Blended learning or training - definition and explanation

Derek Stockley, Consultant, provides a definition and explanation of blended learning (hybrid learning) including soft skills.

Definition - blended learning/training

E-learning (elearning, eLearning) is the newer, more encompassing term for those activities previously described by the term "computer based training". Computer based training has existed for many years now.

Blended learning (also called hybrid learning) is the term used to describe learning or training events or activities where e-learning, in its various forms, is combined with more traditional forms of training such as "class room" training.

Blended learning can be delivered in a variety of ways. A common model is delivery of "theory" content by e-learning prior to actual attendance at a training course or program to put the "theory" into practice. This can be a very efficient and effective method of delivery, particularly if travel and accommodation costs are involved. This mixture of methods reflects the hybrid nature of the training.

A significant advantage of a blended program is the ability to cater for individual needs. An individual could receive additional information and training through extra e-learning programs whilst still attending class room training with other students. See: Setting training at the right level for an explanation of the importance of targeting training programs.

Another blended learning method is primary delivery by computer based training or another form of e-learning, augmented or supported by a trainer/tutor in the training room.

Soft skills training example

A design for a hybrid soft skills program, for example counselling skills, could be as follows:

Participant’s undertake an e-learning program (internet, intranet, CD, email) over a period (days, weeks). The program includes an explanation of counselling, various techniques, counselling situations and outcomes.

Participant’s complete some form of assessment prior to attendance (e-learning based).

Having met assessment criteria, participants attend a one day workshop to put the content into practice.

As a follow-up, participant’s undertake further e-learning study. The content could be individually tailored to meet individual needs.

More information and consulting assistance

Derek conducts in-house training. If this is not appropriate, he also provides an "on demand" or just-in-time (JIT) training service. It provides relevant and targeted training when a public short course is not available and in-house training is not appropriate. See: On-demand Training - Meeting Specific Training Needs.

If you are interested in general consulting assistance, or telephone or write to Derek Stockley at Derek Stockley Contact Details

A range of e-learning programs are listed at: Free Online Training and E-learning - a comprehensive list of free examples/tutorials on a variety of business and learning subjects.

The broader topic of training is discussed in detail in: Derek Stockley’s Training (Human Resources Development) Links.

For more information about Derek Stockley’s consulting services, select: Consulting Services - Derek Stockley