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14th March 2023

Blended Learning in 2023: Definition, Benefits & 4 Concepts

Masterplan TeamMasterplan Team
Blended Learning in 2023: Definition, Benefits & 4 Concepts

Learning is not a singular event, but a continuous process - and it needs to be diversified! In this context, blended learning in particular offers many advantages for employees and companies. In this article, you will learn which 4 concepts L&D managers can use to implement it successfully.

In this article you can expect the following:

  • Blended Learning – Definition & Benefits

  • Blended learning benefits: 6 reasons to give it a try

  • Blended learning concepts: 4 learning form mixes with examples

  • Conclusion

Blended Learning – Definition

What is blended learning anyway and why is it useful?

Blended Learning: Definition
Blended learning (also: integrated learning) describes in a narrower sense a didactic combination of face-to-face activities and e-learning formats.

However, blended learning can also be understood in a broader sense, namely as a combination of synchronous and asynchronous learning in which participants either come together at the same time in the same place (digitally or physically) or learn in a self-directed and flexible manner. Then it can also take place completely digitally or as a combination of online and offline learning.

According to the mmb Learning Delphi 2020/2021 trend study, blended learning will play the most important role in digital learning in the future. Almost 80% of L&D and HR managers see the availability of different forms of learning as essential or very important to support learning initiatives.

In short, it's all in the mix. And that is also scientifically proven:

  1. Increasing motivation to learn: A study by Will Talheimer (2018) found that a blended learning approach significantly increased motivation of employees to learn compared to pure face-to-face instruction as well as pure e-learning.

  2. Increasing learning performance: The study "The Effectiveness of Blended Learning in Corporate Training Programs" by Clark & Mayer (2016) suggests that combining different learning formats, including e-learning and classroom training, leads to better learning outcomes.

  3. Improving collaboration: Azukas (2019) research concludes that a blended learning environment helps foster community and working relationships.

There are many different blended learning models, but they all share a few common characteristics:

  • The focus is on user-centered learning With blended learning, employees have more control over their training. They can move at their own pace and learn in the way that works best for them.

  • Increased use of technology Blended learning uses digital resources, which include online learning platforms and apps, i.e., LMS, LXP, and LEP, such as Masterplan.

  • A mix of face-2-face and online instruction Employees have face-to-face contact with colleagues and instructors while learning, but they also have access to digital resources.

Blended learning benefits: 6 reasons to give it a try

Blended learning enables flexible learning through a combination of learning forms - aligned to the individual needs of the employees (whereby there are no learning types in the scientific sense!).

It combines digital forms of learning with face-to-face activities and thus the advantages of "both worlds".

There are six advantages for companies and employees:

1. Flexibility through user-centering

Blended learning gives companies the opportunity to train employees according to their needs. It focuses on the individual preferences of the learners.

This allows employees to learn very flexibly in terms of location, time, and forms of learning. The learner-centered approach affects a total of four dimensions, namely time (Time), place (Place), learning path (Path) and learning speed (Pace):



Early riser or night owl? Depending on their approach, learners decide for themselves when to engage with the content during the online phase. This allows everyone to create the optimal learning conditions for themselves.

Learners may be self-directed to some degree, depending on the approach chosen, and may go through modules in which they are guided or join learning groups.


Learning activities are not limited to a specific location, but take place both online and offline, depending on the approach.

Teachers allow for a certain amount of autonomous learning at individual learning speeds, depending on the approach.


2. Higher motivation through social learning

Social learning refers to the idea of learning together through social interaction. It can take place in groups or in one on one coaching as long as there is an exchange between the participants.

The idea was popularized as early as the 1970s by Albert Bandura's social learning theory. According to this theory, learning depends on the social context: We learn primarily by observing the behavior of others.

Blended learning can be a way to promote social learning, for example by stimulating discussion topics in an online course and holding the actual group discussion in a face-to-face meeting. In this way, all learners can contribute their experiences and benefit from the knowledge of others, which increases the learning effect for everyone.

Want to learn more about employee motivation and blended learning? Then check out our recording of the webinar with Learning Expert Benjamin Jaksch!

3. Better learning results against the forgetting curve

As early as 1885, the German psychologist Dr. Hermann Ebbinghaus stated that there is a learning curve in the acquisition of new information and skills. According to this, knowledge is definitely lost over time without sufficient support and practice.

So what can be done? In order to sustainably consolidate knowledge, it must be continuously repeated, relearned, reviewed and applied - this is exactly what the continuous method mix of blended learning addresses.

Units for imparting knowledge can be combined with other units in which what has been learned has to be applied or presented, for example. In this way, new impulses are always set that reactivate the knowledge.

4. Improved communication

Blended learning facilitates communication among learners through the use of technology, even if they are not meeting in the same place at the same time. This is particularly practical in times of pandemic workplace dislocation.

On the one hand, this applies to synchronous exchange in learning groups and between learners and teachers, for example via video chat. On the other hand, however, digital learning platforms also offer learners and teachers the opportunity to exchange information asynchronously and thus quickly.

For example, if comprehension questions can be shared and clarified via forums or chats before a classroom activity, there is more time for the actual learning content during the activity itself. And if presentations, recordings or other information are available online afterwards, even those who are absent are brought up to the same level of knowledge.

In addition, a learning platform can serve as a collection of resources so that learners can continuously access learning materials, course schedules, and progress information.

5. Measurability of the effects of the improved learning process.

If digital learning is mapped via an e-learning platform, the learning success can be checked by the learners themselves via interactive feedback or tests/quizzes, for example, which supports self-directed learning.

In addition, teachers can then use quiz data, comments, and annotations from the learning platform to prepare the classroom activity, for example, in order to tailor subsequent learning content even better to the needs of the learners.

Through reporting, teachers also have access to the individual learning progress of learners and can assign individual tasks based on the identified strengths and weaknesses. This measurability of learning activities is, of course, ultimately also the basis for determining the return on learning from continuing education.

6. Cost saving

Blended learning can reduce face-to-face events and thus save travel costs and organizational effort. Digital learning materials and tools are generally more cost-effective in terms of ROI of Learning than pure on-site training and enable a more efficient use of resources.

In short, knowledge transfer can be scaled via digital tools. Instead of multiple face-to-face presentations for different departments by one person, for example, the presentation can be recorded once and made available to everyone as a video.

The advantages of blended learning are obvious, but choosing the right methods requires a sure instinct. We show practical ways to combine e-learning sensibly with other forms of learning.

Blended Learning Concepts: 4 Learning Form Mixes with Examples

There is no universal recipe for blended learning. Every company has to find the right setup for itself. But fortunately, there are different blended learning approaches that L&D managers can use as a starting point for planning and conception.

We would like to highlight four models that incorporate online and offline forms of learning in varying proportions, as well as asynchronous and synchronous face-to-face learning.

1. The À La Carte Model

Learning site

Learning process

Role of the learner

Role of the teacher


Individual and asynchronous


Contact person for queries, if necessary 1-to-1 support on site or online


In the "à la carte" learning model, employees decide which learning formats they want to follow, depending on their needs. In the spirit of self-directed learning, they become agents of their own further development. All learning materials are freely available to them.

A teacher can take action as a contact:in for queries and regularly exchange information with learners on learning progress, either in face-to-face meetings, e.g. also via Zoom, or via the communication options of the learning platform itself.

In a nutshell: À la carte
  • Personalized Learning Paths: Learners can take charge of their own learning and thus engage more intensively with the subject matter, regardless of location and time. Teachers can offer personal 1-to-1 support offline or online.
  • Learning at your own pace: Participants are free to allocate their time to specific learning materials.
  • Reach more employees with fewer resources: The digital À la carte model enables standardized knowledge transfer with comparatively little organizational effort. For example, many employees can be reached with the same content at the same time for onboarding.
  • Provision of an à la carte library For example, creating or delivering an À la carte library of e-learning courses can be done through a Learning Experience Platform such as Masterplan.

Excursion: Microlearning

The à la carte model is particularly well suited to integrating the learning form of microlearning and thus keeping employees' attention high during self-directed learning.

This is because it is a form of learning that uses particularly short learning content to teach specific skills or areas of knowledge.

Different studies come to the conclusion that knowledge transfer is more successful via short learning units. This learning content can take the form of short texts, videos, quizzes or other interactive formats.

Example "Masterplan Shorts"

An example of microlearning are the video lessons at Masterplan with a maximum length of 8 minutes. They cover a specific topic or skill that is relevant to the learner's work. By focusing on one specific topic per lesson, the learner can quickly and effectively absorb the required knowledge.

The "Masterplan Shorts" format even goes one step further from microlearning to "nanolearning": even shorter videos that do not build on each other in terms of content and thus represent small, compact "knowledge bites" that can be flexibly integrated into the learning experience.

2. The Flex Model / Online Driver

Learning site

Learning process

Role of the learner

Role of the teacher

Focus on online

Combination of asynchronous and synchronous training

Autonomous, with collaborative part

Support varies depending on implementation

This blended learning concept relies on digital delivery of training (e-learning). It is a combination of synchronous training (e.g. live webinars, peer-to-peer learning, etc.) and asynchronous learning units (e.g. self-study e-courses).

Teaching paths are individual and fluid. The depth, frequency, and type of instructor support varies depending on the implementation model.

Face-to-face sessions, e-learning courses, project work, and individual coaching can be combined to meet participants' learning needs and preferences.

In a nutshell: The Flex Model
  • Flexibility: The Flex model offers learners the ability to complete content and assignments at a time of their choosing and from their preferred location.
  • Personalization: The Flex model offers learners the opportunity to take into account their own learning style and needs.
  • Interaction: The Flex model encourages interaction between learners and instructors through shared virtual labs, discussion forums, and group projects.
  • Sustainability: In the Flex model, learners are encouraged to actively apply and deepen what they have learned. As a result, the knowledge is anchored in the long term and can be recalled more easily in the future.

3. The Enriched Virtual Learning Model

Learning site

Learning process

Role of the learner

Role of the teacher

Focus on online

Focus on asynchronous learning, enriched by face-to-face events

Autonomous, with collaborative part

Support varies depending on implementation

Enriched Virtual Learning is a form of blended learning that focuses on online-based learning but also includes face-to-face activities. There may be a face-to-face seminar or workshop at the beginning or end of a learning path.

On the one hand, to help employees apply the knowledge they have acquired and, on the other, to give them the opportunity to practice their skills in a real environment.

In a nutshell: The Enriched-Virtual-Learning-Model
  • Integration of virtual and presence learning environments: Dovetail online and face-to-face learning environments to provide a varied learning and teaching experience.
  • Interaction: Through increased interaction and collaboration, employees are encouraged to actively participate in the learning process and communicate with each other.
  • Flexibility The flexibility and accessibility of Enriched Virtual Learning allows employees to participate in classes from anywhere, at any time.

    It is conceivable, for example, to expand the à la carte model to an enriched virtual model and to enrich the individual learning paths with fixed appointments for a joint exchange or impulse lectures in presence.

    Examples of Masterplan

    1. Coffee xChange

    At "Coffee xChange", participants exchange ideas on master plan content in a relaxed environment and share concrete ideas for their everyday work.

    2. Lunch&Learn

    At "Lunch & Learn", employees and managers meet regularly in various constellations to have lunch together - also digitally. They exchange ideas on master plan content and discuss how to apply what they have learned to their own work.

    In this way, the relevance of the newly acquired knowledge is quickly crystallized and consolidated.

    3. Expert-Session

    Experts from their own companies bridge the gap between what they have learned at Masterplan and the real world. Participants learn first-hand how technologies and methods they learned from Masterplan are used in their own companies and gain valuable inspiration from this.

    4. Masterplan Cinema

    At "Masterplan Cinema", individual lessons are viewed together in a large group and then explored in depth in a panel discussion.

    Detailed information on the examples mentioned

    4. The Rotation Model

    Learning site

    Learning process

    Role of the learner

    Role of the teacher

    Balanced online and presence phases

    Mix of asynchronous and synchronous learning

    High collaborative share

    Structuring of the learning path, guidance and supervision of the employees

    The rotation model is a form of blended learning in which employees switch between different learning environments at set time intervals. These learning environments can be both online and offline and have different focuses.

    In contrast to the Flex model, a rotation is less self-directed. The teacher determines when which learning group changes learning formats and stations.

    There are several variants of the rotation model. These include:

    1. Station Rotation: Employees switch between different learning stations set up by teachers, e.g. frontal teaching, video course and group work.

    2. Flipped Classroom: Employees receive online-based teaching units. In the classroom training, the knowledge acquired is then applied by means of practical tasks.

    3. Individual Rotation: Employees go through individual learning plans developed by teachers. They then switch between different learning activities, such as online-based learning, face-to-face teaching, self-study.

    In a nutshell: The rotation model
    • Flexibility: The rotation model enables a combination of classroom and online learning.
    • Interactivity: Online and presence activities promote interaction between employees and trainers.
    • Efficiency: The rotation model can make the training process more efficient and provide instructors with more time for individualized support.

      Blended Learning - Mixing for the Benefit of Employees

      Blended learning can noticeably improve the learning experience in companies with the advantages mentioned. We have shown that there are many exciting models and how they can look in practice.

      The most important thing: Don't get confused by the variety of options! Blended learning does not have to be complicated. The starting point for all considerations is always the needs of the employees.

      Start small, launch pilot projects and listen to the feedback of your learners. This way you can keep improving concepts and prepare your employees perfectly for the future!

      Want to learn more about employee motivation and blended learning? Then check out our recording of the webinar with Learning Expert Benjamin Jaksch!

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