To Blend, or Not to Blend
like to thank DSA's employee Chris Mueller for today's tip. Chris has
been working on the new version of DSA's "The E-Learning Design
It’s likely that you’re no stranger to
using blended approaches to your training strategies. Seasoned instructional
blend training strategies simply on their own blend of experience and
common sense, knowing that training formats have always paired well
Research reveals many definitions for blended learning. One of
the more recent and concise definitions comes from Allison
learning integrates seemingly opposite approaches, such as formal
and informal learning, face-to-face and online experiences,
directed paths and reliance on self direction, and digital references
and collegial connections, in order to achieve individual and organizational
goals.” (Strategies for Building Blended Learning, Learning
Circuits, July 2003)
There are many advantages to using blended strategies to your overall
approach in a training program, including the following:
A Broader Reach. By combining training methods, you can extend the
reach of training. Meaning, you have the advantage of reaching
audience outside of one fixed location.
- Time and
Cost Reduction. The careful selection of approaches, while considering
the needs of the audience and the available
save you development time and cost.
By recognizing and carefully balancing the audience needs, preferred
or common learning
resources, blended learning can provide a significant
increase in the effectiveness of training, bringing
a greater ROI.
Your options for blending are many. Take a minute to look at
a categorized list of training methods that might be blended,
E-Learning Designer Workshop:
DO I BLEND?
How do you decide what formats to blend? Choosing from the methods
is a balancing act. The following are some key considerations when
choosing the training methods you will blend:
- How stable
is the content?
For example, if the content is dynamic and may change frequently
and/or soon, methods that are easy to update and change should
much time do you have to develop it?
For example, job aids take much less time to create than online modules.
it important to have human intervention?
A critical or complex task may require human intervention, whereas
simple facts or concepts may be learned or reviewed as a self-study.
are the costs of the solution(s)?
Naturally, certain approaches will cost more than others. What is the
value-add of using a specific approach, and is the business or organization
willing to invest in it?
is the ultimate learning experience to achieve?
If a social approach is desired, where interaction should be high (such
as simulations and roleplay), a synchronous method should be used.
The opposite would be an independent approach, requiring little or
no interaction, including audio, video, workbooks, and programmed
Have an additional guideline that you’d like to share?
Send your suggestion to firstname.lastname@example.org.
With these guidelines and more research on the advantages and
availability of methods you are already familiar with,
you will be well on your
way to designing a valid blended learning approach to your
more creative ideas on a blended learning approach, sign up for DSA’s
E-Learning Design Workshop. It’s hands-on, full of
job aids to help you AND as a bonus, you’ll take home a CD
with templates. Interactive game frames and examples to use.
Article © 2006
Darryl Sink & Associates, Inc