Remote work isn’t a freelancer’s extravaganza anymore. And it certainly isn’t just a solution to work from home while recovering from surgery or assisting a sick child.
With the growth of global workforces and a craving for flexibility, remote work is a reality and a choice. Nevertheless, nearly 50 percent of organizations haven’t adopted the fully remote work model. Instead, they adopted a meet-in-the-middle approach—the hybrid work model, with which came an associated increase in hybrid learning.
Curious to learn what learning (and training) hybridly means and what it can do for your company? Keep on reading!
What is hybrid learning?
The hybrid learning model consists of having some learners attend training sessions in person, whereas others join those sessions online from wherever they are. This means instructors deliver training remotely and on-site simultaneously.
To support face-to-face remote training, instructors use videoconferencing. But they complement it with asynchronous training resources, such as:
- Online assignments and assessments—like quizzes and tests
- Pre-recorded videos—which can be instructional videos recorded by the instructor or online learning videos the instructor reuses to teach or discuss an idea or concept with learners
Hybrid learning is the perfect marriage between the benefits of (virtual or in-person) instructor-led training—such as interaction—and those of eLearning—such as the convenience of being location-free.
Check out our post on why eLearning works.
Hybrid learning vs. blended learning
There’s a lot of misunderstanding about hybrid learning and blended learning, and we understand why. That’s because, first of all, they share training methods and materials—those of eLearning.
Second, they both include instructor-led training and asynchronous training resources and methods. The difference lies in the instructor-led part of the training.
- In the hybrid learning model, some learners are in a classroom, whereas others are at home or wherever they wish to be.
- In the blended learning model, all learners participate in instructor-led training sessions on-site.
But in both models, learners take online assignments and watch pre-recorded or reused online learning videos on their own time. Another similarity between the two models is the prioritization of offline training over online self-paced training. Finally, in both hybrid and blended learning, online materials are a supplement to in-class training.
Models for hybrid learning
These are the shapes and sizes of hybrid learning.
This model of hybrid learning revolves around learning styles. By contemplating different learning styles, your learners will absorb more knowledge more quickly. And you’ll appeal to the brains of a larger audience of individuals with distinct learning styles.
So, here are the four most popular learning styles and how you can address them in your training programs:
- Visual—This is for those learners who are better at absorbing visual information, such as illustrations, infographics, graphs, charts, and maps (not necessarily photos or videos). Visual learners are also very efficient at correlating information when all of it is represented visually.
- Auditory—This is for learners who prefer to take in information by hearing or saying it. They organize and make sense of ideas while talking aloud or speaking about them. And they also comprehend concepts better when someone else talks about, presents, or explains them orally. Instructor-led training sessions, oral discussions and debates, podcasts, and lesson recordings are very effective among auditory learners.
- Kinesthetic—This is for when your target audience learns by doing. These are people who love hands-on activities that involve action and movement. They understand information better after touching the objects or tools they’re learning about or after an instructor demonstrates how to perform a task. This means that physically practicing, simulating, and recreating examples works very well with kinesthetic learners.
- Reading and writing—This is aimed at learners who process text much better and faster than others, whether they read or write it down. They engage with training through (and perform well on) written assignments and quizzes. And the best thing you can do for their learning is to provide them with, for instance, lesson transcripts and written supplemental resources, such as eBooks, articles, guides, workbooks, and job aids.
Summing up, multimodal learning requires teaching with more than one of the styles above.
The hybrid learning model combines instructor-led training with eLearning. In other words, hybrid learning complements synchronous in-class sessions with eLearning resources for asynchronous training.
But online learning is a broader scope. It refers to learning from a distance through internet-based technologies, which allows for synchronous or asynchronous communication.
Now, regardless of the type of communication, online learning can be one of these kinds:
- Instructor-led—In instructor-led training, the instructor and learners interact remotely, online, and in real-time through video conferencing, discussion forums, and group chatting. Yet, the instructor may use message boards, forums, or chats to support the learning process, give feedback, and facilitate the interaction between learners out of class. The instructor may also pre-record lessons for learners to watch outside the classroom. Finally, when learners must complete activities or assignments, they have to do it within a timeframe. And that timeframe can end by a specific date—such as before a certain live class—or before the course ends.
- eLearning—Learners get a training experience in their own time from wherever they wish as long as they’re online. But in this case, learners:
- Don’t need to interact simultaneously
- Read, watch, or hear training materials at their own pace
- Can have a sense of instructor-led training by watching videos pre-recorded by an instructor
- Can complete activities on their own schedule while the course is still available
In both types of online learning—instructor-led training and eLearning—learners avoid commuting to a physical classroom. And activities or assessments are delivered and submitted online through a learning management system (or LMS).
In a flipped classroom—a traditional approach to blended learning—learners absorb new knowledge before on-site sessions. Then, while in class, they do critical thinking and problem-solving activities. It’s a dynamic, offline training environment in which learners interact with each other. Still, an instructor is in the room guiding learners while they apply the knowledge acquired outside of class. And that’s how the learning room turns into a place of practice and creative engagement in the training topic.
In a traditional classroom, the instructor introduces the training content to learners. And often, they must then complete projects independently off-site. On the other hand, in a flipped classroom, knowing the information before the in-person session is the learners’ responsibility. And that means this model cultivates their independence in the learning process.
Here are examples of what learners do off-site when they’re learning through the flipped classroom model:
- Watch online lectures and pre-recorded videos
- Read and review online training materials
- Conduct research independently
- Participate in online discussions
And here are examples of what they do on-site:
- Debate topics with other learners
- Present conclusions to each other
- Review and assess each other’s work
By flipping a classroom, instructors support learners with more precision. And here’s why: learners bring questions to the training room based on what they learned outside of class. And that’s a more efficient use of the instructor’s time.
Although the flipped classroom is a blended learning model, you can turn it into hybrid learning by allowing some learners to attend training sessions remotely while others are in class.
This is a more hands-on model of hybrid learning. Employees rotate between jobs within the same company at the same hierarchical level. By performing different roles (or the same role) in distinct departments, workers develop a wider range of competencies. For instance, a staff member may learn the logistics process of their company by performing various roles throughout the process.
Job rotation is also effective in preparing managers for taking on senior leadership positions. A senior leader must be an experienced leader, and managing projects and teams in diverse departments gives them that experience. In other words, job rotation enables effective succession planning. At the end of the day, job rotation allows you to build a more flexible workforce. And as a result, you’ll have multiple employees ready to perform the same role, which gives you options.
On the employees’ side, job rotation represents an opportunity for changing scenery and trying out varied responsibilities. And that’s a way to adapt and learn, which motivates staff and reduces employee turnover.
Just like flipped classrooms, job rotation is traditionally a blended learning model. But you can make it a hybrid learning model if you have a hybrid workforce with some people working from home and others in the office while they rotate roles.
Benefits of hybrid learning
Training hybridly means leveraging the perks of online learning without discarding those of in-person learning.
Hybrid learning is an excellent choice if your company is running on a tight budget. Why? Because hybrid learning allows organizations to cut down the number of office workers.
Similarly, the hybrid model saves on the cost of hiring external instructors or making internal ones available. After all, you’ll only need them for in-class training sessions and one-on-one virtual discussions.
Also, the cost-effectiveness of hybrid learning extends to logistics, specifically space rental savings. This means you don’t need big rooms for on-site learners.
And if these weren’t good enough reasons to go with hybrid learning, think of your business’s scale. With the hybrid learning model, you can seamlessly scale the number of online learners to maximize your training ROI. This also means you get to expand your hybrid training courses globally.
Variability for learners
When we think of hybrid learning and variability, the first thing that comes to mind is location. And that’s because hybrid learners can either commute to the training sites or join face-to-face training sessions remotely.
Then, hybrid courses include different channels to communicate with instructors and coworkers. And assessments are varied, too, entitling employees to demonstrate skills and knowledge in distinct ways.
Furthermore, you can choose the training method that best suits each training topic. And adopting multimodal learning enables you to accommodate multiple learning styles.
Any flavor of hybrid learning points you in the direction of high learner engagement levels and training effectiveness. And as a result, more staff members will complete your hybrid courses and grow their skills.
Efficient use of resources
The hybrid learning model is efficient for instructors, learners, and businesses. And that efficiency translates to consuming less time, money, and energy commuting to training sites.
Speaking of energy, imagine going to an in-person training session just to do an activity you could have done online from the comfort of your home. How frustrating would that be?
In efficient hybrid learning, a carefully prepared lesson plan is critical! It’ll help allocate resources so that in-class training doesn’t include lessons, activities, or assessments your employees can complete online from wherever they wish.
By training both office and remote workers simultaneously, hybrid learning enables companies to recruit worldwide. Consequently, besides becoming more diverse organizations, those companies reach out to talent they couldn’t otherwise.
Long story short, diversity brings innovation, and with innovation comes a higher bottom line.
By going through training materials online as often as they need to, employees learn in depth. They stick new knowledge and skills to their minds with stronger roots. And that makes them keep those competencies fresh in their memories for a long time.
On top of that, hybrid learning gives learners time to debate training topics with each other off-class. Online forums and chats are effective for exchanging well-thought arguments your staff might not have the time to exchange in class.
Engagement between peers
Real-time communication—and especially face-to-face interaction—is intrinsic to hybrid learning. And that’s why the hybrid learning model boosts engagement between your employees.
They develop meaningful work relationships, which generate a sense of belonging, promote collaboration, and feed a continuous learning culture. And those relationships carry on to the daily work lives of your staff members.
Hybrid learning bridges the gap between two employee groups: office and remote workers. And for instance, synchronous group activities or presentations followed by Q&A time do that impeccably.
Why hybrid learning for corporate training?
Since remote work has become natural and trendy, not going remote could take a toll on your business. It could cost you not having top talent in-house and reduce your odds of positive revenue growth by 69 percent.
But if you don’t want to have a remote workforce or can’t, most companies will have at least somewhat of a hybrid workplace. And because hybrid work still encompasses training everyone, hybrid learning for corporate training makes sense. Plus, 83 percent of employees prefer a hybrid workplace.
Are you ready for hybrid learning?
The hybrid learning model is still evolving. But if you think of how remote work has also changed, you might anticipate that hybrid learning for corporate training will follow a similar trajectory.
In the meantime, take a look at our learning solutions for distance learning and drop us a line! We’d love to help your business adopt hybrid work with our hybrid learning offer.