I think it’s obvious to most people that how we teach has changed over time.
Partly out of necessity, as the need for mass education took hold, we adopted a model of one size fits all. The “fit” in this case was classroom learning, and this was applicable to both children and adults. However, while classroom teaching was the most cost-effective way to impart knowledge, it was never the best learning environment.
Of course, these days, at least for learning after high school, the cost of mass education facilities such as lecture theatres are up for debate. Because today, online learning is the most cost-effective way to teach once while reaching many people. But online learning isn’t a magic bullet that slays all ignorance and skill atrophy.
Sometimes, you just need that human interaction.
Enter blended learning, which done right, can combine the best of both digital learning and classroom teaching.
Digital, social, theoretical, practical.
Blended learning is a method of learning that integrates traditional instruction with technology in varying degrees. The key here is for the technology-driven part of the curriculum to bolster the shortcomings of the traditional classroom (the traditional classroom, learners are supposed to keep up with the pace set by their instructor). For example, a day-long procurement upskilling course will not speed up for you, even if you are finding the material easy. Nor will it slow down, even if you are struggling to keep up. The day is the day.
But then on the other hand, e-Learning has its downsides.
One of the biggest downsides of online learning is the pace of feedback. Emails, forum posts and the likes are not instantaneous. Even if the online learning environment has some instant messaging facilities available, a helper might not be available when you want to ask a question. In the classroom situation, feedback to questions and concerns are immediate. Also, you are more exposed to the concerns of other learners. While not many people simply browse, the forums looking to see what problems others might be having or may have had in the past.
In a well-blended learning environment, the technology-driven portion puts control in the hands of the learner. Thus, the learner can set their own pace and exercise more control over the learning content.
What does blended learning look like for professionals?
We live in the age of continuous upskilling. Thus, a lot of people undertake a significant amount of training. But what should the training look like? There is no magic blend for blended learning. One of the great joys of being an adult is that we have a degree of freedom to experiment and see what works. For most, a good system for blended learning would consist of self-study, webinars, face to face coaching that’s either one on one or most like, in a group setting. The mix will depend on you. If you are an excellent self-motivator and time manager, your online and at home portion might be high. But you might prefer to get out amongst your peers and prefer having as high a mix of meetups, webinars as you can.
Our blended learning program is known as LEAP.
L.E.A.P stands for Learn, Experience, Apply and Progress. This is how it works.
With LEAP, you do the theory – the learning component – mostly in your own time at your own convenience. We use a blend of pre-workshop tasks and e-Learning for this. This is then followed by the Experience where you attend a workshop. This is full of practical activities where the theory is made tangible. Following this, you apply the theory and practice in your own workplace ensuring that what you study is turned into a workable reality – adding tangible benefits in the context of your day-to-day role. Progression happens when your report back to the program mentor/ coach on what you have learnt and, how that learning has benefited you and the workplace.
Should you wish to learn about having a LEAP tailored program facilitated in your organisation, please contact us – we would love to offer you a beautiful blended program The LEAP program is designed around the busy professional who wants to fast-track a skill but are also time poor – perfect for those who want a highly practical experience.