Virtual training

5 Benefits of Blended Learning for Corporate Training

The CloudShare Team

Jul 03, 2023 - 3 min read
Blended learning blog

Remember when some people thought in-person instruction would be completely replaced by virtual training? Granted, the idea wasn’t completely crazy. There are some serious benefits to online instruction, particularly when it comes to cost and flexibility.

But not everyone wants to be remote 100 percent of the time. There’s a reason hybrid work has become so popular. It’s very similar to why blended learning has started to take off.

So, what makes blended learning so popular for corporate training? And what are the biggest benefits of this training model?

What is Blended Learning?

Blended learning — also known as blended training — operates on the same general principle as hybrid work. It offers the best of both worlds, augmenting in-person learning with online self-paced training and independent study sessions. There are three primary models of blended learning:

  • Open classrooms have participants use their own machines to study material with the instructor standing by to assist.
  • Station-based learning divides learners into three groups and then cycles them between stations — one group works with the instructor, another group works together, and a third group works online.
  • Flipped classrooms have students learn the material via self-paced training, then dedicated classroom time to hands-on training and exercise-based learning.

It’s important to note that blended training is different from hybrid training, even though the two terms are frequently used interchangeably. The blended approach incorporates a set amount of offline and online learning. Hybrid training is much more flexible, and the balance between virtual and in-person learning can change as needed.

Benefits of Blended Learning in Corporate Training and Development

Increased Engagement

Blended learning gives trainees a great deal more autonomy in terms of how they engage with their training, particularly with a flipped classroom approach. It also allows an instructor to apply a much deeper level of personalization, potentially offering learners different training materials based on their needs and preferences. This increased level of autonomy combined with deeper personalization leads to a significantly higher level of learner engagement — meaning trainees are likelier to both recall and understand the material.

Comprehension and Collaboration

Collaborative learning is a powerful educational tool. When people work together to learn something, they tend to comprehend the material far more effectively than if they were learning alone. Blended learning cements this collaboration in place at the outset by beginning with in-person lessons, facilitating deeper interaction between participants.

Lower Corporate Training Costs

While it’s not quite as cost-effective as switching entirely to virtual self-paced learning, blended learning can still reduce the total overhead of your corporate training program. It ultimately requires less space and equipment than if it were fully in-person, while also reducing travel expenses. According to one 2014 report, global professional services organization Ernst & Young reduced training costs by 35 percent and training time by 18 percent when they switched to blended learning — and training technology has come a long way since then.

More Effective Instructor-Led Training

Blended training has the benefit of offloading the basics to self-paced instruction. Trainees can discover the fundamentals of a topic on their own time. This leaves the instructor free to focus on conveying practical knowledge and skills during in-person instruction.

Moreover, the instructor has more time to actually develop the materials for their training, as they aren’t spending as much time in the classroom.

Better Feedback

Blended training offers an improved feedback cycle compared to other methods of instruction for two reasons:

  • Through analytics tools, instructors can gain deep insights into how trainees perform during their online sessions, then use that information to improve learning outcomes.
  • Hands-on training and in-person assessments afford trainees the opportunity to actually put what they’ve learned into practice and receive immediate feedback on areas where they need to improve.

Additionally, unlike with many self-paced training programs, blended training has the benefit of an instructor that participants can reach out to if they have questions or feel as though they’re struggling with the material.

How to Successfully Implement Blended Learning

Blended training requires you to do more than simply put some training materials on a computer. It requires specific infrastructure and a specific approach in order to succeed. Some best practices for implementing blended training in your business include:

  • Ensure you have the necessary tools in place, including a learning management system and a virtual training environment.
  • Focus on training outcomes and how they align with your business objectives.
  • Account for learner preferences and needs when designing your training materials.
  • Give trainees a way to reach out not only to their instructor, but also to one another during online lessons — it doesn’t have to be anything complex, even a simple Slack channel will work for this.
  • Put mechanisms in place for tracking, assessing, and providing feedback on trainee performance.
  • Create interactive online materials to boost engagement and retention.
  • Don’t treat online and offline instruction as two separate entities. Instead, make them work in concert with each other.

How Blended Learning Can Create a More Effective Employee Virtual Training Program

Now that you understand a bit more about blended learning, let’s talk about its role in virtual training.
Our blog post How can you Create an Effective Employee Virtual Training Program answers that question directly. As an added benefit, it also walks you through the process of creating your own virtual training program. Read it now.