E-learning or face-to-face? Blended training is better!

In our last article we talked about the endless challenge between e-learning and face-to-face, explaining why digital training can help solve many issues related to engagement, cost and control. In this article we will try to describe which role is assigned to the face-to-face phase and how blended learning could boost the effectiveness of the training process. 

 

SOFT SKILLS AND HARD SKILLS: FROM DICTIONARY ENTRIES TO PRACTICE 

Let’s start with some basic definitions. Blended learning is the result of a mix of digital and traditional training methods, meaning using e-learning for some specific purposes and face-to-face for some others. 

It is proven to be particularly effective when involving soft skills, namely “desirable qualities for certain forms of employment that do not depend on acquired knowledge: they include common sense, the ability to deal with people, and a positive flexible attitude”. This kind of skills have been often neglected in corporate training, in favor of hard skills: those technical skills,either horizontal or vertical, required by an employee to perform its tasks. Dealing with “binary couplets” and having specific ways to be measured and tested, hard skills training is particularly suited for e-learning: the “if this, then that” approach is in fact very similar to computers’ logic and ensures a clear discrimination between correct and wrong. On the contrary, soft skills training implies a number of different opinions and perceptions of the world: this subjectivity usually needs to be explored through human interactions

 

PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS: HOW BLENDED TRAINING CAN HELP

It’s traditionally acknowledged that hard skills training does not require in-class interaction at all, while soft skills training cannot be done without face-to-face time. Well, neither of these statements is totally true. Working with a number of organizations in many business areas, we have learnt that different approaches can help reaching different goals, but blended learning is often the preferable solution to achieve the best results

Why? It all depends on how the training process is structured and how much you want your learning time to be valuable and effective for students. Let’s think about how every learner has a different background knowledge, as well as needing a specific lapse of time to acquire new information: how can you deal with these personal characteristics when having at your disposal the same time to train a number of people? 

 

ADAPTIVE LEARNING AND EFFECTIVENESS: THE NEW ROLE OF IN-CLASS TIME 

E-learning can come in handy to overcome this issue, giving each student a portfolio of learning contents, from which they can adaptively choose and use what they really need to fill in their gaps. We will talk about adaptive learning in a future article, but in short it implies that basing on preliminary exercises to assess existing knowledge and on progress tests to check achieved results, the learning process is tailored to suit the specific student’s needs. 

Despite being able to learn at their own pace and whenever they want, learners’ progress is always tracked and supervised by the trainer, who is able to send reminders to proceed with the assigned lessons or chat directly with his students.

Both in hard and soft skills training, after this independent e-learning phase, meeting the trainer in class can be useful to clarify any doubt arisen and fix contents firmly. Of course, this face-to-face lesson is way more effective, since trainers can be sure about the knowledge already acquired by their students. Instead of wasting time and energy trying to find the single way to convey content to learners with very different learning methods, they can therefore spend their in-class time to maximize everyone’s results, boosting the strength of the entire learning process.  

 

QUIDDIS ACADEMY: BLENDED TRAINING WITHIN EVERYONE’S REACH

All those premises led us to the creation of our own academy, based on the same principle that guided us when designing our e-learning platform Quiddis: user-friendliness, customizability and effectiveness

In terms of training process, we decided to begin our journey with a number of assessments specifically created to cover key-areas for business’ growth: knowing where an organization is placed in relation to them is the first essential step to design a tailored training path to reach the desired goals. 

Blended learning is of course the key: putting together our company’s knowledge in creating e-learning contents with the passion and experience of trainers, allowed us to provide a complete solution which follows any organization through the entire training process, from preliminary analysis to lessons’ delivery. If you want to know more about our academy, check the dedicated page on our website.  

 

Of course keeping most of your training material in cloud has many other benefits, especially in terms of safety. Would you like to find out how you can protect your content? Read our next article!

 

REFERENCES: 

Dictionary.com, Definition of Soft Skills

 

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