E-Learning Insider Blog

Blended Learning: Six Models, Unlimited Benefits


Learning something new entails much more than simply reading about a new concept and committing it to memory. Studies have shown most people learn in different ways, and implementing teaching techniques that address those variations is the best way to make sure learning is accomplished by an entire group, rather than just a few.

Today, one of the most popular approaches to learning is the blended learning approach, which enables students to learn at least part of their material through an online learning system, with the ability to control the time they learn, the speed at which they learn, the place where they complete learning activities, and other variables. The result is a custom learning experience that can be tailored and “tweaked” to suit each student's unique needs and preferences.

Award-winning educator, author and blended-learning specialist Michael B. Horn identifies six “models” of learning behavior that adapt well to a blended learning approach:

Model One: Face-to-Face 

In this model, in-person instructors deliver most of the material, using online learning experiences to supplement in-person lessons, either to enrich a fast learner or to provide remedial support for students who need additional help in learning.

Model Two: Rotation

In a rotational model, students move between learning in a one-to-one environment and using online learning systems to complete goals and learn new material. Rotation offers a self-paced experience that can be conducted in a traditional learning center like a classroom or off-site.

Model Three: Flex Programs

The flex model relies on an online learning management system to deliver the bulk of the materials, with instructors providing support as needed through one-on-one tutoring and guidance or small group sessions.

Model Four: Online Lab

This model uses an online learning management system to deliver all the learning materials, but in a specific learning center such as a school, classroom or other location dedicated to learning activities. Guidance and instruction is also typically provided online with occasional support from on-site personnel.

Model Five: Self-Blended

This approach relies on an online learning system and an off-site location of the student's choosing, combined with some on-site traditional learning with an instructor. The self-blended style is one of the most commonly used approaches in colleges and universities, and it's also gaining ground in many high schools.

Model Six: Online 

This model offers its learning materials exclusively through an online experience, which means all learning activities, instruction and teacher support are provided online via written or video modules, interactive experiences, Skype, email, chat rooms and other online media. All work is completed remotely with occasional face-to-face “check-ins” when deemed necessary.

Intuitively, blended learning makes sense; after all, when a student has more control over how he or she learns, it's easy to see how learning objectives can be better achieved. But there's more than common sense backing up the advantages of blended learning. In its meta-analysis and report entitled, Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning, the U.S. Department of Education evaluated more than 1,100 studies of online learning programs and found “in favor” of blended learning. The study looked solely at objective measurements of learning (outcomes) rather than subjective opinions to measure the actual effects of the blended learning approach.

Wise Businessware's LMS is specifically designed to support a blended learning approach, offering a library of diverse learning materials and a robust and responsive platform to enable businesses to provide the most effective learning environments for their employees. To learn more about Wise Businessware and the LMS solutions it provides, browse our website, use our online contact form to request a call back or schedule a consultation.