Blended learning gives learners the best of both worlds—if you do it well. We hosted a panel of eLearning professionals for an insightful talk about all things blended learning. Thanks to our panelists—Chris Willis, Jean Marrapodi, and Toby Newman—and all the great attendees!
Chris started off by asking everyone what they consider to be blended learning.
It quickly became clear that blended learning means very different things depending on where it is being delivered and who is designing it.
Jean pointed out that blended learning has become very predominant in grades K-12, where it’s mostly the students doing learning on their own—watching a video or using a computer, but the definition is much broader for corporate training. Some examples/advice she gave about blended learning in schools:
“Allow the students to step away from the computer, do an experiment with people, and then come back to the computer to talk about it.”
“If we give them a video to watch as pre-work, make sure it’s what they need, make sure it’s good, and give them questions to talk about it.”
Blended learning also has benefits for college!
“One college I worked at had space issues for the students in class. They found out that for two classes a week, they could assign two sections of the course in the same single room. One of the sections would do a F2F on a Tuesday while the other section used the same classroom on Thursday…” – Michael F.
Toby commented that on the corporate side, blended learning has left a bit of a bad taste in people’s mouths because they think blended learning just means the same as online training. “The challenge I have at my company is to make them understand that blended learning is the best of everything,” he said.
Here are a few of the audience responses to “What do you think of when you think of blended learning?”
“Combination of styles. Live/online/chat/video” – Michelle P.
“Mix of live training (in-person or webinar), on demand, downloaded activities and handouts” – Anita K.
“Simulations during an ILT – I see that called blended a lot.” – Gregory L.
A big topic was how blended learning allows learners to dig in more about topics they are interested/motivated in.
“I love blended learning at the moment because there is no formula,” said Toby. “The last blended course I put together myself, it took me literally months to figure out how to put all the pieces together to address all the different way people like to learn.”
“I love the courses that allow you to go as deep as you want into content. For those who just want to “complete a task” they can, while others who want to really drill down are still able to do so.” – Monica P.
A bit of a storm was stirred up around training measurement and reporting.
As Jean pointed out, “Just because you taught it, doesn’t mean they caught it.” Many attendees agreed, but there was a disagreement over what the answer was on how to measure training effectiveness.
“To force a checkmark doesn’t mean they absorbed it” – Bradley S.
“I’ve changed my mind on this in the last year…I honestly believe that we should remove ALL metrics from training,” declared Toby. “It’s all down to trust, if you can really give people the reason—what’s in it for them—they WILL do it. I strongly believe we shouldn’t be led by ROI or the traditional metrics. I think NPS (net performer score), engagement, retention, there are other ways of measuring it.”
And here’s what people had to say about THAT.
“Big No for the metrics removal but agree to run along with other tools.” – Henok H.
“As a trainer for an employer attempting to educate employees on how to use software, we have to ensure that the students are obtaining something useful from the training.” – Roxanne M.
Chris suggested bringing students together for a capstone style experience to demonstrate what they’ve learned.
“Yes indeed. We are currently developing exactly this approach for an inspector training—part reading, part discussion, part return an assignment, part let me watch what you’re doing in the field, then watch me to see if I can reproduce it. As one of our colleagues said: ‘If you rely on true/false, fill in the blanks, check marks…any squirrel can find the nuts once in a while, right???'” – Dendra B.
What do YOU think about all this? Should we get rid of ROI?! Share your thoughts in the comments below.
We also had an attendee ask: “What tools do you suggest for video creation, scenario creation, etc?” If you have suggestions for tools you love using when creating blended learning elements, share those in the comments too.
Thank you to everyone who joined us today, and don’t forget—there’s still time to win a free iPad!
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