Blended learning: combine face-to-face and online language training to optimise learning

Blended learning is a buzz word in the world of language training. It essentially describes learning via a combination of methods, such as the mixture of face-to-face lessons and e-learning. Read more to find out how PLS’s blended learning solutions can save your business time and money.


How can you blend language learning?

Just like coffee, learning also comes in a variety of blends. Here are a few of the models of blended learning offered by language training providers:


Virtual classroom: The virtual classroom has become a staple of education in the COVID-19 landscape. Learners and teachers based all over the world can come together in this virtual space, using platforms such as Zoom, MS Teams and Adobe Connect. Features of virtual classrooms allow teachers to mimic the 4-walled classroom, by use of online whiteboards, screen sharing, annotation, file sharing and shared presenter functionalities.


Face-to-face: Lessons take place in person (not during the pandemic please!) but are supplemented using technology in the classroom. Examples of this include teachers using online resources, like Youtube videos, to conduct listening activities during lessons. Authentic texts from online newspapers may be used for reading or translation activities, and students may have the opportunity to complete grammatical exercises online during lessons.


E-learning: Another staple of lockdown, many educational institutions are offering self-paced online courses, potentially with periodic virtual tutorials. Learners complete online modules on Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs), and complete controlled exercises to demonstrate learning. Their teacher is able to monitor progress and answer any questions they have about the content. Some e-learning courses also offer weekly sessions with a teacher in a virtual classroom, so students can practice productive skills like speaking.


A blended learning course can combine two or more of the above elements, giving your students the best of both worlds and allowing them to create their own customised “blends”. Continuing the coffee analogy, the result is that students can each learn in the style and format that suits their learning objectives and preferences, each creating their own Spanish latte, combining face to face lessons with e-learning modules and a spoonful of pronunciation training. 



Benefits to businesses


Alongside the convenience of these flexible and customisable training programmes for your learners, there are a variety of reasons you may be interested in blended learning courses.


Big savings

With reduced travel-associated costs for trainers, online training can often be offered at a lower rate than face-to-face training. Further to this, by removing location barriers, language training providers can ensure that learners are matched with experienced, qualified tutors whose teaching style matches their learning preferences.

E-learning courses are often sold with a one-off licencing fee, reducing overall costs, and online assessment can provide cheap, instant diagnostic information outside of the lesson.  


Learners in the driving seat

Giving learners more control over the time and place they choose to study, the pace of their learning and even the learning path they choose to follow can help make learning languages much more accessible. Online modules can be more flexible timewise and learners and teachers can log-on as and when suits them. Self-paced modules allow for autonomy and make learners accountable for their learning, in turn making them much more likely to achieve their goals. In addition to this, you can increase opportunities for collaboration and create a community of learners, regardless of which office they are based in.


Sustainable learning

Did you study a language at school, yet can only remember a handful of words in that language? This is probably because older methodologies of language learning did not support sustainable learning. The autonomous aspect of blended learning can help learners develop valuable and necessary learning skills, promoting increased retention and the skills to continue learning independently.

As learners can discover content themselves, the rate of retention is increased and individual learning preferences are accommodated, creating a more individualised learning experience. E-learning also allows for bite-sized learning, which promotes access to relevant content as and when needed.


Meaningful interaction

As blended learning modules can take the discovery of new language areas outside of the lesson, it can facilitate Flipped Classroom methodologies. This includes more effective in-class interaction, as learners can review content outside of the classroom and then spend the full lesson time getting valuable practice and feedback from their teacher. As online groupings aren’t limited to location and time constraints, you can allow for more-homogenous groups with more-personalised learning support.


Management reporting

E-learning platforms incorporate attendance reporting, and a wealth of information on how students use the platform can be collated, so that L&D Managers can monitor learner usage. Usage can be a key source of feedback for continuous improvement and innovation of the learning programme. 


With the possibility of more personalised content, flexible delivery and return on investment, you can see why more language learners are opening their laptops and connecting to the online world of blended language learning.


PLS already provide blended learning to a variety of corporate and government clientsGet in touch today to discover how you & your employees can get set up on a blended learning language course.

Contact Us (HQ)

Language Solutions

7 King Street Cloisters

London, W6 0GY


Language Solutions Holdings - our companies

  Professional Language Solutions Ltd
Established in 1991, PLS provides language training in multiple formats and over 50 languages for corporate and government customers across the UK.
  Language Solutions International Ltd
Operating since 1993, LSI is the international wing of our organisation. We offer specialist English language training and assessments, as well as recruitment and manpower solutions for projects around the world.


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