Virtual training

What Is the Difference Between Hybrid and Blended Learning?

Apr 25, 2022 - 4 min read
blended and hybrid learning

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. It’s also not exactly practical when you think about getting everyone in the same place at the same time, or setting up machines for complex SaaS products.

With the rise in digital transformation, a new alternative is now available. This article will look at hybrid vs. blended learning, including the differences between the two, and how effective they can both be for software training.

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 two 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. In fact, since the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s now become the preferred learning and teaching model available for both students and instructors. For businesses, blending learning 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 merely passively watch an online lecture; instead, live classrooms incorporate interactive, virtual components.

A common example of this is virtual hands-on training experiences, where a company can replicate real-world SaaS environments 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 when looking at hybrid learning vs blended learning.

With a blended learning model, courses are created with a set amount of online vs offline instruction. There is no flexibility or last-minute changes in the curriculum, as the classes are already planned. While it is definitely an advantage for students to have both learning options, hybrid learning takes it a step further.

With a hybrid learning approach, the balance between online and offline instruction is flexible and can constantly change, depending on the needs of the students. In fact, with a hybrid learning model, instructors can tailor the online vs offline class ratio for individual students, to give everyone the absolute most effective course experience.

Recent advances in cloud technology have made both blended and hybrid learning more accessible and viable than ever, and provided new opportunities for organizations to offer more hybrid learning experiences that will fit individual needs.

What Are the Benefits of Online Learning?

Both hybrid and blended learning revolve around online interactions. Online classrooms and virtual training environments are more than just watching theoretical lectures via video-conferencing software like Zoom. Instead, they can now create impactful remote experiences to add engagement and interactivity on a granular level.

The benefits of online learning include:

  • Engagement: Maintaining one-on-one interactions between instructors and students, which increases the likelihood of user involvement.
  • Interactivity: Hands-on experiences through virtual simulations, tools, and exercises.
  • Cost-efficiency: Online hands-on experiences are cheaper to build and maintain than on-premises ones.
  • Flexibility: Schedule training whenever convenient, as travel plans are not necessary.
  • Capacity: An online classroom can open learning opportunities for a limitless number of users and trainees.
  • Scalability: A company can expand or decrease the number of environments they have deployed for a class.
  • Accessibility: 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, including Harvard professor Eric Mazur, who believes that active learning leads to active participation and engagement.

The hybrid model works so well because students work through realistic exercises rather than just passively consuming a theoretical lecture, pre-recorded content, and other disengaging 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

As travel becomes less essential, and remote working norms spread throughout the globe, modern business training is going the way of the hybrid model, as organizations realize that traditional on-site classrooms alone are not as effective.

The sophisticated technology offered by services like CloudShare can create hands-on, interactive learning environments your business partners and clients will appreciate.

Our platform enables you to instantly create customizable hands-on learning environments, quickly set up and start a new class, customize specifications for each user, actively control resource usage, track student progress through analytics, and make changes in real-time.

If you want your company to take advantage of online virtual classrooms, get in touch with CloudShare today.

This article was updated April 2022.