Even since it's inception in the early 1920's as 'Supervised Correspondence Study', blended learning has offered exceptional knowledge retention and performance enhancements for the learner and reduced cost and effort for the learning professional. In our current digital age, its not surprising it has continued to evolve and be a choice for learning professionals.
Why Blended Learning?
In a recent report, the National Education Organization (NEA) stated that by 2019, researchers predict that 50% of all high school courses will be delivered online.
Its easy to discount these figures as they are representative of education, not the corporate training environment. But keep in mind that these students will be fully conversant with blended learning concepts and applications having received a good part of their education in a blended format. In five to ten years, they will be competing for the same training dollars as you.
With that in mind, rushing into things wont benefit you or your learners. There needs to be some foresight and planning so that you can avoid mistakes and create a successful blended learning course.
The 3 Mistakes To Avoid
Whether your content is currently delivered in a classroom or online, adapting it to a blended learning format is not a difficult process however there are common errors that need to be avoided.
Here are 3 blended learning mistakes that you can easily avoid with the proper planning:
Simply using an existing segment of the course for the live component
Blended learning is more than just removing a segment, module, or chapter from your course to be delivered in a classroom. Nor should you simply add a module to the course for live delivery. In both cases, the integration of both the online and face to face components is ignored. Each must augment and reinforce the other by referencing content, scenarios, and experiences common to both. That is very difficult to achieve by using existing content unedited or adding another module.
Reusing existing content unedited
Ideally, the blended learning course is designed from scratch in order to construct coherent links between the online and face to face components. You neednt reinvent your content, but you will need to use different learning strategies to deliver it. At the very least, you will need to decide which learning objects are best delivered in a classroom and which belong online. If students dont see the connection between both the online and in class components, their level of participation tends to decline.
Using the wrong medium for the content
Match the delivery vehicle to the learning object or knowledge component. A module that would benefit from a group discussion or team approach is an obvious choice for the face to face component. Likewise, a module that uses a scenario based role play as a learning strategy is best delivered online. By putting yourself within the shoes of the learners, youll be able to know how to determine the best approach for their needs.
Getting It Right
Unlike the far-off dreams of hi-def flatscreen TVs during the 1990s, the fact of the matter is that blended learning is being successfully delivered today and there is a lot of room for growth. If you havent already been asked by your clients for blended learning, it will come. By treating both the live and online components as complementary to each other, youll be able to create great courses that not only your learners will love but theyll be successful at.
Once youre ready to enter the blending learning arena, there are a host of resources available online to assist with developing online courses. Download our free ebook, How To Create Perfect Training Using Blended Learning Techniques to learn more.
Image Credit: Alex E. Proimos