When businesses first start to look into elearning they typically may only be thinking about creating online courses. However, many projects we’ve worked on use e-learning as part of a blended learning approach. But what is blended learning?
I’m going to explain this question using some comparisons with how we socialise and learn now and we used to do both these things before technology took over the world.
In the good old days when we wanted to socialise, we would meet up with friends, family, colleagues, associates and chat over a coffee or a beer.
We’d give them a call and arrange to meet up. Then along came email and we didn’t need to meet up quite so often because we could keep in touch via email.
Instant messaging means we can chat online in real time. We don’t have to wait an hour or two for an email response. Now, we don’t just communicate and converse online, we socialise online, via social media. It’s instant. We don’t have to leave the comfort of our homes or offices to meet up with people, but can catch up in our social networked world.
Training and Learning Then
Blended learning follows the same principles. In the good old days, all training was done in the classroom, with an instructor.
We’d book a course. Take a day out of the office to attend a course where a trainer would teach us their knowledge, give us a printed handout and send us on our way. Then along came computer based training (CBT), then the internet, then mobile technologies and online communities.
Training and Learning Now
Now in our virtual worlds we can acquire and consume the same training as we could in a classroom, but without having to leave our chair. E-learning can be delivered via any computer or any smart mobile device, making it extremely accessible. Instructor led training, however, has not been displaced. It still has a very valuable place in learning and development, and its value increases exponentially as part of a blended learning solution.
Technology Enhances Learning
As with social media, none of these new technologies or behaviours has replaced the old. Instead, they have combined to enhance learning and offer new ways to share, collaborate, and connect. In doing so, we get blended learning which delivers a richer learning experience.
How we acquire skills and knowledge most effectively depends on the complexity of the subject matter and our pre-existing knowledge of the subject matter. Training to become a surgeon may require a blend of practical instructor led tutorials, video learning and text based study. A refresher course in health and safety on the other hand, may be best acquired via a short video tutorial.
What is blended learning?
Blended learning is simply combining a range of learning delivery methods to best fit the learning objectives.
We address our sales and marketing in the same way. A mix of media is used to reach our target audiences, from direct mail to PR to social media.
We socialise in the same way, combining to meet up with friends over coffee with email, telephone calls and interacting via social media … so why not approach our learning in the same way?
If you’d like help with Custom E-Learning Course Development as part of your blended learning, get in touch, book your free call below.
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