Hybrid learning is probably something you heard more about over the past year than ever before, particularly in the context of K-12 education.
While many schools are planning to reopen in the fall following the COVID-19 pandemic, that doesn’t mean hybrid learning will be leaving any time soon. Hybrid learning can be relevant not just in school-based education, but it’s also something employers should learn more about.
Employee training and development is increasingly being delivered in an e-Learning format, which might include elements of hybrid learning.
According to eThink Education, hybrid learning is a way to combine traditional classroom experiences with digital course delivery. Hybrid classrooms are different from blended learning models because, in blended learning, the goal is to balance face-to-face learning with online learning. A hybrid learning approach tends to be more specific to the audience and the content being taught.
With that in mind, the following are some of the pros and cons of hybrid learning that educators, parents, students, and employers might need to be aware of going forward.
The Pros of Hybrid Learning
The pros of hybrid learning, particularly in the context of employee training and development, include:
A hybrid learning strategy is a cost-effective option for many businesses, and it can be a way to reduce costs in a traditional education environment as well.
With hybrid learning, there are opportunities for employees to learn on their own, in a self-paced way. That means they’re spending more time actually working and less time in training sessions.
It also doesn’t require as many resources to implement hybrid learning. For example, you’re not always paying for an instructor’s time, you don’t have to rent a training space, and the course materials can be quickly and inexpensively updated.
There Is Constant Availability to Training Resources
With hybrid learning, your employees can access the training content they need when they need it. For example, if they’re on the sales floor and they need product specs, it’s easy to access this information.
They have information available to them on-demand, so there’s no waiting to find the answer to a question.
Hybrid learning provides the opportunity to be more personalized in training delivery.
Employees can learn in the way that best suits them, and they can do so at their own pace. It’s also relatively easy to tailor training to certain performance goals.
Then, employees and students aren’t required to sit through training sessions that aren’t going to provide them with value.
It’s Easy To Monitor Progress and Skills Development
The entire goal of employee training is to help with skills development and the meeting of performance goals.
You, as an employer, need to be able to track that, and an e-learning platform is a good, easy way to have a centralized view of how employees are progressing in their training and what skills they’re learning along the way.
The Cons of Hybrid Learning
There are potential downsides of hybrid learning, but these can often be overcome. You need to recognize what these downsides are and plan ways to work around them or avoid them. These can include:
You Need to Have the Necessary Technology
If you’re going to buy learning technology for a hybrid training and development program, you will have to factor that initial investment into your budget.
A way to work around this and save some money is to use an eLearning platform and then have employees bring their own devices from which they can access the content.
Learners Have to Be Comfortable with Technology
Another possible roadblock is that learners need to have a general comfort level with technology since so much of hybrid learning involves eLearning.
If you have workers who are tech or change-resistant, you might have to work a little harder to get buy-in from them. You need to work to motivate learners and show them why the training is important and will improve their daily experiences at work.
There May Be Less Engagement
Another overall hurdle that you should prepare for if you’re planning to implement hybrid learning or development is that the engagement might be generally lower.
You can overcome this in how you create and deliver content, but it’s something you really have to be mindful of.
Overall, hybrid learning represents a unique opportunity right now, particularly for employee training and development, with an eye toward possible obstacles and how to overcome those.