Years ago, learning was consigned to the classroom. Students sat down, took notes, interacted with the instructor, discussed with peers, and finished tests in a physical location. While many thrived under this setup, not everyone prefers this type of learning.
The same principle applies to training in a B2B setting. We live in a world of on-demand services and internet-connected devices, so focusing on a lengthy lecture probably isn’t a suitable way to learn for most.
While learning has evolved a lot in the last decade, interactive learning (or learning by doing) is becoming the new standard because of the advantages it offers.
With technological advances, a new alternative is now available. By now, you’ve likely heard about hybrid and blended learning, but how effective are they, and what’s the difference?
What Is Blended Learning?
Blended learning is a combination of offline and online instruction where students interact with the instructor, the material, and other students through both a physical classroom and an online platform.
The result is an interactive environment that provides a cohesive learning experience across 2 mediums. A typical setup is for the online component to provide additional exercises to complement the in-class lecture. Learners may still speak with instructors during offline hours.
Blended learning is incredibly effective. During one study by Blackboard, 59% of teachers reported that students were more motivated in a blended environment. For businesses, this is a huge advantage as it can improve the effectiveness of training and knowledge retention rates.
What Is Hybrid Learning?
In hybrid learning, online interactions replace much of the physical communication between students and instructors. This does not mean that remote students are merely watching an online lecture; rather, live classrooms incorporate interactive, virtual components.
A common example of this is virtual training labs where a company can replicate real-world scenarios in the training they provide. This enhanced interactivity makes the lessons more personal, engaging, and effective.
What’s the Difference Between Hybrid and Blended Learning?
Both hybrid and blended learning seem like the same concept, and most businesses use them interchangeably. However, there’s a subtle yet important distinction.
While blended learning focuses on the combination of offline and online instruction, hybrid learning seeks to find a balance that promotes the best experience for individual students.
Both concepts are nothing new; they’ve been around for a while, but recent advances in cloud technology have made them more accessible and viable than ever.
We should instead ask, “What’s the difference between online and blended learning?”
What Are the Benefits of Online Learning?
Both hybrid and blended learning revolve around online interactions. Online classrooms and virtual training are more than just watching college lectures on YouTube. Instead, they combine sophisticated virtual tools to add engagement and interactivity to the experience.
The benefits of online learning include:
- Maintaining one-on-one interactions between instructors and students, which boosts classroom involvement.
- Interactive learning through virtual simulations, tools, and exercises.
- Cost-efficiency since online labs are cheaper to build and maintain than on premise ones.
- Flexibility in course scheduling since travel plans are not necessary.
- Student capacity, as a digital service can take far more students than a classroom could.
- Scalability. A company can expand or decrease the number of virtual machines and resources they have deployed for a class.
- Accessibility and convenience. Online learning environments are accessible from any machine with an Internet connection regardless of geographic location.
Queen’s University has discovered the effectiveness of interactive instruction. One article details how interactivity leads to better critical thinking and problem-solving abilities, as well as improved student attitudes towards the material.
Online learning has caught the eye of many instructors as well, including Harvard professor Eric Mazur, who believes that active learning leads to active participation and more engagement.
The hybrid model works so well because students are working through realistic exercises rather than just passively consuming a lecture, pre-recorded content, and other unengaging material. This type of learning experience builds a stronger understanding of the core content, improves knowledge retention, and exercises critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
Why Online Training Environments Are the Future of Online Training
The advent of online training means more agile, scalable, and flexible methods to train business partners and customers. Modern business training is going the way of the hybrid model, as traditional on-site classrooms alone are not as effective.
The sophisticated technology offered by services like CloudShare can create interactive learning environments your business partners and clients will appreciate.
If you want your company to take advantage of online virtual classrooms, get in touch with CloudShare today. Our platform enables you to instantly upload your virtual machines and easily network them, quickly start a new class, customize specifications for each user, actively control resource usage, track student progress through analytics, and make changes in real-time.