7 tests that expose Blended Learning as actually Blended ‘Teaching’

A cheap cocktail is worse than no cocktail. So it is with many courses. They try, but it’s all very limp as the tendency is to include too many things, especially old ingredients, rather than working out a blend that is sound in terms of learning theory, resources and and costs. ‘Blended Learning’ is so often just ‘Blended Teaching’, a half-hearted attempt to retain a mixture of classroom and online. It’s Velcro learning, slamming just a few of things together to satisfy a need to hold on to some of the old and look as though you’ve embraced some of the new. A poor singer doesn’t sound any better when in a duet.

This slicing and dicing of the ‘teaching’ process is not what Blended Learning was meant to be. When it arose (in corporate learning), it promised to lift learning out of its obvious predicament – the dull delivery of overlong, flipchart-driven classroom courses. This never happened as few took it seriously enough to do take learning theory seriously, consider a wide range of options and do the necessary analysis to produce an optimal blend. The reason for this failure is that L&D really doesn’t want to listen to what learning theory has to tell us and the Blended Learning tag is often a useful way of consolidating the past not the future.

The psychology of learning screams at us, telling us that successful learning, retention and recall, that leads to good performance, needs to be sensitive to a learner’s starting state, personal needs, personalised learning, practice by doing, then spaced practice to consolidate what is learnt in long-term memory. Blended learning also screams at us to take this ‘learning’ theory seriously.

 

 

‘The reason for the failure of blended learning is that L&D really doesn’t want to listen to what learning theory has to tell us and the Blended Learning tag is often a useful way of consolidating the past not the future. A really thought-provoking post from Donald Clark on blended learning.

   

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