Companies and individuals no longer hesitate to implement this agile approach that combines the best of face-to-face and distance learning.
The figures speak for themselves: used by 54% of small businesses with less than 10 employees and 60% of training centers, Blended Learning is on the rise.
Blended Learning is a combination of several training mechanisms. A Blended Learning approach will, for example, involve lessons with a teacher (face to face, via videoconference, telephone, etc.) as well as online training such as that offered by Gymglish. Very popular among Human Resources professionals, Blended Learning is a rich and high added value option. Not to say that it can perform miracles, but with time and a reasonable budget, this method can address participation and motivation problems often associated with language learning. Why choose this approach? Today, we examine several compelling reasons.
Flexibility: a major advantage
One of the first arguments for implementing Blended Learning is flexibility. Beyond the face-to-face lessons that necessarily involve a fixed schedule, packages that include e-learning allow learners to make progress anywhere and at any time. Availability is a rare commodity for employees, who require mobile solutions that can adapt to their busy schedules.
A cost-effective solution
Blended Learning programs are an economical way of providing training. At Gymglish, we are well aware that learning with the help of a face-to-face teacher (in a real or virtual classroom) is an essential element in the learning process. Teachers devote their attention to one or several people for a precious period of time… but this has a cost.
In addition to the teacher’s time, there are travel expenses to be taken into consideration, and the cost of the employees being unavailable during the lesson: the price for this type of teaching can quickly exceed the training budgets for small or medium-sized businesses.
As illustrated by the flipped classroom concept, Blended Learning is cost-effective and allows students to benefit from longer training periods with the same budget. For instance, students can acquire knowledge online by themselves and then put what they have learned into practice with the teacher for conversation or coaching – i.e. when the teacher’s help is most valuable.
There is, of course, more than one way to learn a foreign language. You just have to find the way(s) that meet your employees’ needs.
For Liz Baron, Project Manager at Linguaphone, one of our longstanding partners and a major actor in Blended Learning training: “Face-to-face lessons are especially useful for people looking to improve their conversational skills. For example, we offer companies a mix of face-to-face lessons and online Gymglish lessons that complement each other very effectively. Gymglish courses help improve grammar, spelling as well as written and oral comprehension. Combined with a teacher’s input, Gymglish modules becomes a comprehensive package, enabling the learner to make real progress on all fronts“.
Enhanced monitoring of learners’ progress
For any given course, the teacher must keep track of his or her students at all costs. Teachers may be assessing the levels of (numerous) students once or twice a week, making it difficult to remember weaknesses and points for revision of each student, and how they progress over time. Gymglish, with daily learning and revision sessions, incorporates continuous assessment of the learner throughout the training period. Teachers receive updated and detailed reports of material that have been mastered, knowledge gaps, and areas requiring practice or revision. This is a considerable advantage in terms of personalizing lessons, both with the teacher and online. The statistics and points of improvement or mastery are available at a glance in real time for teachers and supervisors.
“Gymglish provides trainers with a “Teacher’s brief” allowing them to access up-to-date information about students’ participation rate, progress, knowledge gaps, requirements and questions in order to strengthen student-teacher communication/” explains Liz Baron.
In conclusion, the Blended Learning approach presents a good counter-argument to skeptics of e-learning’s ability to maintain student participation. As a package, it compensates for the self-learner’s “isolation” with support from a teacher (or coach) at regular intervals, while remaining within budget.
Contrary to what many people (including teachers) fear, e-learning and EdTech are not about to make the teacher’s role obsolete (in the way that self-driving cars could replace human drivers). In this age of e-learning, EdTech, MOOCS, Artificial Intelligence and adaptive learning, we will always need human guidance, even if this role evolves with more coaching, monitoring, discussion, and perhaps less top-down teaching (like at school).
At Gymglish we have been implementing up Blended Learning offers with our partner training organizations and language schools since 2006.