Blended learning

A combination of different training methods, e.g. e-learning and face-to-face events or asynchronous and synchronous training.

Area of application

Blended Learning means a blend of different training methods. Usually it refers to a mix of face-to-face training and e-learning but in this profile  it is understood as a combination of live online events (online seminars, group meetings, virtual workshops, classroom trainings etc.) and asynchronous e-learning (such as Web-Based Trainings, learning nuggets, etc.).


The level of interaction in Blended Learning varies depending on the educational concept and design as well as on the teaching content and target group. In general, the larger the proportion of synchronous modules, the more interaction there is.

Virtual mode

In this version of Blended Learning face-to-face components are conducted virtually. Advantages include ability to reach participants in remote areas and potential to enroll a larger pool of participants (even though this would also depend on constraints due to the level of interaction foreseen in the synchronous components). The main disadvantage is lack of direct contact which can inhibit participants’ learning results and motivation.


The methods used in Blended Learning are numerous. Instead of listing them here, the respective profiles can be consulted (see above). The choice of method mainly depends on the target group but also on the subject of the training, on the intended length, etc.

For example, for a large target group (e.g. over 50 persons), the appropriate synchronous online event would be an online seminar instead of a group meeting. If participants cannot be expected to engage with the learning material in long sittings, but instead learn on the fly, for example while waiting for a bus or during a short break, then it is more appropriate to use Learning Nuggets (which only take a few minutes to complete) instead of Web-Based Training (which is often optimized for longer learning periods of 20 minutes or longer). If participants prefer reading a print document instead of working online, simple documents can be used for the asynchronous part of the Blended Learning.

Some relevant information can be found in the learning experience “Combining Synchronous and Asynchronous Working”. However, it is important to keep in mind that Blended Learning has a specific focus, which is learning.



Enough time should be dedicated to preparing a clear sequence of activities in the Blended Learning and developing a plan in advance for what to do and when. Things to be considered include:

  • what learning material to distribute, when and how;
  • what assignment to give to participants with what expected output and deadline;
  • when to schedule online events and with what scope.

This schedule should be clearly communicated to the participants at the beginning of the course and made available for them to download at any time.

Make sure that all team members are on board! Every moderator and trainer need to know what his/her tasks are and when to step in during the course. A moderation plan should be developed for each team, together with all parties involved (see also learning experience “Moderation Script”).

Often the time required to support participants during the asynchronous learning is underestimated. However, time needs to be invested to keep participants engaged. This can be done by staying in touch with them on a regular basis, monitoring activity to understand who is active or not and making sure to reach out to those who are inactive to understand why.

Reasons for inactivity can include, among others, technical problems, lack of time, lack of interest. Find valuable tips in the learning experience “Tutoring”.




The time it takes to develop and implement a course of Blended Learning is difficult to estimate. The length of the course is one factor. Another important aspect is whether the learning material is already available or needs to be developed first. In the latter case, the required time will be much more.



A general budget is hard to estimate. It depends, among other things, on the persons involved and their daily rates, on the length of the course, and on whether licenses need to be purchased (e.g. for online learning material).



The asynchronous part can be designed in various ways. If all learning materials are in PDF format only, they can be distributed via email or the cloud. Usually, however, interactive training material is used, which requires a platform. This platform ideally offers some communication tools for asynchronous communication like discussion forums, etc. Classical platforms for e-learning are called Learning Management Systems (LMS) and provide a comprehensive set of features for e-learning. One example of an LMS is Moodle.



Blended Learning is developed and conducted by a team of instructors and support persons. The main roles are:

Facilitator, moderator:
provides organisational support (e.g. communicating assignments and deadlines) or motivation



Heike Koch

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