Saturday, 5 July 2008

Blended learning..again

The topic of how we define what blended learning is back again and it looks like it is still up for debate. There seem to be two camps:

1) Those that focus on the different types of media that can be used to facilitate learning - video, elearning, audio etc
  • 2) Those that focus on the different way that people learn and providing a mix of offerings that cater for different styles as defined by people such as Honey and Mumford or Kolb

Clive Shepherd had some interesting updated thoughts on his blog recently highlighting the importance of social contexts.

Also Ontrack International are having a Blended Learning week starting 4th August with a web-based seminar (or webinar) on a different topic taking place every day - and it's offering 120 free places. A variety of experts are lined up - see here for the list.

I posted my own view a month of so ago, including the results of a mini survey via my Linked In network.

I would be interested to hear your own definitions and comments on what blended learning means to you.....?


john castledine said...

I agree that there are typically two main ways for L&D colleagues to approach 'blending' formal learning experiences (i) offer more than one 'solution' to achieving a particular learning objective ...because folk learn in different ways, and (ii) 'optimize' a single solution to achieving a particular learning objective by using a combination of formal channels that typically minimise the time spent as students physically together in the same 'classroom'.

For me, a third concept for 'blended learning' is for L&D professionals to consider the blend of deliberate training with emergent 'on-the-job' informal learning. As this feels 'messy', it cannot be controlled by L&D / Snr Management is often less attractive - But since 70%+ of learning is informal, I'd see much greater mileage in getting this blending right than fine tuning the class & e-learning mix. This for me is why Web 2.0 is such an exciting development for L&D.

Chris Morgan said...

Hi John,

I so agree with your point about most learning happening on the job. I would be interested to understand more about:

- Why do you think that the control of 'on the job' informal learning feels 'messy'?
- What are the key ways that you think Web 2.0 can help with this type of blended learning? I suspect that Wikis are a good example where people are learning from each other (and also building up a knowledge base) over time?


john castledine said...

Re: informal learning being 'messy' and thus uncontrollable from a top-down strategy

Firstly - I'd highlight the (well documented) critical role of a colleague's manager in workplace learning ... but the fact that few organisations (if any) have all their people managers able to act skillfully to promote learning.

Secondly - colleagues themselves have mixed views on lifelong learning - even the highly educated can fail to recognise that knowledge gained in qualifications has a increasingly limited shelf-life, and the skills gained will only be maintained through cycles of practice & reflection.

Hence, in the context of blended learning (formal & informal) I'd suggest that there is mileage in using formal learning to help colleagues 'Learn how to learn' spend less time on teaching 'presentation' skills and more time on building understanding of learning styles, the shelf-life of knowledge, career anchors etc...

just a thought