Like a lot of things, how we learn and how learning is presented has been changing in the last decade.
We’re seeing a shift away from traditional methods of education, one filled with in-person lectures, to a more blended model that uses a mix of old school methods of education and modern tech to create an experience that is more immersive and effective (upwards of 59% of teachers see a boost in engagement in a blended learning setting).
In the first part of our two-part series on the shift, we’re going to be looking at why this is happening, what it means for you and your training business, and what it means for customers taking your courses.
A look at the teaching styles we’re talking about
To help you better understand what we’re talking about, let’s look at the different approaches to learning: face-to-face learning, online learning and now blended learning.
- Face-to-face learning or instructor-led-training (ILT) is your standard old school kind of learning. It’s done in a classroom setting, often with one person giving a lecture and students taking notes. Face-to-face learning offers people a personal connection to the material they’re studying. You get to deal with a live person (the teacher). You can ask any questions that you may have about the material as it’s being taught. You can network and build relationships with your peers in your course. And, these courses tend to be shorter, one-off courses.
- Online learning arrived on the scene in a major way in the early 2000s. It transformed the way we offered training by making it easier to deliver courses from anywhere, to anywhere. People were able to take courses from anywhere, they could study at their own pace, courses could be offered cheaper, and they were repeatable, meaning once you had access, you could review the material again and again. Better still, some elearning content proves to better cater for different learning styles. Interactive online activities or written blogs provide differentiation from the more traditional audible based classroom learning. No longer were you limited by venue capacity, presenter availability and registrant travel.
- After the rise of online learning, blended learning arrived on the scene. Blended learning is a mix of face-to-face and online learning. You get the best of both worlds. It contains traditional face-to-face based-methods, like classroom time, with online-based components, things like videos or digital handouts or even assignments that get completed online at home after class.
What’s driving the shift
There are two main things driving this. The first is advancements in technology. The rise of online learning led to a push for better learning management systems. Elearning helped usher in an age when courses could be accessed by anyone and the industry is predicted to be worth $325 billion by 2025. Technology has made it possible for people all over the world to take the same course, at the same time. We’re no longer in a position where we have to travel to learn from a specific teacher or take a required course. All of that is now accessible online through our computers, tablets, and even our phones.
We also have a much better understanding of how people learn. After centuries of listening to someone lecture at the front of the classroom, while scribbling notes wildly on a piece of paper, we’re starting to realize that not only that not necessarily the best way to learn, but we now know that everyone has a learning style that is best for them.
Rather than trying to force people to learn in a way that isn’t ideal, we’ve adapted. This comes from the understanding that courses and education are meant to teach people. If courses aren’t being run in a way that maximizes people’s ability to learn, both time and money are wasted (which is why we’re seeing this shift).
What this shift means for your customers
The biggest thing is that with a blended learning approach to your courses, you’re able to run more effective courses.
This happens because you create an environment that uses a variety of different teaching methods (which appeals to multiple learning styles). Students aren’t just showing up to your courses to take notes, they’re in a position to do what’s called classroom flipping. Reading and information gathering is taken care of ahead of time. Teachers are more for helping drive discussions around the topics and provide a place where a deeper understanding of the course material is possible.
The use of technology helps maintain student’s interest as well. As the educational tech world grows, we gain access to increasingly cool and useful technology like virtual and augmented reality. These help drive engagement and maintain interest in learning and allows for the creation of a gamified learning experience (which further drives engagement, as well as retention).
This leads to people who retain more information and get more out of the experience, which can lead to happier customers and more revenue from courses.
How blended learning can grow your business
Along with being able to run courses that are more successful, blended learning can allows you to run courses that are less expensive to deliver and requires less time and energy from those running the course. With some investment upfront, you can create a learning experience that will blow your customers away and put you ahead of your competition. When you combine this with the kinds of savings a course management software can provide, it puts you in a position to run courses that are super effective and very cost-effective. Courses go from being a two day, in-class lecture (that you charge $1,000 for), to a fully immersive three-week experience that explores the material in a more worthwhile and memorable way (and costs $1,400).
Not only that, but blended learning provides an option that allows for more meaningful interactions between students and teachers, both online and offline, which further deepens the experience for students.
Perhaps best of all, is that blended learning gives you an edge over the competition. As this approach is relatively new, it hasn’t been fully adopted by many businesses. This puts you in a position to offer courses that blend the newest technology, with the latest teaching techniques to create courses that are unique, effective, and profitable.
In our next post, we’ll be going deeper into the world of blended learning and how it can help your business. In the meantime, if you’d like to explore how Arlo can help you develop a blended learning experience, sign up for a free trial.