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Blended Learning: even when it’s MORE expensive.


Blended Learning is not new, but will become the undisputed standard this decade. Why? Because the unique 'blends' will enable more effective trainings, not just cost savings. In many cases blended learning will not just be the cheapest alternative, but the best one. Putting it differently: all of us will even choose blended when its more expensive.

Blended Learning, the mix of classroom and e-learning activities, primarily took off in large countries. Countries in which distance learning solved an acute problem. Largely ineffective e-learning modules had a right to exist, as it was still a more viable alternative than travelling 300 miles to hear a trainer speak. An additional benefit is found in reducing the ‘out of office time’ (as one of our clients called it today, also heard: out of field time).

Especially in health care or sales functions, where someone who is in training has to be replaced by a colleague, the case for e-learning is easily made. It is clear however, that the e-learning module’s effectiveness and quality is secondary in this consideration as well. Sadly, there are plenty examples of e-learning modules which only the accountant really liked.

But the primary motive for blended learning is shifting towards ‘quality’. Online tools are no longer a cheap reflection of offline methods, but new combinations of instructional design, context and technology are possible.

For example,

  • watching the video on negotiation minutes before that exciting talk
  • learning and maintaining knowledge by answering 3 questions over e-mail each day
  • a game in which employees learn about new compliance rules while competing wth colleagues
  • making your homework in the classroom, while watching the lectures online (‘flipping the classroom’)
  • sustainment by practicing your skills online and receiving personalized feedback, after a live group training or just-in-time 

The variation of ‘blends’ will only grow and that’s good news for all involved. The participant gets more control, the employer a higher return in less time and the trainer gets to focus even more on the personal development of the participants.

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