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Is Blended learning here to stay or is it another ‘flash in the pan’?


What do you think?

Of course blended learning is here to stay. But then it always WAS here. Just reflect on how people learnt languages before the days of computers, e-mail and internet: they had a classroom experience, read, practised speaking, listened to cassettes, discussed in groups, took exams, went on study breaks to the country concerned, lived for a while in the country to absorb the culture and so on.

In March 2009, an independent survey was conducted by the global training provider, Cegos. According to which employees are keener than HR and L&D departments to embrace innovative training practices and new technologies. Cegos commissioned the study among 2,355 employees and 485 HR directors/training managers from companies employing more than 500 staff in the UK, France, Germany and Spain.

The survey found that “half of employees across Europe want more e-learning and blended learning during the next three years, while only about 40% of HR professionals plan to develop more programmes using these techniques. Learners are also keener to embrace collaborative tools like blogs, forums and wikis – 44% of employees want to see these techniques developed, compared to just 32% of HR professionals. Face-to-face learning is more popular among HR, with 42% of respondents wanting to see more classroom learning compared to 38% of employees.”

The survey also found that e-learning and blended learning programmes are meeting the expectations of users. The survey showed that “for 89% of employees, blended learning is living up to users expectations ‘well’ or ‘very well’, and the same was found for 82% of respondents using e-learning.” The study also asked how e-learning can be made more effective: “The vast majority of respondents (88%) rated work-based scenarios as their top choice as a tool for improving the effectiveness of e-learning. In second place, 82% rated self-assessment techniques and in third place, 73% rated help from a tutor or peer.”

The challenge to training professionals is to ensure that the blend works effectively both for the organisation and for the individual and we will need all our creative talents and flexibility to keep pace with what comes next.

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