Blended Learning

A question i have been thinking about for a while now is what proportion of training in an organization should be e-learning, and what proportion should be in-class training. I had created a poll recently about the question here, and the responses (though not numerous) point to a 30% – 40% range. Now, i agree this would be different for different kinds of businesses, because for different kinds of work different dosages of e-learning could be recommended, but i was asking the question in an overall way.

Why i am asking this question is because blended learning is a concept which a lot of organizations are going towards, and i am trying to understand what this blend could be made up of. Of course, the blend does include in-class training, and e-learning, but the questions that come from here are what proportion of e-learning, and whether there can be other tools which can enhance the quality of this blend.

The question about proportion seems to be answered with the poll. If we look at, for example, 40% of the training being e-learning, we are then saying that majority of training must still be in-class. In other words, organizations need to look at e-learning as supplementing in-class training, not replace it. Question that comes now is whether there are tools which can be used to enhance this blend from formal training.

At this point, i read a blog post by Gautam Ghosh about the future of social learning which i think is a nice read. What i found interesting was the idea of how social media would get integrated into the learning platforms of the future. For this, we are assuming that learning is a social process, and this assumption seems to be a valid assumption, so we will go with it. If we do, we can then look at how social computing can enhance the training engagement with learners. Again, it is important to understand that social processes would not, at least not in the near future, replace formal training, but rather, supplement it, enhancing the engagement and reach, in terms of learning, of formal training. This can be seen if we look at both training, as well as social computing being people-centric. Even apart from that, social computing, i feel, is an important ingredient in the blend of blended learning, one which training organizations need to include in the learning mix.

Lets look at it this way … there are two forms of learning … formal and informal. We must undersstand that both forms have their value, and training functions need to include both in their training strategies. If formal learning is about training, then informal learning leans more towards the social aspect of learning, and this is where social computing needs to play a role. One aspect which i feel is important for this is social platforms integrated with LMS platforms in a way that makes discovery of learning, and the relevance of informal training to formal training easy to identify. What this means is that this integration must be able to surface the interconnects between the formal and informal aspects of learning and bring them together to create a single learning platform.


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