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Jon Kennard


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TrainingZone interviews: Julie Wedgwood


Blended learning is a technique that will mean something different to the individual learning practitioner. Julie Wedgwood's BlendIt programme aims to offer trainers a pathway to success.

Why did you create BlendIt? What did you feel the L&D industry was missing, if anything?

The BlendIT programme was originally created in response to a customer request to take my successful 21 lessons programme and scale it up to address a national requirement.  There are many trainers and learning and development professionals out there who know that learning technology is radically changing the way learning is facilitated but their own skills are holding them back. The programme offers a path of development that explores what’s out there and practical ways that the technology can be blended into learning provision both formally and informally. The programme itself uses all the techniques and learning strategies it teaches, so attendees get to experience learning with technology for themselves and can assess what works for them and the value a more blended approach provides.

What obstacles did you have to overcome?

The programme was originally provided for a public sector organisation and we hit many technical problems with regards to old versions of browsers and some of the free technology being blocked. It took patient and considered discussions with IT departments to get the majority of the learners access to what they needed, but the benefits that have been derived from the access have been many and continue to this day.

Did you have a particular demographic in mind?

No. Just teachers and trainers/L&D people who felt they didn’t really know where to start with learning technology and/or blended learning. Being part of the programme is the motivation many need to actually engage with the changes, particularly when in the company of fellow trainers who are 'in the same boat'. 

How do you think it’s going to change the learning landscape?

The approach I took was to host the entire programme on a social media-based site. As Jane Hart has commented: “Using a social platform to host the programme meant that you were able to offer a new approach to online learning where the core functionality was about sharing and interaction, communication and collaboration rather than purely focusing on the traditional content and curriculum tracking and progress. “

There was no LMS; learners 'favourited' resources they found useful and the social interactions were mined for relevant content that was then curated into the shared resource areas, acknowledging and attributing the contributors. It was a very active space and the BlendIT alumni have continued to work together via our LinkedIn group which was set up when the first programme finished. The approach allowed me to run the programme for over 220 delegates spread across 76 different organisations across England on my own. I suppose this was a bit of a corporate version of a MOOC, especially as the programme is accredited by the University of Derby although of course the first version was only available to the client’s trainers. Now, BlendIT can be run for organisations or, individuals can attend the public versions, however it’s not free, I’ve not quite worked out the model for doing that yet!

Additional comment in light of Julie's recent success at the Learning Awards

"I was delighted to have BlendIT recognised with a Bronze award at the LPI Learning Awards for Staff Development Programme of the Year, and look forward to working with the original cohort again this year as they embark on a BlendIT work-based project with the University of Derby for a further 20 academic credits. The strength of the programme and its impact has been huge and long lasting for all the learners, making the work and effort needed to deliver the original programme completely worthwhile."

Julie is the director of Productive Limited, which provides consultancy on the use of learning technology, elearning design and creation, and practical learning strategies. She also speaks at conferences, runs programmes that develop trainers and learners and teaches storyboarding for elearning. For further information visit

Author Profile Picture
Jon Kennard

Freelance writer

Read more from Jon Kennard

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