Succeeding with Blended Courses

Is it really that complicated to navigate a course with a blend of virtual lectures, discussion board postings, group assignments conducted virtually, independent readings, assignments, labs, quizzes and/or tests — all delivered and tracked via one or more systems?

Rob Bohlen, a learning and performance consultant, says it is. “It turns out that what you may think is passé in your own blended or online courses may actually be quite a challenge to navigate for your new working adult students,” he writes in a his blog for “The Evolllution.”

Many corporations are not all that well versed in blended learning technology and technique, he says, but the ones that defy that generalization are equipped with an LMS, video conferencing, integrated learning paths, social media and collaboration suites, and informal mentoring tools

“Sounds cutting-edge, right?” he writes. “The truth is; many do not have an elegant way to tie all of these pieces together. As of 2012, most still struggle to create a seamless curriculum for workers, connecting all of the formal and informal learning components into a simple, integrated whole.”

Bohlen believes that adult learners need help navigating an LMS and other online tools — and effective orientation is the key.

In his blog, Bohlen recognizes the work done in 2003 by Hannifin and Hannifin on scaffolding (organizing blended experiences and providing structure for learners attempting to navigate a blended solution). They wrote:

“Scaffolding is not just about the technologies used to deliver the solution. It includes the instructional design approach and chunking of experiences to ensure the learner is oriented from beginning to end — not an easy task when many tasks are self-directed.”

Bohlen also cites a “Special Report on Blended Learning Opportunities” by training guru Allison Rossett, which offers several examples and practical models for how to organize a blended learning experience with optimal scaffolding.

Bohlen suggests three means to developing effective blended learning practices:

1) Don’t be too quick to adopt radically new technologies. Your adult students may be plenty challenged with the infrastructure you have in place.

2) Strengthen your orientation programs. Include blended or virtual tours of all tools—and most importantly—how they all work together.

3) Help instructors understand blended learning do’s and don’ts, pros and cons, so they can design appropriately and support their students.

—More info: www.evolllution.com/opinions and/or www.grossmont.edu/don.dean/pkms_ddean/ET795A/WhitePaper_BlendLearn.pdf

Is it really that complicated to navigate a course with a blend of virtual lectures, discussion board postings, group assignments conducted virtually, independent readings, assignments, labs, quizzes and/or tests — all delivered and tracked via one or more systems?

Rob Bohlen, a learning and performance consultant, says it is. “It turns out that what you may think is passé in your own blended or online courses may actually be quite a challenge to navigate for your new working adult students,” he writes in a his blog for “The Evolllution.”

Many corporations are not all that well versed in blended learning technology and technique, he says, but the ones that defy that generalization are equipped with an LMS, video conferencing, integrated learning paths, social media and collaboration suites, and informal mentoring tools

“Sounds cutting-edge, right?” he writes. “The truth is; many do not have an elegant way to tie all of these pieces together. As of 2012, most still struggle to create a seamless curriculum for workers, connecting all of the formal and informal learning components into a simple, integrated whole.”

Bohlen believes that adult learners need help navigating an LMS and other online tools — and effective orientation is the key.

In his blog, Bohlen recognizes the work done in 2003 by Hannifin and Hannifin on scaffolding (organizing blended experiences and providing structure for learners attempting to navigate a blended solution). They wrote:

“Scaffolding is not just about the technologies used to deliver the solution. It includes the instructional design approach and chunking of experiences to ensure the learner is oriented from beginning to end — not an easy task when many tasks are self-directed.”

Bohlen also cites a “Special Report on Blended Learning Opportunities” by training guru Allison Rossett, which offers several examples and practical models for how to organize a blended learning experience with optimal scaffolding.

Bohlen suggests three means to developing effective blended learning practices:

1) Don’t be too quick to adopt radically new technologies. Your adult students may be plenty challenged with the infrastructure you have in place.

2) Strengthen your orientation programs. Include blended or virtual tours of all tools—and most importantly—how they all work together.

3) Help instructors understand blended learning do’s and don’ts, pros and cons, so they can design appropriately and support their students.

—More info: www.evolllution.com/opinions and/or www.grossmont.edu/don.dean/pkms_ddean/ET795A/WhitePaper_BlendLearn.pdf

Leave a reply