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Blended learning

Blended learning: The key to maximising the impact of L&D

According to People Management, 60% of employees would rather climb the career ladder with robust training than boost their wallets; as such it’s perplexing to see organisations slashing their learning and development (L&D) budgets this year. Why this paradox, and what’s the missing link in recognising the true value of L&D?

Recent studies paint a startling picture: the same article from People Management highlighted that 75% of organisations are tightening the purse strings on training. In comparison, a report from CIPD found a staggering 77% of leaders confess to a misalignment between their L&D strategy and its tangible benefits. This disconnect points to a deeper issue—a failure to harness the transformative power of aligned training.

However, there is a promising L&D strategy that offers not just cost savings but a seismic shift in impact. Enter the era of blended learning.

What is blended learning?

For L&D budgets, online learning offers a cost-effective option as it reduces the need for travel and accommodation costs.

However, fully distance learning comes with challenges:

  • Lack of social learning, group discussion and face-to-face interaction
  • Needing strong self-discipline to study without distraction
  • Potential technical challenges, glitches and connectivity issues
  • Feeling isolated while studying and making it harder to reach out for help
  • Reduced hands-on experience and practical activities

This is where blended learning can be a game-changer, as it addresses these challenges while still allowing individuals to benefit from the convenience and cost-effectiveness of online learning.

The essence of blended learning

Blended learning is an instructional methodology that combines traditional face-to-face or virtual classroom activities with online learning materials and interactive sessions. This hybrid approach leverages the strengths of both digital and physical learning environments, creating a more flexible, engaging, and effective learning experience. It allows learners to control the pace of their learning, access materials anytime and anywhere, and apply knowledge in practical, real-world settings.

Why blended learning?

The adoption of blended learning is driven by its ability to cater to diverse learning preferences and needs. Here are several key advantages:

  • Flexibility and accessibility: By integrating online resources, learners can access materials at their convenience, accommodating different schedules and commitments. This flexibility enhances learner engagement and retention
  • Enhanced learning experience: Blended learning supports various teaching methods, including videos, quizzes, and interactive simulations, catering to different learning styles. This variety ensures a more comprehensive and engaging learning experience
  • Improved learner performance: The combination of self-paced online learning with classroom interaction has been shown to improve understanding and retention of information, leading to better learner performance
  • Cost-effectiveness: Blended learning can reduce the need for physical training resources and travel, making it a more cost-effective solution for organisations
  • Real-world application: The mix of theoretical online learning with practical, hands-on classroom activities enables learners to apply knowledge in real-world scenarios, enhancing the transfer of learning to the workplace.

Learn more about our blended learning.

Implementing blended learning in your organisation

Successfully integrating blended learning into your L&D strategy requires careful planning and execution. Below are a series of practical steps you can take to ensure its effectiveness:

  1. Define your objectives: Clearly outline the goal of your blended learning program. Whether it's improving specific skills, onboarding new employees, or supporting ongoing development, your objectives should guide the design of your program
  2. Understand your team: Consider the needs, preferences, and challenges of your team. How do they learn best, and where are the skills gaps that blended learning can support with
  3. Foster a collaborative learning culture: Encourage employee knowledge sharing and collaboration through forums, discussion groups, and peer learning sessions. This utilises internal expertise and reduces the need for external training resources
  4. Select the right technology: Choose a system that supports blended learning and is user-friendly. Ensure it offers the necessary features, such as progress tracking and communication tools
  5. Monitor and evaluate: Continuously assess the effectiveness of your blended learning program. Gather feedback from learners and instructors and use this information to refine and improve the program

Maximising ROI for blended learning

An investment for the long run

While there are lots of statistics of organisations looking to cut costs of training, the best way to consider the ROI of L&D is to see it as an investment. Yes, blended learning can be a more affordable option. However, the major benefit is the fact that the training offers a thoroughly engaging learning environment.

Utilising the combined approach offered by blended learning improves knowledge retention and real-world application which can then be transferred across organisational projects. With heightened skills and more effective delivery, blended learning can create additional revenue sources while also increasing efficiency and reducing the outlay of time and resources.

Another key to unlocking ROI with blended learning is to focus on high-impact learning. This means concentrating resources on developing courses that address core competencies and skills gaps critical to your organisation's success. This ensures that the investment directly contributes to achieving business goals.

Finally, statistics from Markinstyle reveal that 82% of students prefer blended learning, and 73% of instructors see an increase in engagement. Plus, typically, organisations see cost-saving benefits by as much as 42%, according to an article from Orbit-Ed.

Is blended learning the way forward for your organisation?

To make sure you get ROI from blended learning, it is important to consider the factors that ensure the organisation is ready for this approach:

  1. Your objectives: Does blended learning support your business goals, address a specific skills gap or contribute to an organisation’s growth?
  2. Infrastructure: How will the blended learning be delivered, and does your organisation offer the infrastructure, tools and platforms that it requires?
  3. Digital literacy: Do your employees feel comfortable using digital platforms, and are they comfortable with online learning?
  4. Customisation: Can the training content be customised to support your specific learning needs?
  5. Ongoing motivation: What will motivate the learners to stay engaged? For example, will they receive a certification and accreditation for their learning?
  6. Support systems: How will learners feel supported in their learning, and can a feedback loop be created?
  7. Cost analysis: What potential costs and savings would blended learning deliver for your business?

Blended learning with ILX

In conclusion, blended learning is an effective and efficient approach to L&D that maximises the impact of learning initiatives. By leveraging the benefits of traditional teaching and online learning, organisations can create a skilled and knowledgeable workforce that can adapt and grow with changing business requirements.

At ILX, we offer a range of qualifications as blended learning. In these courses, individuals will study the Foundation portion of the certification as online e-learning, where they will have the time to work through the content at their own pace and fully digest all the information included. Then when they reach the Practitioner stage, we offer a virtual or classroom training option providing the opportunity to learn from one of our expert trainers.

Find out more about how ILX can help you maximise the benefits of L&D in your organisation, get in touch with our team today.