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Pam Jones

Eight Interactive Ltd


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The Alchemy of Blended Learning


Socialising Then

Do you remember the good old days when we wanted to socialise, we would meet up with friends, family, colleagues, associates for a coffee or a beer?  We’d give them a call and arrange to meet up.  Then along came email which offered us a new way to keep in touch.

Socialising Now

Instant messaging meant we could then converse online in real time.  Now, we don’t just communicate and converse online, we socialise online!  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 an instructor 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 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; and in doing so, deliver 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.  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.

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, choosing a combination of media to reach our audiences, from direct mail to PR to social media.  We socialise in the same way, combining meeting up with friends over coffee with email, telephone calls and interacting via social media ... so why not approach our learning in the same way?

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Pam Jones


Read more from Pam Jones

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