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The why and how of blended learning

So far 2020 has been an interesting time for training providers, with many having to pivot quickly to ensure their business can continue operating during COVID-19. For most, it has meant a scurry of transitioning traditional face-to-face courses to live online. For others it has been a sprint forward in their existing journey to online. 

Whatever changes you made, at the crux of it you simply moved with the market and have continued to meet the evolving needs of your customers (after all, that’s what a business needs to do in order to survive).

In the past that evolution may have looked like adding night courses, expanding into a new region or country, introducing a new content stream, or offering private classes or 1:1 tutorials. But in more recent years a rise in access to technology completely disrupted the training industry as we knew it and we’ve seen an increase in demand for online learning.

And now the question on everyone’s mind is “what will the training industry look like in a post-COVID world?”

We don’t need to look into a crystal ball to see that the answer is blended learning.

But what exactly is blended learning?

Before we go any further, let’s get clear on the key differences between live online courses, on-demand video, elearning, and blended learning. 

Live online course: Similar to a traditional face-to-face course, but held in a virtual classroom. A presenter, or presenters, deliver a presentation in real-time to learners around the world who attend via video conference, from the comfort of their own office, home or wherever they may be. With Arlo, you can deliver public and private live online courses using tools such as Zoom or GoToWebinar.

We recommended live online as a good first step in moving your training business online. For those just getting started, here’s a blog post we pulled together on how to deliver an engaging webinar, and here’s another with technical tips on how to deliver it without a hitch.

On-demand video: Living in the times of YouTube and Netflix, most of us are familiar with on-demand (or pre-recorded) video. Arlo allows you to easily promote and sell pre-recorded webinars to people who visit your website – a great opportunity to drive profits and efficiencies in your training business, by reusing and recirculating existing content.

elearning: Elearning is self-paced learning, such as online courses and modules that people can complete in their own time, online, from anywhere. Registrants can undertake the course at any time and do not have to attend on a specific date, or attend a live class. These modules can include SCORM packages, quizzes, surveys, wikis, videos, and assignments, all while allowing the training provider to track completion. Arlo currently offers full integrations with Moodle and Learnbook.

Blended learning: Blended learning is a combination of all (or some) of the above, giving people the ability to learn flexibly and in a way that best suits their learning style. For example, students might complete an online course module prior to a face-to-face classroom session to get them thinking ahead of class, or post-course to continue their learning journey. The intention of blended learning is for all elements to be complementary, and delivered in a logical sequence.

Within the Arlo platform you can set-up a series of modules that links all aspects of a blended course, ensuring that registrants are automatically sent next steps and allowing training providers to track completion. 

Why is blended learning on the rise and why make the move?

With the development of portable computers we’ve shifted more to remote working and we’re achieving more work/life balance with flexibility in our schedules. And with the rise in popularity of mobile phones, and unlimited access to the world wide web, gone are the days of encyclopedias and searching for answers in libraries. We live in a world where information is at our fingertips, and we can access it from the comfort of our own sofas. It should be no surprise that our expectations are the same when it comes to taking a course.

With an impending recession as a result of COVID-19, possible redundancies and a changing job market, history tells us that we’ll see people turning to study in order to upskill. And they’re going to pick the study option that best suits them. Our recent Arlo research supports this – with the majority of our respondents expecting a greater demand for elearning and blended.

For training providers, blended learning can help scale your business and increase profitability. You can charge more money for a blended learning course as it provides a richer learning experience, and you have a competitive advantage over an old-school training provider who only delivers traditional face-to-face courses.

Ok great, how do I get started?

As mentioned, if you’re completely new in the transition to online training we recommended live online as a good first step. We recently talked to three Arlo customers about their journey to online and they shared their tips and tricks. You can watch the full webinar recording here.

If you’re ready to make the move to elearning or blended, it’s worth experimenting with existing webinar powerpoint presentations and packaging them up as an elearning course. We recommend using Rise 360. In addition to this, content libraries like Go1 give you access to thousands of learning resources so you can include pre-built elearning in your courses, rather than having to create your own from scratch.

In terms of an LMS, we recommend using Learnbook alongside Arlo to deliver blended learning. There are 14 different types of “activities” available, allowing training providers to build assignments, forums, quizzes, surveys, videos, workshops and more into a blended learning journey. For inspiration on how to deliver blended, check out our case study on Parallel Project Training.

To learn more check out the Ultimate Guide to Blended Learning.

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