Many businesses and organisations have chosen to maximise their L&D function with the help of e-learning technology, with plenty of organisations moving all their training online. However, many organisations still see the benefits of including some traditional face to face learning within their training programmes. For those organisations, blended learning serves as the perfect solution, catering to both online and offline learning requirements. To achieve a successful blended learning strategy, an organisation must employ e-learning software capable of supporting the range of functionality required to deliver this type of learning. Let’s explore some examples of how a Totara LMS can deliver effective blended learning.
What is blended learning?
Blended learning simply refers to the practice of combining traditional offline, face to face learning with online e-learning. For example, a teacher may ask their students to work their way through an online course via an e-learning platform in preparation for a seminar session in which the content of that course will be discussed in a classroom setting.
Many businesses and organisations will find that they can rely solely on online learning to deliver their L&D strategy, but some may find that certain subjects or training types are best suited to in-person training, such as physical health and safety training demonstrations.
How to use Totara to deliver blended learning
Although blended learning is made up of both offline and online learning, the two elements do not have to exist separately. In fact, it is beneficial and more effective if traditional classroom teaching methods weave seamlessly together with the e-learning software that facilitates online learning – ensuring that the two elements are indeed blended.
Using Totara Learn LMS, administrators and L&D co-ordinators can use powerful e-learning technology to organise and strategise offline learning. Totara Learn’s Seminar function allows admins to create, manage, and report on in-person/classroom-based events. Those organising the event can notify learners of the upcoming activity along with seeing in real time who has signed up to attend and who is yet to register. The Seminar module can serve as a booking system, detailing location, start and finish time, pricing (if applicable), capacity and much more.
With robust reporting tools in Totara Learn, attendance can be tracked, and reports generated, detailing areas such as those who attended or signed up. Administrators or L&D managers can use this data to shape further action such as sharing a recording or course materials with those who didn’t attend or enrolling them in the next face-to-face session.
There are many instances in which students or employees are required to carry out practical training and assessments, for example, medical students learning a new operating technique in a hospital environment. Although this style of teaching provides students with real-life, hands-on training – it is not logistically practical to teach or allow learners to practice in a physical setting.
Unfortunately for many students, practice makes perfect, and the physical limitations of classroom-based teaching can hinder learning progress. Totara Learn LMS can serve as a solution to this problem in providing the opportunity to deliver situation training or scenario-based learning.
With the right integrations, course creators can design a lesson that takes real-life situations and places them in a virtual teaching environment in which learners can work their way through a problem by making decisions or answering questions. If a learner makes a mistake, they will be presented with real-life consequences and may be asked to start the lesson again, allowing learners to make mistakes in a risk-free environment.
Situation training allows learners to practice as many times as they like without the physical limitations and additional costs of hiring out rooms, labs or equipment and having a teacher present. Once learners have completed the appropriate online training, they can then apply their knowledge in a physical setting – achieving an effective blended learning approach.
Learners are often required to complete end of course assessments and for some these may need to take place in a physical setting, such as an exam hall, test centre or classroom. Most learners will benefit from completing practice assessments to gain a good understanding of where their knowledge is lacking and to best prepare themselves for the official assessment.
It can be impractical to facilitate practice assessments in a physical setting - with a great deal of time and effort being spent on overseeing the process along with marking, grading and printing out materials etc. With Totara Learn’s assessment tools, practice assessments can be created to replicate final exams, enabling learners to practice on the e-learning platform.
Learners can complete practice assessments as many times as they need in order to feel prepared for the official assessment. The assessment tools on Totara Learn can be configured so that assessments are automatically graded, without any need for input from trainers/teachers, and learners receive their scores automatically. Site administrators can extract grades and results so that teachers can monitor learner progress and offer additional support if needed prior to final examinations.
When learners gather in a classroom setting, they will naturally engage in social learning through open discussions, asking questions and listening to each other’s ideas or opinions. Many learners greatly benefit from social learning opportunities which is why a blended learning strategy is particularly powerful when implemented to facilitate this type of learning.
With Totara Learn, learners can contribute to forum discussions, collaborative learning, blogs or live chats. With a blended learning strategy that utilises the full capabilities of e-learning software, social learning can be carried out anywhere, anytime with a full online record of discussions which learners can refer to and use to their advantage.
It is common for organisations to rely on certifications to serve as official recognition of learning completion and achievement. For larger or remote organisations, it can be difficult to manage and distribute these certifications if they are physical, printed copies. Additionally, many organisations will see several learners earning their credentials per week – resulting in a great deal of manual admin.
With Totara Learn’s certification tools, online badges or certificates can be automatically distributed to the relevant user profile once the criteria have been achieved to signify successful completion of training. Learners can easily access their certifications without having to rely on an organisation to verify and physically distribute it first. Regardless of whether training and assessments were carried out online or face to face, admins can rely on e-learning software to ensure learners get the proof of credentials they need to progress.
Offering a variety of lesson types
Blended learning makes it easy to effectively cater to a range of learner preferences and get the best outcome from L&D programmes. With the blended learning approach, those who benefit from face-to-face training can do so with in person classroom-based teaching but those who prefer to learn at their own pace and in their own environment can do so with online learning via an LMS.
Additionally, Totara Learn LMS allows administrators to include a wide range of lesson types, such as multimedia (video, audio clips, blogs) and gamified lessons. Lessons can be delivered using the microlearning technique, with lessons taking under 15 minutes to complete or through comprehensive eBooks - allowing students to do their own research. In using the wide range of tools, functions and vast capabilities of Totara Learn LMS, an organisation can deliver a truly blended, diverse and effective learning experience.
Want to learn more about Totara Learn?
Having read through just some of the ways Totara Learn can deliver effective blended learning with its broad range of functionality and powerful e-learning tools, perhaps you’d like to learn more about what this comprehensive learning management system is capable of? If you’d like to find out what Totara Learn could do for your organisation, book a demo with one of our LMS experts here or learn more about Totara’s full suite of products here.
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