Given the global disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, blended learning has become one of the most talked-about approaches to learning today, both in reference to its use in a corporate training setting and its use in elementary, secondary, and higher education. The term is used to describe a learning approach that combines different methods of learning, whether it incorporates in-person classroom sessions, online learning, or other digital modes of learning. Rapid and widespread advances in digital technologies are redefining what is possible with blended learning.
Blended learning has also been proven to be an extremely effective method of teaching and training. According to a U.S. Department of Education study, strictly online education proved to be more effective than strictly classroom-based education, but the most successful outcomes involved a blended approach. A 2019 study on blended learning found that when human interaction was present in a blended workplace learning program, it was reported to be linked with more active behavioral engagement, higher cognitive engagement, and stronger and more positive emotional engagement than where human interaction was absent. It’s no wonder that blended learning is top of mind for learning and development leaders and training professionals.
The Skills Gap: Cause for Concern
Reskilling and upskilling workers is paramount for success in the future of work, and organizations cannot afford to overlook current and future skills gaps if they want to remain competitive and grow. The following data illustrates the scope of the problem:
- According to research and advisory firm Gartner, the number of skills required for a single job increases 10 percent annually.
- Business leaders surveyed for the most recent Future of Jobs report said that around 40 percent of their workforce would require reskilling in the near future.
- One-third of the skills that appeared in an average job posting in 2017 are no longer needed in 2021.
- A 2018 study by Dell Technologies predicted that 85 percent of jobs in 2030 don’t yet exist.
And further data show that workers want to learn new skills for the future:
- 71 percent of workers say job training and development increase their job satisfaction, and 61 percent say upskilling opportunities are an important reason to stay at their job.
- Studies show that 94 percent of workers would stay at their company if their company invested in their careers.
- 80 percent of workers agree that learning new skills would make them more engaged, but only 56 percent are actually learning these new skills.
As a training method, blended learning shows tremendous promise for both closing skills gaps and providing workers with the learning and development opportunities they desire.
Blended Learning for Training: Benefits and Advantages
Blended learning for employee training presents several key benefits and advantages, especially for reskilling and upskilling for the future of work. In today’s fast-paced and ever-evolving world, the average worker spends less than 25 minutes a week on formal learning. Blended learning that incorporates expertly designed skills training videos provides flexibility and freedom, allowing employees to engage in self-paced learning that can be accessed at any time, from anywhere.
In addition, blended learning that utilizes live, virtual instructor-led training allows for the same level of interaction and collaboration as in-person training sessions but also removes any geographical barriers, enabling effective instruction and learning in a more convenient and accessible manner than solely face-to-face training.
Whether organizations want live virtual training led by an expert instructor or prefer to have employees train via the most up-to-date, focused skills training videos, blended learning is a powerful method of delivering employee training, both now and for the future.