Beyond Blended Learning
Beyond Blended Learning
We all know that blended learning typically means a bit of e-learning and a bit of face-to-face workshops, chuck them in the pot and ‘hey presto’, you’ve created a blended programme for all to enjoy.
Actually, that isn’t what we believe blended learning is. In fact, it has come to mean different things to different people and is chosen for many differing reasons. Reasons such as:-
- When budget is a worry or limiting factor, then e-learning may seem like a cost effective alternative, along with maybe one or two face-to-face workshops.
- It may be that learning and development is administration heavy; so putting assessments, tests and reading material online reduces that burden.
- Time and efficiency gains may be achieved by putting pre-course work online, so that attendees can get up to speed and be at a required level before a face-to-face workshop is attended.
- All, or many, of your employees may work out in the field and getting access to a face-to-face coach is almost impossible, so online coaching becomes much more attractive.
- Learners need a community to share experiences, and to get help and resources whilst engaged in a learning programme.
- You may not be able to free up learners from the workplace, because of demands upon their skills and experience on the frontline.
The fact is that all of the above are examples of blends, and finding the right tools, methods and approaches to give the best learning experience for your learners is absolutely vital. This can depend upon learning style, outcomes, accessibility, role requirements, career development path, the pace at which a learner learns, the support that an individual might need, their motivation to learn, available time and, of course, budget.
Clarifying what you want and need
When we consult with clients on defining the best overall learning experience for them, we typically include the following questions:-
- What would an optimal learning environment look and feel like for the learners?
- How will the learners learn best and how can we optimise those experiences to ensure their success?
- How does what and how we deliver, create thinking performers who can bring a fantastic experience back to the workplace for the benefit of all?
Blended learning may just seem like buzz words and a recent initiative. The truth is, however, t has always been here and has always been the way that Thinking Performers have created seamless, effective learning experiences for its customers.
Think of the perfect solution, blended just for you, because there are no longer any off-the-shelf learning and development programmes, there are only those that are uniquely created for you and your organisation.
The learning journey starts with the end in mind, and considers what the traveller may need in their knapsack to keep them nourished for the times ahead. Armed with a map of the route as their foundation, each learner can follow their individual path, so that it becomes a coherent, effective journey. This also makes sound financial sense – we look to eliminate wasted effort, time and resources.
The key, as always, is to work with our clients and consider all the requirements – learner needs, organisational needs and budgetary constraints. The aim is to add value and avoid waste – this is where experts like Thinking Performers can work with you to co-create, design and help implement the best solution and experience within any given set of parameters.
We believe that if there is conscious effort to be open minded in considering and evaluating the mix of options that can go into the blend, then we can offer enough flexibility to ensure everyone will have learning pathways available to them and, hence, opportunities to grow.
In the end, we are all measured on results, and the beauty of well managed blended learning is that it can be flexible, innovative and easily modified to adapt to individual learner needs – even as a programme progresses. We can do this because we can collate feedback from the learner, the client, our facilitators and our Learning Management System, and we can build a clear picture of progress – what is and isn’t working. This critical feedback ensures that the blend can modified and flexed in line with the demands and needs of the organisation and it’s most valuable assets – its people.