A brave new blended world for KIM training

Blended learning offers customised approaches to suit individual learning styles, objectives and schedules.

Connectivity and convenience

New technology is being developed every day and we are increasingly connected and mobile.   The nature and structure of work has changed for many of us.  Mobility, connectivity and convenience are now important factors  in all aspects of our lives.  

These requirements are also reflected in the rise and popularity of e-learning.  Once the domain of stacks of dusty CDs, e-learning has been brought completely up to date with dynamic graphics, video, interactivity and even live chat options. 

In a recent survey TFPL  found over 65% of respondents thought flexible time for learning was very important. In addition over 52% of  respondents felt that a set time and date for learning were the least important factor.   This highlights that e-learning is an important consideration for the information and knowledge professional when looking at different learning methods. 

That is not to say that it should be the only method chosen to develop skills.  Learning methods and technologies should be chosen to suit the situation and the learning objectives.  Blended learning has been shown to be the most inclusive and effective way to learn, providing a route to learning regardless of a person's learning style, circumstances or environment.

Blended learning

Blended learning is a mixture of different learning methods incorporating face to face classroom learning, online learning and mobile learning.   There is no substitute for the rich experience that can take place in a classroom environment with a trainer present.  However, the fact that aspects of that environment cannot be easily replicated is both good and bad.  Sometimes there is so much richness of information available in a classroom environment that it is very difficult to pick everything up or remember everything.    You may also have additional questions when the course is over and  you have had time to reflect.  Online learning via e-learning modules provides the opportunity to have a reference to the materials afterwards.  Using a combination of the two enables most avenues to be covered.  In addition, using online learning can make any face to face classroom training more effective by covering the basics through e-learning modules first.

Online learning also offers the flexibility to learn at times and places that are most convenient to the individual concerned.   This means that a person can choose the time and location to that works best for them. In so doing, they are likely to be more attentive and take in more.   

TFPL recognises the importance of blending learning, accommodating different learning styles and also the need for flexible learning.  Our classroom style courses and coaching have been available for some time and we will soon be making online learning available to complement this, adding a new dimension to the training experience on offer through our network of independent experts.

Key lessons from developing e-learning modules:

  • Use a combination of dynamic graphics and text to illustrate key learning points, engage the learner more effectively and take learning styles into account
  • Repeat key messages throughout the module in different ways to encourage knowledge transfer
  • Use quizzes and provide immediate feedback to ensure that information is being taken in
  • Video and desk aids can further embed learning and knowledge
  • Provide email contact with an expert to back up the e-learning content and provide answers to questions that may arise during the flow of the module

Claire Valentine has over 8 years experience in learning and development and is currently Training and Events Manager at TFPL.

Picture courtesy of Ramberg Media Images via Flickr.