April 2008


Blended Learning

As I listened to the Learning Trends for Leadership Development Webinar (HR.com) given by Susan Cullen, President of Quantum Learning Solutions; the term ‘blended learning’ was once again introduced to me. I decided to dig a little deeper into it; and here’s what I have come up with.

Definition Blended Learning: “… is the mixing and integration of different learning delivery approaches, including classroom, e-learning and learning support resources.”– Susan Cullen, President of Quantum Learning Solutions.

Definition Blended Learning 2: “BL = combining online and face-to-face instruction”– Reay, 2001; Rooney, 2003; Sands, 2002; Ward & LaBranche, 2003; Young, 2002

From the above definition (2) it is said that BL thus is the mix of two models namely; the traditional face to face (F2F) learning systems and the distributed learning systems.The above also highlights the role of computer-based technologies.

Blended Learning can thus include a combination of the traditional classroom, online instructor-led learning, self-paced learning, coaching and mentoring, assignments books, articles, EPSS systems, job aids etc. These are also known as media types.

It is said the Blended Learning (BL) is considered to be an evolution of e-learning which consists of an integrated program. This program is made up of the different media types and is applied to a business problem in the best possible way to resolve the problem.

There are two types of e-learning used for BL that we need to know here; Synchronous (conducted in live session with others in synchronous time) and Asynchronous (conducted so each individual can access it in the own time). – Susan Cullen, President of Quantum Learning Solutions.

While designing a BL program it is also important to consider the combination of the different media tools that are going to be used. It is essential to identify the right blend for the business challenge that is being addressed. Some questions that one may have to answer before deciding on the right mix include; what is the business goal, what is the learning problem that is attributing to the business problem, who is my audience and their characteristics?, will they have the time and connectivity; what should be the learning content, what kind and how much of measurement? etc.

One of the articles also underlined the fact that the technology barrier was a major obstacle that many organizations had to overcome. The article also highlighted the blended learning process as shown in the diagram below:

Image: CLOmedia.com / Chief Learning Officer Magazine – MediaTec Publishing , Chief Learning Officer Magazine; http://www.clomedia.com

Blended Learning Process does come along with several benefits that organizations enjoy, such as reaching a training program to more number of people at a time, it also has more learning effectiveness where learners can choose the learning program as per their learning needs etc.

While scanning through various articles and white papers, I realized that blended learning is used in different fields other than corporate training such as; the software industry, universities, libraries, etc.

The above information is taken from the following sources:

References:

http://www.hr.com/servlets/sfs?t=/CustomCode/webcasts/videoContainer&i=1116423256281&l=0&e=UTF- 8&videoLink=http://media.hr.com/webinarslibrary/HRLeadershipDevelopmentQuantum042108.swf ; (Membership to HR.com required)

http://www.publicationshare.com/graham_intro.pdf

http://www.clomedia.com/content/templates/clo_feature.asp?articleid=357&zoneid

http://www.centra.com/download/whitepapers/blendedlearning.pdf

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