I have been doing considerable research – through the usual methods of RSS feeds and notifications that come to me via email, or in Scoop Its, Google Alerts or Pearltrees,- and I am finding that the concept of blended elearning popping up in different guises.
This posting piqued my interest and I thank the blogger Connie Malamed of the elearning Coach blog, for some provocative postings.
Thanks Connie for making me think a little deeper about the whole idea of ‘blended elearning’ with this section of your recent posting. So whilst I do wish to reply to Connie with my observations on the entire post, I wanted to focus on the blended elearning approach segment here in my own blog.
New Blended Learning
Blended or hybrid learning came about because one eLearning course is often not the solution to an organization’s or an individual’s learning needs. Until recently, blended referred to a learning experience that included both instructor-led and online self-paced components. But that was a long time ago in Internet Time.
Now that live synchronous instruction frequently occurs online and that opportunities for individualized learning abound, the definition of blended learning is expanding to include any number of strategies, from learning through a community of practice to mobile performance support. For example, someone might attend a workplace webinar on how people learn, then participate in a video-based Google+ hangout with a cognitive psychologist, and join a LinkedIn community of instructional designers to discuss the application of these ideas.
There is an obvious advantage to this breadth of thinking—it better meets the needs of learners. It enables designers to think in unlimited terms about what makes an effective learning experience and to consider that learning is an ongoing process rather than a discrete one. See Expanding the Instructional Designer’s Role above.
Now it’s your turn. What trends are you observing? Comment below.
Today whilst conducting a workshop for teachers new to Moodle, it really became an important issue to focus on the strengths, strategies and comfort zones of the teachers and then selecting the Moodle design process for their courses to complement that style.
Moodle mentoring will feature frequently in my roles this year and I have been giving the approach to training a great deal of thought and effort. I strongly believe that we need to ‘model’ a blended learning approach and be explicit about how all the pieces fit together for the teacher/learners as they experience the learning for themselves. One program I designed involved a simple blend of f2f workshops, any time discussions and frequent online workshops – giving the teacher/learners 12 hours of concentrated experience in designing blends for their own learers.
MOOC design is also featuring in my work role and I’m collaborating with a small team in designing a ‘managed open online course’ in googlesites that will enable ‘new’ e-learners to master essential e-skills before enrolling in any blended learning opportunities. So the question arises again, How to choose a blend to ‘‘better meet the needs of learners“? What will make effective learning experiences for these learners? How to enthuse and not confuse? How to empower and not disempower? How to support and encourage self-direction?
I’d be happy to hear from you about your suggestions. The first unit to be developed will provide learning opportunities for ‘communicating and networking online’.
What are the learner’s requirements for this essential eskill?