When I read about what other people are saying about learning, it is often focussed on a particular methodology, theory or technology. So much so that it can be easy to almost fall into a siloed way of thinking. This can be particularly true when you are new to designing blended learning solutions.
What I mean by this is that I often find people adding a component to their existing programmes, usually because they have acquired some technology i.e. eLearning or video, or because they want to include a new type of methodology e.g. collaboration, and thinking they now have a blended learning solution.
Stretching out an existing learning solution to add something new, or swopping something you have already for a different delivery method, might feel like it’s new, that it has more components and is therefore now a blend, but in fact it is not much more than having a loft conversion and claiming to have a new house. The house is still the same, it just has some additional features. Whereas, moving from a traditional learning solution to a truly blended solution is like buying a completely new house.
You might be questioning why designing a blended learning solution is the equivalent of going for a whole new house; why can’t you just have a loft conversion, or an extension? But therein lies that real difference between a blended learning solution and a traditional programme. To get the benefits of a brilliantly blended learning solution, it is best to start again, that is not to say it can’t have similarities to your existing house, but it is built on new foundations, has a better flow and serves your lifestyle more effectively.
Therefore, the first step towards designing a blended learning solution really happens in your head, it involves a mindset change. You can’t just think what can I add or swop. Blended learning is much more than the sum of the parts, it needs to engage and excite the learner and it needs to support them long after the main learning has taken place. When you think about Blended Learning more holistically you don’t just deliver learning, you build a learning culture.
There are three key mindset changes that will really shift your thinking in relation to blended learning.
It is a journey, not a destination
At Bray Leino Learning we believe a blended learning solution starts before the learning even begins. It has a really clear motivation and engagement structure right up front, then moves into the learning phase, which is where most people concentrate their blend, but it continues on, helping the learner to apply the learning, and seek out additional support as they need it.
Its about Brand
In our whitepaper about Learner engagement, we talked about a new role in Learning, the Marketer - to really gain buy in to your solutions, you need to be clear about your brand and what the benefits are to the learner. This is crucial in a blended learning solution, where you will be engaging with the learners for much longer than a traditional programme.
Understanding and being able to translate your Learning Brand is crucial.
It is not all about technology
It is easy to think that you need the latest, biggest, brightest LMS or the most advanced technology to deliver the components of, and the blended learning solution itself. Although this could help with delivery, it more often it just complicates and delays. Innovation is not all about technology; get creative with what you have, instead of allowing obstacles to delay you, work around them.
When designing blended learning with a new mindset you expand your options and create richer and more engaging learning experiences. Not just creating learning experiences, but building learning cultures in the process.
Download our blended learning whitepaper now to find out more about how to create the perfect blend.
Stephanie Morgan FLPI, Director of Learning Solutions, Bray Leino Learning
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