Blended Learning for Training and Development

By Elaine Biech

Blended learning is the combination of various learning technologies. It is most effective when the best technology is matched with the content and with the learner’s needs and availability. It is a natural evolution of e-learning that includes web-based training, CD-ROM courses, videos, webinars, EPSS systems, and simulations.

It also includes the less-glamorous media, including classroom training, job aids, books, coaching, and conference calls. When designing a blended-learning solution, consider some of these points:

  • Blended learning optimizes resources, providing the greatest impact for the least investment. Remember to consider the organizational culture and how receptive it will be to change delivery formats.

  • The blended-learning solution should be solution focused — what is the business problem you are solving and what is the best way to solve it?

  • Technology capabilities will drive at least some portion of the blended-learning solution, but remember to include the characteristics of the audience (time available, how motivated, their location) and the characteristics of the content (the subject-matter experts, type of content: skill-based or knowledge-based, and how soon it will be out of date).

  • Almost all blended-learning solutions will require a communication/marketing plan prior to deployment.