What is Online Blended Learning (OBL)?

 

All training providers are undoubtedly familiar with the terms ‘online learning’ and ‘blended learning’. But because we don’t have enough jargon in our industry (!), you may not have come across Online Blended Learning (or OBL for short).

This training format is increasingly in-demand from learners and clients, so it’s essential all training businesses have the flexibility to implement this into their offering.

What is Online Blended Learning (OBL)?

Firstly, let’s take a step back and consider ‘blended learning’. Wikipedia provides the following definition:

“Blended learning, also known as hybrid learning, is an approach to education that combines online educational materials and opportunities for interaction online with traditional place-based classroom methods.”

When the COVID pandemic struck, many training providers substituted in-person delivery with live online webinars using Zoom, GoTo Webinar or MS Teams. This involved cohorts of learners meeting ‘synchronously’ (another term for you – this means “at the same time”) to learn about a subject, discuss with a tutor and connect with their peers.

For many, this situation has not been reversed. Many training providers continue to deliver 100% online despite the possibility of face-to-face training because of the advantages this brings to the learners, their employers and training providers themselves.

Many are moving beyond delivery solely through online webinars too. Several of our clients mix self-study online learning with live zoom calls to create a rich learning experience – hence the importance of the word ‘blend’.

So, ‘blended learning’ does not accurately describe the predominant training format many training providers are adopting. Instead, ‘Online Blended learning’ captures both the delivery medium (Online) with the variety of approaches to learning that online can provide (Blend).

Why is Online Blended Learning (OBL) ideal for training providers?

Online Blended Learning (OBL) offers several advantages over other formats for corporate trainers.

Scalability

Online Blended Learning can be delivered globally with minimal barriers. Just factor in timezones – it may mean some early starts or late evenings for your tutors if you acquire a client on the other side of the globe!

Costs of delivery

Compared to 100% live online delivery, there are significant cost benefits to OBL. Instead of delivering all the input in Zoom sessions (requiring expensive tutor contact time), this can be studied on-demand by learners when they choose. Your tutor time can then be reallocated to other cohorts, getting more bang for your buck.

Compared to the more traditional view of blended learning (which involves some classroom training), the cost savings are apparent. No travel, venue hire, accommodation, printed material – this can all be reinvested into other areas of your training business.

Impact

Online Blended Learning provides opportunities to increase the impact of your training. Rather than absorbing everything in live group calls, learners can take the time to study in their own time and pace and come to the Zoom sessions with questions to ask.

In turn, this means valuable contact time with course participants can be spent checking understanding, going to greater depth on critical areas and facilitating discussion between participants.

Given the significantly reduced delivery costs for each live session, your intervention could be extended beyond the typical duration to increase impact over time, producing better results and improving performance.

Need help navigating online blended learning for your training business? We can help! Simply book your free discovery call today >

Andy Jack

Andy Jack

Andy works with training providers of all shapes and sizes to help them unlock the potential in their business. If not online, he'll usually be found up a mountain!

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