Wednesday, August 08, 2007

A different angle on blended learning

I'm busy putting together a presentation on blended learning that two of my colleagues and I will be co-presenting to a group of instructors in a couple of weeks.

Part of my contribution is to explain how blended learning isn't new. Of course, I'll be pointing out that, although the term "blended learning" may only have been around for a short time, this is no indication of how long the concept has existed. Long before elearning existed, teachers and trainers were blending their methodologies. Before I moved into this job, I used to get really narked at the blended learning community with their WASP country club type mentality, denying me entry because my blend didn't include elearning courses. Who made up the no-e-no-blend rule anyway? So I'm hoping to show these folks that they already offer blended learning, and adding some electronic affordances to their portfolio will only serve to enrich and broaden that blend.

But increasingly lately, my feeling is that the term blended learning, as describing this:- a whole bunch of things zhoozhed up together - is past its sell by date. Especially if we consider that almost all learning is blended at the end of the day.

Perhaps it's time we started thinking of blended learning as meaning this instead:
- something that merges seamlessly with its environment, something that seems to form an integral part of the backdrop.

Blended as "blended in" rather than "blended together". Just a thought...

2 comments:

Janet Clarey said...

I think you've caught the essense of blended of learning - seamless mixing. I like to think of it as a quilt - binding all the different pieces together to make something whole and beautiful.
I do think the term 'blended learning' is new in it came into the learning vocab as a result of e-learning. I always here the story of the AV, TV, blackboard as being part of a historical blend but I think blended learning is more than that. The learning is out there to be had - our job is to provide the distribution channels and access to it. I will email you the blended learning survey I owe you.

Mark Berthelemy said...

Hi Karyn, Janet,

I agree that the term "blended learning" is new. But I believe it only had to come into being because too many people were saying the online self-study modules ("click next to continue") was the only way, and that face-to-face was passé.

The actual practice of using a range of differenct approaches to supporting learners is not new at all. You could argue it became "formalised" with the Greeks - but that's only because they wrote about learning. I would imagine people have been learning for far longer than that. :-)