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What Is Modern Blended Learning?

Author: Matt Webb

Published April 2020

When my kids were growing up (like in many families), we encouraged them to learn how to play an instrument. The instrument of choice in my house was the electric guitar. I would like to point out that that was in no way influenced by me as a fan of rock music… OK, perhaps it was a little…

 

We spent an insignificant amount of money on their lessons over quite a few years and they developed their skills quite well. However, as they got into their teenage years, going to lessons was no longer cool. Inevitably, over time, they stopped. Then something miraculous happened. Behind closed doors and over the following months and years, they got really good at playing electric guitar. Far better than they did when we were paying for lessons.

So, what changed?

Put simply, they started to learn the way they wanted to learn. At their own pace. Learning songs they liked and they wanted to play. They used YouTube, Instagram and other social media platforms to consume the information and learn in their own time. The key message in this story is that the way people like to learn has changed mostly through the advances of technology, and blended learning is no different.

 

Blended learning used to mean that you would do some reading, perhaps watch a video or two, go to an in-person workshop and then follow up with some assignments or perhaps receive some group or individual coaching. Nothing wrong with that. It worked well for it’s time. It did, however, have a structure which did not give freedom to the learning preferences of the participants.

Being learner-centric

Now more than ever, it is essential to put the learner at the centre of a personalised experience. To give options on what the learner can learn and how the learner chooses to learn.

Let me give you an example of how this should work

Let’s say you want to develop your skills around being an effective sales professional. You are not quite sure which areas you need to develop. So, you get some observation and feedback from your line manager and the area of focus is on questioning.

 

In the old blended approach, this could mean a day or two away from your day job learning questioning and other skills along the way. Today, you can use mobile applications which include video, gamification, interactive customer scenarios and some form of accreditation which focuses specifically on questioning. Get great at that as a skill, even become a master at it, then move on.

 

So modern day blended learning includes but is not limited to:

 

 

  1. Short video or audio best practice guides
  2. Virtual instructor led sessions (max 90 minutes)
  3. Content enabled mobile applications
  4. Peer to peer learning
  5. Coaching – small groups and 1:1
  6. Gamification
  7. Webinars

So, what’s the difference?

The difference is, the learner chooses the best mix of these aspects for them and learns at their own pace. When you add the ever-evolving capability of AI where (through machine learning), the development options will be recommended to you, the blend will further develop into something new again. Exciting stuff, right? Finally, the learner is in charge.

 

The next time you are thinking about how you would like to develop yourself, others or you are leading a function which is responsible for developing people, think first about how the individual will learn best. You will save time, money, increase productivity and gain huge returns in loyalty and employee engagement.

Mentor Group offer an integrated set of Digital Learning options that ensure learning drives productivity and sustainability for our clients. We package live virtual instructor led training in succinct, effective and video enabled environments together with mobile applications, that deliver on demand learning, based on our user requirements. Click the button below to find out more.