Blended Learning’s New Definition
Blended learning as a concept has been around for over twenty years. However, with the rise of digital transformation, the concept has evolved.
What is blended learning? How has it changed? First, let’s talk about what it used to be.
The Traditional Definition of Blended Learning
Blended learning is a strategy to provide learning content with a mix of delivery modalities to achieve a learning program’s goal. By definition, blended learning can be effective assuming you are leveraging the strengths of each modality.
A blended learning program blends one or more of the following modalities:
- Instructor-Led Training (ILT)
- Web-Based Training (WBT)
- Job Aid
- eLearning Module
- Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT)
- Tabletop Exercise
For example, a blended program could include a short WBT primer, followed by a one-day, highly interactive ILT session. Once back in the field, the learning and support is augmented with some job-aids and on-the-job coaching. From a legacy perspective, traditional blended learning is strictly a sum of its parts–each individual component is a discrete element mixed with other discrete elements.
With the disruption of digital transformation, we need to evolve the definition of blended learning to reflect the increasing complexity and efficacy of modern learning journeys.
The New Definition of Blended Learning for the Digital Learning Journey
The new approach to blended learning moves from a collection of discrete elements to a whole experience that is more than a sum of its parts. The learner is one of the most important components. And a key feature of a digital learning journey is the ability of the learner to take control of the experience–achieving a relevant learning experience.
This short clip is from a presentation I delivered for Chief Learning Officer Magazine where I discuss this concept a bit more, imagining blended learning as a tossed salad compared to a smoothie.
Blended Learning’s New Definition for the Digital Learning Journey
Blended Learning Journeys
When we’ve implemented these programs, we’ve seen increases to learner engagement, improved retention, better completion rates, and improved performance across the organization.
Here is a simple example of blended learning developed as a digital blended learning journey.
What’s critical is how the components come together to create a truly integrated and engaging experience. By focusing on user experience, data analytics, new disciplines, new design components, and the concept of negative space in learning, blended learning can be a strategy to elevate learning programs.
More from Matt
This is a section from Matt’s webinar The CLOs Guide to a Modern Learning Technology Ecosystem, featured in Chief Learning Officer Magazine.