Why blend e-learning and classroom learning tools together on one platform? Because everyone learns differently. This is a great way to appeal to a broader audience of learners.
In 2016, I travelled to Hua Hin, Thailand, to study and obtain a TESOL certification in a classroom setting. Following course completion, I taught English as a second language at a school in Bangkok for one term. This was a lifelong dream realized, and I’m so glad I did it. In fact, I shared this powerful experience with dozens more people from around the world. I gained many new friends and fond memories during that month in Hua Hin. Every time I think about it, I smile.
The Pros and Cons of E-Learning and Classroom Learning
One of my closest friends from that time is a fellow Canadian named Christine. She not only studied the TESOL course in our Hua Hin classroom. Actually, a month earlier, she had studied the same course via XploreAsia‘s online learning portal. She said the online course had been a good primer for what was to come. But she enjoyed the classroom setting so much more. Here are some common thoughts about the pros and cons of each learning style that echo Christine’s perspective:
E-Learning Pros and Cons
– self-paced, flexible scheduling
– student-centred instead of instructor-centred
– flexible location and content (study with anyone around the world)
– unlimited access to digital course materials
– information is easily stored on a cloud and accessible from anywhere
– lack of immediate, personalized feedback
– no one else around to bounce ideas off for inspiration
Classroom Learning Pros and Cons
– feedback sharing with the instructor and other students
– shared energy and ideas is motivational
– sense of community in a social environment
– close friendships formed with other students
– printed materials (e.g., booklets, certificates, diplomas, awards) for students to take away and display on home or office walls
– instructor-centred instead of student-centred
– scheduling and location constraints
– more expensive lesson delivery model (printing costs)
Companies like XploreAsia are smart to offer both e-learning and classroom learning options for students. But I’ll take it a step further than that. As someone who produces both online content and print materials for a wide variety of clients, I say don’t offer both separately; blend them together to ensure continuity in branding and course materials. You’ll reach both audiences more effectively and efficiently this way.
Why Blend E-Learning and Classroom Learning Tools?
Just as some students prefer a social classroom setting to a student-centred e-learning setting, there are still others who prefer to hold physical materials in their hands. They want to write with a pen, feel the paper as they turn the pages of a book. For these people, the receipt of a physical certificate of completion or award is a more fulfilling conclusion to all their hard work than a virtual report card on a computer screen. But there are even more great reasons to blend the two tools.
Make Your Tools Screen-ready and Print-ready
Many people create their own training manuals, booklets, worksheets, or other marketing materials using programs like Microsoft Publisher. They may save .PDFs of these files to their websites for long-distance learning students to download and print locally. Unfortunately, they’re often perplexed and frustrated when these documents look different in printed form than on their computer screens.
Colours are complicated. Professional documents require more finesse to ensure proper printing—to ensure the branding continuity that all businesses want. Since most educational institutions use digital printers, and most individuals use ink jets at home, long-distance learning materials should be designed to print well on both. The best way to ensure this is to hire a professional graphic designer who understands printing to produce these print-ready .PDF files. Unfortunately, not every designer does.
Work with Professionals Who Understand Both Worlds
When you put your entire e-learning and classroom learning program into the hands of people who understand both worlds, you’ll be dazzled by the results. So will your students.
When one team designs all the artwork for your ebooks, audiobooks, and print materials plus helps you with writing, editing, and every other part of the publishing process, things will run more smoothly and efficiently for you. When that same team is highly experienced with both profitable online selling plus all the nuances of professional graphic design and all types of printing, you’ll save time and money in the long run. You’ll earn more, too.
Your Personal Library of Blended E-Learning and Classroom Learning Tools
Over the next year, I’ll be producing a variety of books covering all the topics represented in the icons above. These materials will contain ideas for how you can blend your current e-learning and classroom learning tools in cost-effective ways, so you can reach more students.
I’ll cover audiobooks, ebooks, paperbacks, podcasting, and webinars. Each lesson will also contain some great print-related ideas, including branded items you may want to offer on your online store along with printable study materials. You’ll also receive advice on how each item should be designed to ensure it’s screen-ready and print-ready for every student.
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