Blended Learning for the sake of Blending
I was recently lucky enough to attend the BILD’s Blended Learning CPD day in London. I should be lucky enough, as I organised the day.
Two great speakers were there Ian Luxford from Grassroots group and Clive Shepherd from More than Blended Learning.
Firstly what is blended learning? Here is Wikipedia’s definition “Blended learning is a formal education program in which a student learns at least in part through delivery of content and instruction via digital and online media with some element of student control over time, place, path, or pace. While still attending a “brick-and-mortar” school structure, face-to-face classroom methods are combined with computer-mediated activities. A lack of consensus on a definition of blended learning has led to difficulties in research about its effectiveness in the classroom”
So already we can see that there isn’t even a consensus of opinion on the definition of Blended Learning. So there will always be lots of academic discussion about what blended learning should or shouldn’t be. Which is best? What sort of Blend? Should Blended Learning replace classroom learning? There is no answer only opinion!
However,I wanted to share some things that I picked up from the day.
1 – Don’t blend for the sake of blending
Blended learning cannot be decided on an ad hoc basis, just picking things from a list of learning tools and throwing them all together is doomed to failure. From the outset a structure must be put into place.
It is important that one doesn’t just view blended learning as an opportunity to use new technology. One thing I learnt from the event is that designing a blended learning course isn’t about “touching” all of the learning styles (if you subscribe to the learning style theory). Designing a Blended learning course it is important that you know why you are going down a blended learning path. Once you know why, then you can decide on what blended techniques you are going to use.
2 – Be a consultant
Often as L&D professionals we’re told by HR/Management/Directors to “sort out a course on XYZ”. We’re not sought for an opinion of whether that training or course is necessary or if there is something different that can be done.
Imagine that situation with the Finance or Legal dept of a firm, it wouldn’t happen that way, the Finance Manger or Legal teams would ask questions look at the whole picture and then give professional advice.
Become a professional adviser, as a freelancer that may be more difficult in the interim, but in the long run you maintain your professional integrity and as a result are likely to become more sought after.