Blended learning - is it the right way to train your staff?

We've invited our friends at training software company AccessPlanit to tell us all about the benefits of online, face-to-face training, and how it is possible and fruitful to offer a blend of both.

Finding the right training courses for your staff members is an important task. Often you will start by choosing between an in-house trainer, or an online course. How do you know which is best for you and your team? And is there another option?

Choosing the right course for you will ultimately come down to what you’re learning, who’s learning it, and what industry you’re in. To help you make the right choice, we've broken down the benefits of both face-to-face and e-learning, and included some expert opinions from AccessPlanit’s census of training professionals. 

Benefits of face-to-face learning

1. Personal experience

Giving learners the chance to ask questions and directly interact with their trainers, as well as other learners, can help keep motivation and course attendance high. Many blended courses require some classroom attendance as the main form of social learning because they understand the importance of discussion amongst peers.

2. Assessing learners' needs

 In a classroom or face-to-face learning environment, it is easier for the trainer to assess the needs of their students and spend the extra time with students who may need it more. The ability for learners to ask in-the-moment questions allows the trainer to be more responsive, adding to the possibility for advanced levels of learning. 

“I believe in-person training provides more value to the learner for two reasons. First, the instructor can see the facial expressions and body language of learners and adjust the presentation for clarity. Second, the learners may find it easier to interrupt or gain the instructor’s attention to ask questions when the thought arises."

- Jennifer Seitz - Training System Administrator at University of Florida Training & Organisational Development

3. Tech issues 

 Not all learners are comfortable with, or have the skill-set needed, to complete an entirely online course. This must be taken into consideration when booking a training session. Who are you booking it for? And how tech-savvy are they? The process of logging-on, navigating panels or pages, completing, saving and sending documents may be too much extra work to process for some learners. 

Benefits of e-learning

1. Accessibility 

Online learning is both beneficial and attractive to a wide cross-section of learners. E-learning allows more people to access courses from a distance, as well as offering those who are less able to learn in a traditional setting the same access to resources. The accessible-from-anywhere aspect of e-learning is encouraging more people to re-enter higher education and up-skill in the workplace. 

2. Learner experience 

The ability to more accurately measure a learner’s progress through data collection means that trainers have the ability to tailor their courses to an individual student’s needs. People can be automatically informed when they need to update their training or have a deadline to meet. Learners can use their own devices on-the-go. The gamification of many online learning systems means that we are now able to make learning more visual and fun. This all culminates in an overall more personal and engaging learning process; one which many trainers and companies are adopting, including Posturite.

“Trainers comfortable in the classroom are becoming increasingly comfortable using online learning to add value to their courses”

David Patterson - Director and Consultant at Learning Light Limited 

3. Cost efficiency

Once an online course is up and running, there is no longer a need for venue hire, travel and other arbitrary expenses, making e-learning cost-beneficial to both trainers and learners. Although the initial set-up of an online learning system does have costs involved, the long-term financial benefits outweigh this.

The future is blended 

While there are benefits (and downsides) to both styles of learning, an almost unanimous cross-section of trainers agree that a clever blend of the two can add much value to any course. Even hands-on courses such as CPR training can be followed up with online discussions, tests and visual reminder segments. Online course can benefit from face-to-face peer interaction. The most important thing to consider is always the learner and what they need from their course.

Posturite offers blended learning for many health and safety subjects, including first aid and manual handling. Find out more about the training courses we offer.