Blended learning: combining the best of the online and offline worlds for effective learning

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Blended learning is a teaching method that combines distance learning with face-to-face learning. This approach creates a more complete and engaging environment for students who, in this way, can benefit of the flexibility of online learning and direct interaction with teachers in the classroom.

In other words, blended learning can be defined as a “mixed technique” that combines alternative digital and analogue learning models.

Table of contents

Blended learning: what it is

The concept of blended learning has been developed since the 1990s to meet the needs of an increasingly digital and connected world, where it is difficult for people to follow classroom-based learning courses owing to work and personal schedules. Blended learning, on the other hand, allows people to follow courses from the comfort of their home, office or anywhere with an Internet connection and to access learning materials at any time.

It is possible to divide blended learning into three phases:

Advantages

One of the main advantages of blended learning is flexibility. Students can choose when and where to take the courses, adapting them to their work and personal needs. Moreover, as online training is based on e-learning modules, students can customise their learning paths according to their own knowledge and skill level.

Blended learning also allows for greater interactivity and involvement of students who can follow courses actively and participate in online discussions with their colleagues and teachers. Communication is also improved, thanks to the mix of models implemented.

e-Learning modules allow students to access learning materials when it suits them best and to review the concepts they have most difficulty understanding.

Another advantage of blended training is the possibility of saving time and money. Online training reduces travel to attend classroom courses and saves on the costs that would otherwise be incurred by purchasing learning materials in paper format.

Blended learning is an innovative and flexible teaching method that combines online and face-to-face learning, creating a more complete and engaging learning environment for students.

The main advantages of blended learning are therefore:

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Blended learning models

There are four blended learning models:

1. Face-to-face driver model

This is the nearest model to traditional classroom learning. Here, digital resources are used as an additional tool and not everyone follows online, but only those who have specific needs. Most classroom lessons are led by a trainer, whose objective is to strengthen face-to-face communication.

2. Online driver model

Here, learning is delivered entirely online; in fact, it is the opposite of the face-to-face driver model. Although also here most of the lessons are guided by a trainer, communication takes place exclusively via digital platforms. If necessary, face-to-face meetings are not completely banned, but a more digital than analogue approach is preferred.

3. Rotation model

In the rotation model, learners follow the face-to-face lessons, but do the group work and part of the learning online. Therefore, it becomes crucial to divide the learners into smaller groups and assign specific tasks to be carried out online in order to get the most out of the blended learning.

4. Flipped classroom

The flipped classrom model involves online study and offline application. In practice, the order of homework and lessons is reversed: first home study, then application in the classroom; this second phase can take place through group discussions, case studies or participation in projects.

Blended learning tools

Being blended learning, the use of technology is essential. Let us look together at the main tools that are impossible to do without in blended learning.

DL platforms

Certainly, cloud-based distance learning (DL) platforms are very useful for saving digital materials, distributing them to learners and ensuring, through integrated reporting tools, that the study is going well.

For instance, the e-Logos platform provided by VITECO is customisable, user-friendly, has an integrated e-commerce interface and the innovative Facial Recognition System, which ensures greater security.

The platform is not only designed for distance learning, but also for blended training and, in general, for those actors who wish to stand out from the rest through the implementation of innovative digital tools.

Knowing how to choose the right DL platform is crucial to offer as much students as trainers the most intuitive and quickest solution possible. In fact, a learning management system (LMS) should be:

Social learning services

It seems almost trite to say it, but among the social learning services that help collaboration and communication among learners are the major social network sites (SNS):

Collaborative platforms

Among the so-called “collaborative platforms”, which allow a group of people to work together on a single document, are:

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Digital transformation and blended learning

When one speaks of digital transformation, the first companies that come to mind are the web giants such as Google, Amazon or Meta; in reality, digital transformation starts with the training of users, which, today, can no more prescind from digital technologies, such as DL platforms for blended learning.

Whether it is corporate training, workshops or DL, blended learning is a viable alternative to analogue training tout court and, therefore, choosing the most appropriate tools is most opportune.

VITECO offers a slew of solutions to meet the needs of training organisations, schools, universities, companies and public administrations. If you would like to know more, please fill in the contact form below and we will contact you back.

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