or only online learning. Instead of having a combination of both. A learner’s online and digital skills may be below average and need improving for them to get the best out of the resources and improve their engagement.
Similarly, some learners may be required to use a wide variety of learning platforms which can sometimes be difficult and complex. Any initial costs for developing the training or systems could be more expensive to start out with.
Some trainers and Assessors may need more knowledge and development when it comes to different platforms and online learning systems. They may only be familiar with one type, so they need to brush up on knowledge and explore alternative avenues.
Balance isn’t always easy to do with blended learning. You need to use the right technology to support your learner’s engagement. Without making the process even more challenging. If you use too many different systems it could reduce your student’s engagement as it can start to feel daunting or like a chore. Or if you’re an Assessor, it can start to feel time-consuming, moving from one system to another.
Finding that balance is really important and with the use of technology you can enhance the experience for your students and yourself. You need to also think about these questions to help define your blended learning model.
- What’s the relationship between online components and face-to-face?
- How do the outputs of online and face-to-face elements work together?
- How are you liking the outcome?
If you have any questions about blended learning please don’t hesitate to contact our team or, even leave a comment! We would love to get the discussion going and want to know your thoughts and opinions on how blended learning works for you. Do you like it? What don’t you like? Let us know!