Blended Learning vs Flipped Learning: Can You Tell The Difference?

Blended Learning vs Flipped Learning: Can You Tell The Difference?
Summary: Even experienced eLearning professionals may find it challenging to differentiate between blended learning vs. flipped learning, thanks to the fact that the two terms are so often used in lieu of one another. While the two do have much in common, there are also key differences that set them apart. In this article, I’ll not only compare and contrast these two eLearning approaches, but also share some tips on how to create an instructional strategy for each.

Blended Learning vs Flipped Learning: What eLearning Professionals Should Know

Before we delve into how to use blended learning vs flipped learning, let’s explore how the two approaches differ:

  • Blended Learning.
    Blended learning involves online and face-to-face instruction. Both are used alongside each other in order to provide a comprehensive learning experience. For example, a trainer might give learners a list of online resources they can use to broaden their understanding of the topic, or ask them to complete an online group project that centers on a subject they are currently discussing. In the case of blended learning, online materials do not take the place of face-to-face instruction; instead, the two modalities complement one another. They truly “blend” in order to create an enriched online training environment for the learner.
  • Flipped Learning.
    Flipped learning, which is also known as a flipped classroom, is a bit more clear-cut. There is a divide between the technology and face-to-face elements of the learning experience. A learner is asked to watch an eLearning video or participate in another online learning exercise BEFORE coming to class. In the classroom the new materials are explored at-length. In most cases, the knowledge that is learned online is applied in the classroom.

3 Tips For Designing A Successful Blended Learning Strategy

  1. Define goals and expectations beforehand.
    Before you start to bring technology into the classroom, you must first clearly define what that technology will be, how it will be used, and what learning goals it must serve. How interactive is your eLearning course going to be and to what degree will technology be used? Are you going to encourage your learners to use technology on a daily basis, or on an occasional basis? You should also ensure that your learners are comfortable with the devices being used and are aware of what eLearning activities and exercises are going to be taking place online.
  2. Offer supplemental online resources.
    One of the most convincing arguments in favor of using the blended learning approach is that you get to offer your learners an abundance of supplemental resources. If a learner is struggling, provide them with a list of articles and sites they might find helpful. If a learner is excelling, give them the opportunity to learn more on their own through informative eLearning videos and online lectures.
  3. Evolve and expand.
    Get regular feedback from your learners and instructors to find out what is working and what needs to be fine-tuned. Keep in mind that a blended learning strategy must constantly evolve and expand based upon the needs of your learners and the technology that is available. Conduct surveys, polls, and interviews to determine how you can create an effective blended learning strategy. Also, offer consistent support for your learners and instructors so that they can use the tools effectively and don’t allow questions or concerns to stand in the way of the learning process.
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3 Tips For Designing A Successful Flipped Learning Strategy

  1. Prioritize learning goals and objectives.
    Figure out what elements of the lesson should be covered in the tech portion of the curriculum, and which are better suited for classroom time. You can do this by prioritizing learning goals and objectives. For example, if you place a specific learning goal at the top of your list, you know that it should probably be covered in an eLearning video before the class and during the face-to-face instruction. This allows you to cater to a wide range of learning styles and ensure that every learner fully comprehends the topics and ideas involved. As a general rule, learning goals that are of a lower priority should be covered in online videos, while more pressing goals should be explored at-length in the classroom.
  2. Give learners the oppotunity to apply their knowledge. 
    The key to a winning flipped classroom strategy is giving your learners the opportunity to apply what they have learned before coming to class. If they watch an online presentation that delves into a particular subject, encourage them to apply their new skills and information through interactive role plays, and other classroom project-based learning activities. You now have more time to carry out these more immersive exercises, thanks to the fact that you don’t need to hold a 20 minute lecture about the topic; it’s already been covered in the eLearning video.
  3. Make online videos concise and clear.
    Try to keep your online videos as short and concise as possible, while still including all of the major points. In fact, five to ten minutes is the goal. Any longer than that and you run the risk of boring your learners or overloading them mentally. This means that you will have to be direct and choose your words very carefully. You may also want to give them a video viewing schedule that they can use to stay on-track. For example, provide them with a monthly schedule that gives them a deadline by when they must watch each online video, so that they have plenty of time to absorb the information before attending class.

Both instructional approaches offer their fair share of benefits. Choosing the right one greatly depends on the learning objectives and the needs of your learners, as well as the resources that you have available. So, take the time to research each model to determine which is right for your audience, or try experimenting with both to put a hybrid spin on your learning experiences.

Looking for more information on blended training programs? Read the article Tips To Use Blended Learning In Corporate Training to further explore how to use blended learning in corporate training.