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Improving Staff Training Efficiency through Blended Learning

The impact of face-to-face vs blended learning on staff knowledge and training costs


Traditional didactic training conducted by senior clinicians competes with other responsibilities such as supervision and billable clinical activities. Online training using a blended approach can save an organization time and money but is it as effective as classroom training? A recent meta-analysis of online learning studies found that learners receiving online instruction performed better than those receiving face-to-face in-service training. A large provider of behavioral and educational services to individuals with disabilities (the May Institute) compares their Training As Usual (TAU) methods of classroom training vs a blended learning program that includes classroom training and Relias online training.




  1. Teachers aids working in an ABA-based school
  2. Direct care staff working in a residential program
  3. Direct therapists working in homes and public schools


A pre and post-test experimental design was used. Participants were assigned to a group that received online classroom training or “Training as Usual” (TAU) or to a group who received classroom training and online training from Relias Learning. This was called the Blended Learning (BL) group. The Knowledge of Behavioral Principles as Applied to Children (KBPAC) was used as the instrument of measurement. The KBPAC is a 50 item multiple choice test designed to assess the understanding of the application of behavioral principles to children (O’Dell, 1979).



Both groups completed the KBPAC before and after training. TAU group was assigned the typical training protocol at May Institute that includes 4 hours of didactic training and 40 hours of en vivo training in the field. The Blended Learning (BL) group completed the same training as TAU group plus 10 hours of online training through Relias Learning.


Results and Discussion

Pre and post test scores from the training modules showed that staff performed higher on the post-test across modules within all training programs. Results from the KBPAC scores showed that online training was as effective as live training for acquisition of basic behavioral principles. Comparison data from direct therapist show that staff who participated in Relias’online training acquired more knowledge in the area of DTT and instructional control than staff who participated in the TAU group. The Blended Learning was as and in some cases more effective than classroom training. Through online training 10-14 hours of training was provided without direct intervention from a supervisor. This saved the organization $2,000 in lost revenue for one training group. 

training vs blended learning

KBPAC score results

Press Release