Posted on 8:23am Tuesday 29th Nov 2011
Listed under: Trainer Blog
I often hear people talking about ‘Blended learning, and see a number of different ideas about what it is that this Blended learning is all about. For me the key to understanding what blended learning is all about is to understand that there are lots of different models of adult learning, often saying the same or similar things from different perspectives, but the same thing none- the-less.
To go with this it needs to be understood that the average delegate will get brain drift after about 12 – 13 minutes of the same thing. What does that mean, well after 12 or 13 minutes of the same old same old, the delegate starts to think about what they are going to have for tea, or whether to pop in to the pub on the way home. The best way to head off that type of disruptive thought is to keep your delegates brains occupied with a variety of different activities in the lesson.
So sitting above that is the big change process. If every lesson you deliver follows the same format the same thing will happen, and you will have bigger and better brain drift than you could ever imagined, something to be avoided at all costs. You delegates will start to think ‘ It’s about now we will get the video’ , or ‘Why has he not shown the video, it always happens about now.’ While they are thinking that, they are not giving your lesson the full attention it merits.
Think back to one evening at home, you are sitting in your living room with your partner. The television is on, but it is dull, dull, dull so you are allowing your mind to wander. As you drift away into some other place your partner asks you, ‘What did she just say?’ asking about the heroine on the programme. You will not have a clue, what she had just said, why not, because your brain was somewhere else. Brain Drift!!!
Blended Learning takes account of different styles of teaching, and learning, to take account of different ways to deliver the same message, and chooses the most appropriate one taking account of the different learners and the subject matter. It asks the questions, what are the learner needs, in this lesson. This will keep your learners with the programme, interested and involved, which is what you want, and what you are being paid for.
By taking account of the different styles of learning you are much more likely to engage the learners with the whole programme, whether it be a short lunchtime learning session or a full week, or two week course. When you plan your lessons plan to change the style of delivery method in both individual sessions but also in the overall programme where possible.
There are many different ways for your delegates to learn, and each one has its place. Yes even E-Learning! Regular readers of this blog will know I am not a great advocate of E-Learning, but there is a place for it provided there is an appropriate means of testing the transference of knowledge. I often wonder if the reason I don’t like E-Learning is a natural survival of the species issue. The species in question being The Trainer, one of the things I am good at, but if I am honest, I don’t think it is. It is a much more subjective objection than that. How can the delegate check out a lack of understanding? How does the organisation know the delegate who has logged in is the one completing the programme? There are so many potential problems with it.
Blended Learning will include Coaching, Mentoring, as well as classroom based delivery, but each one in its place. My big concern is that to jump on the Blended Learning ‘latest band wagon’ Learning and Development managers will go for all the cheap options and ditch classroom delivery. I hope not, the trainer is far to a valuable asset to ditch for any reason at all.
As long as when deciding how best to deliver training in this cash strapped world in which we all operate, the decision is based on making effective use of all the different learning strategies to make sure any learning that is delivered is done to help the organisation achieve its goals and the delegates develop within those goals.
That is the best use of a Blended learning programme.