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What are the Benefits of Blended Learning?

Safer at Work is moving towards having a blended learning option for all of our Global Wind Organisation (GWO) courses, and two of the most common questions we get are:

  • What is blended learning?

  • What is the benefit of using a blended learning approach?

Both are very good questions and by the time you have finished this blog post, hopefully you will have the answers to both.

What is blended learning?

You are probably familiar with many of the training delivery methods that are available and may have taken part in training that used these methods. This could include delivery techniques such as:

  • Classroom (or face-to-face) based - instructor(s) in a classroom or training environment with one or more trainees

  • E-learning - a trainee working through an online training programme at their own pace

  • Webinar - instructor(s) delivering content over a video web-conferencing system such as Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, or Zoom

  • Video Learning - video content designed to instruct viewers in techniques or pass across knowledge

  • Or many others

Blended learning is just a way of delivering a training course or lesson using more than one of these methods, such as combining classroom teaching with e-learning, which is what we do at Safer at Work.

The key part of any blended learning is to properly plan the course, and select the delivery methods that will help with this plan. Using a delivery method just because it is currently popular or because everyone else is doing it, and not because it improves your training is a common mistake. We always have the learner's experience at the forefront of our mind - how will this help them to learn?

What is the benefit of using a blended learning approach?

Safer at Work initially introduced Blended learning in response to the Covid-19 pandemic to reduce the amount of time that training participants needed to be in the classroom mixing with others, however, we quickly found that there were multiple benefits to having the theoretical knowledge online. These benefits are why we’ve continued witha blended learning approach:

  • A baseline for training participants

    • We often have participants who all have a different previous understanding of the subject matter. While common, this can make it frustrating for some participants, as those with no previous knowledge require more in-depth training, slowing the pace of the course. This can also work in reverse, as participants without previous knowledge can feel left behind or inadequately trained because the course pace is too fast for them to keep up. By moving the theoretical content online, all participants come into the on-site training with the same baseline of knowledge, making it much easier to find a pace that satisfies all participants.

  • Participants can go at their own pace

    • Similar to the point above, participants can work through e-learning at their own pace (within reason, we still enforce minimum completion times as required by external training standards), so if a participant needs to spend more time on one subject than another they can, without feeling as if they are holding the class up.

  • Reduced on-site training time

    • By having the theoretical content online, we have reduced the number of days that participants need to attend our venue, which can help save money on travel and accommodation. It also makes it easier to fit in the training around other activities such as childcare or work, particularly of benefit for individuals who have to take annual leave to attend the training.

  • Focused practical time

    • There are not many people who enjoy sitting in a classroom in front of a powerpoint presentation for hours on end. By completing the theoretical knowledge separately, it allows our instructors to focus on putting that knowledge into practice; implementing more practical activities, and making the on-site training more realistic.

  • Reflection Time

    • It is widely agreed that the best learning involves teaching, followed by learner reflection on that gained knowledge, before putting it into practice. Reflection time is often cut short with traditional classroom teaching, largely due to the shorter teaching timeframe. With e-learning, participants have time to reflect and identify areas that they don’t understand very well. This means that when attending the onsite training, they can ask questions about these areas and have greater retention of the information provided after the course has been completed.

Hopefully you now understand blended learning and how and why we at Safer at Work use it. Please remember to check out our courses, or if you want to find out more please get in touch.

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