University creates blended learning course to boost training

by L&D03 May 2017
Researchers at the University of Kansas (KU) have created an online course to help teachers create blended learning environments by moving from teacher-centred to student-centred learning, which increases opportunities for personalised learning.

The course is designed to help teachers understand blended learning, identify what they want to include in their courses and to design and implement instructional plans.

Irma Brasseur-Hock is the assistant research professor with the Center for Research on Learning and KU’s Department of Special Education.

She said her work with the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) 2015 Blended Learning Teacher of the Year, Paula Barr, provided a simple analogy about blended learning by comparing it with teaching a group of students swimming.

“If the entire group of students jumped in a pool with the intention of meeting the learning objective or standard, some would need water wings, others would automatically swim to the other side, some might work together to build a raft, others might get out of the pool and walk around it, and others would look to the teacher to help them across,” Brasseur-Hock said.

“Similarly, a blended learning environment allows a more personalised approach to instruction with students receiving the support they need.”

For example, in a blended learning environment, some students would work together on a research project, another might work with a teacher in a one-to-one arrangement, and other students would be using technology to learn content.

Given the success of blended learning in the classroom, some organisations are turning to this model as a way of improving staff training.

Kate Barker, vice president at Global Human Resources executive advisor at SAP SuccessFactors told L&D Professional that recent research shows that blended learning has proven to be well-suited not just in the classroom, but corporate offices too.

“This is because it improves the learner engagement, ROI, and cost savings for enterprise Learning and Development,” she explained.

“For many years Learning and Development Managers have strived to attain the all too illusive “70:20:10” learning model with blended learning but now with significant advances in digital learning technology, these blended learning options are now more suited to the modern learner needs.”

Barker added that learners need on-demand access to information and learning, collaboration with professional and personal networks and easily consumed information so they can feel empowered to keep ahead of rapid changes that are now making the 70:20:10 module more attainable.

“Blended Learning is not new, and for years now it has given an interesting twist to mundane training sessions like compliance training,” she explained.

“Now, with the flipped classroom model and the advancements in digital learning technology and digitally savvy employees, more progressive organisations are now getting creative with On-Boarding programs, people leadership skills and driving large-scale enterprise change.”

Related stories:
Flipped classrooms are transforming corporate learning
Blended learning ‘no longer just a buzz phrase’