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What’s the ‘blend’ all about?


The more I learn about blended learning, the more I discover and the more I find there is to discover. It is such a rich and varied field, enough to remotivate the jaded learner (or consultant!) and captivate the interest of the new learner.

But do we really know what blended learning is?  I think as L&D professionals we stand a better chance of knowing than many other people do but in companies I find that people are reluctant to even have a go at a definition. Is it your experience that they say "ah yes,blended learning; I'm never sure what that means" - that is the brave ones; some don't like to reveal their 'ignorance'!

I conducted a survey earlier this year amongst corporate HRDs and Training managers, who when asked " What does the term Blended Learning mean to you?" came up with various answers including:

 - Very little 

 - Using a range of self, 1:1 and group activities to provide an engaging mixture of learning opportunities, making use of technology where it is appropriate to do so.

 - Using different kinds of learning methods which complement each other.

 - A mixture of learning approaches to accomplish performance objectives - often used when e-learning is mixed with face-to-face training to teach a curriculum

 - A mix of learning and development interventions

 - Combination classroom based activities with other forms of learning (face- to face coaching, online, Self study, PC-based self study,etc)

 - Learning program based in virtual and presented lessons

 - A mix of different learning interventions from classroom to e-learning to coaching.

There's the recurring theme of 'combination' 'complement' 'mixture' though not many mentioned that the training provision needs to link to learning objectives!

To get across the idea of 'blend' and 'mix', I often use the example of oil and water ; they can be mixed together but no matter how hard you try, they can never be blended. Even when they have been mixed they soon separate out as they have very different properties.
So what's your idea of a successful blend?

P.S. If you'd like to have a copy of the survey, just email me

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