Blended Learning is an often-used buzzword in the eLearning/Education sector – not only through its increasingly popular application in school and college education, but through its practical and flexible adoption in the business development and human resources sector.

What is Blended Learning?

In short, Blended Learning is simple and obvious, being nothing more than the principle of ‘technology delivered’ content combined with event-based activities. Blended Learning is haled for being a flexible, targeted form of learning and training delivery, which is malleable enough to address the bespoke training requirements often prescribed by a business’ core proposition, budgets, number of employees, technological and human resources and skill requirements. A blended learning approach can increase the speed and efficiency with which an employee digests and adopts company training initiatives, but the key is in the balance; a blended learning course needs to be seamless, cost-efficient, logical and strategically targeted.

Nimble’s Blended Learning Checklist

We at eLearning247 have compiled a simplified five-point check-list for businesses who are thinking about adopting a blended learning approach. While never intending to be all-encompassing or deeply educational in its nature, this is merely a planning aid or starting point for anyone delving into blended learning for the first time.

5 Steps to Effective Blended Learning Delivery:

1. Stand back
Stand back and look at your complete set of company training, course or development objectives. Chop them up into easily definable, bite-size chunks or ‘reusable information objects’ (RIO’s) that are singular in nature; are you trying to communicate a fact, a process or procedure, a concept or company principle for example?

2. Open your learning delivery toolkit
Look at the array of tools available to you for each learning object i.e. how will each individual element be best communicated? If someone needs to pass a physical assessment in situ for example, an event-based solution is obvious. If a physical demonstration of an activity or procedure is necessary for information-only purposes, a simulated experience could be appropriate within a virtual learning environment. This could encompass live-streaming or video for example, or for simpler, obligatory items such as company procedures or methods of conduct for example, a straight-talking, purely ‘technology-information-delivery’ based solution is efficient and cost-effective.

3. Sense-check
Sense-check your choice of learning delivery tools against your broader learning environment. Depending on how your company is structured will affect which eLearning technology you choose. For example, if your company is made up of largely shift-based or remote employees, they may benefit from access to mobile learning that can be self-paced.

4. Look at the course in its entirety
Does your selection of learning delivery tools fit together sensibly? Is it manageable for the trainee or user to digest? You could be asking too much if your learning medium chops and changes too frequently, making it more difficult for your employee to assimilate. Furthermore, is the course structure seamless? Does each module proceed and build logically upon the previous one. This requires all stakeholders of the course design to work together closely looking at the specific modular content as well as the learning delivery tools and knitting them into a comprehensive, harmonious and progressive story.

5. Is it cost effective for your company to roll out?
Traditional eLearning solutions are favoured for their cost-effectiveness. If your company uses 100% event-based learning, adding technology delivered solutions can ultimately reduce your costs dependent on the platform you are using. A blended approach applied to a traditionally online learning delivery system could well add extra costs. Just because you can ‘blend’, it’s important not to get too carried away and start adding every media-face available to you – too many varied learning delivery tools could become expensive and may be too complex for your users to cope with. The key will be to assess the line where your company and your workforce benefit from a blended learning delivery system against the costs of implementing that system and the simplicity of its ‘consumption’.

On Nov 22nd Neil Hyde will be talking to CIPD Gloucestershire on the benefits of Blended Learning. The event is organised by Chris Hickey of Charlton Associates, http://charltonassociates.org/

If you would like further information on developing an eLearning programme for your company or simply want advice on how a blended learning approach could help your business, please feel free to get in touch with eLearning247 with our email address info@elearning247.com or visit our website www.elearning247.com.