Blended Learning - Clarifying the status quo in employee training

As it is typical for any development in the business world in recent years, there are also plenty of buzzwords in the conversation regarding the best way to develop your personnel. Flipped Classroom, Serious Games or even Training 4.0 are just a few examples.

The increasing variety of new and innovative ideas for employee education is understandable when you look at companies' spending on such programs. The German industry alone spends 33,5 billion Euro on personnel development, with the financial and insurance sector accounting for the largest share.

“Blended Learning” wants to be more than just a keyword in this context. Its idea is to direct employee training into a more hybrid approach. Combining the methodologies of those fancy e-learning buzzwords with traditional face-to-face input is the core of blended learning. Since a few years this integrative approach is around. It is a rather broad term and often used as soon as any e-learning aspect is combined with a form of direct interaction between people.

Nevertheless, there is some classification going on in the blended learning industry. To get a better idea of its features and dimensions let’s talk about two generic forms of blended learning:

The most simple implementation of blended learning is referred to as “rotation”. Setting up different learning stations that offer for example e-learning activities like webinars and also face-to-face classroom teaching in separate venues is the core of this form. Employees/students switch between those stations and thereby a blended learning experience is created.

Another form is called “enriched virtual”. Where we talked about adding digital content to old-fashioned classroom training years ago, on the other side of the coin we see a similar development now. The idea is to enrich pure online courses with a few required face-to-face sessions, while getting most of the work done online in order to save on time and staff.

However, blended learning is widely adopted within employee training for a reason. Its approach and features take into account research that proves the importance of social presence in terms of learning success, but also considers the necessity of flexible and virtual means of learning in business reality.