As known by all of you, blended learning offers the best of both the worlds – online training and classroom training. As a learner, you benefit from synchronous learning strategies that include traditional instruction methods, such as direct group collaboration and immediate feedback. Simultaneously, you are also benefited from the asynchronous learning strategies that allow you to learn at your own pace. But the question here is how you would plan for an effective blended learning that allows a successful combination of both these learning styles.
How to Plan for an Effective Blended Learning
Planning for an effective blended learning program requires a good deal of preparation. Let us see a few tips in which we can achieve this objective.
- Emphasize on identifying clear learning objectives.
Like any other training program, it is very important in blended learning to identify the right course goals and objectives before you start creating the content. The objectives serve the purpose of a roadmap and help you in understanding where the learning is headed and what topics you need to cover to successfully achieve the course objectives.
- Prepare a comprehensive course outline to guide the learners.
Having a proper outline and syllabus for your blended learning program will provide multiple benefits for your learners. The learners can make use of the outline to keep a track of their learning. Ask yourself all the probable questions – what skills you expect your learners to develop by the end of the program, what information should be included in the course, etc. On the other hand, the developer or the facilitator of the program can ensure that the course is progressing on the right track and at the desired stride.
- Determine the level of interactivities for greater engagement.
The best part about developing a blended learning program is that you have complete control over determining how engaging you want your course to be. This would again depend on two factors – the first is how much of the learning would take place online and how much of it would be self-paced activities. While opting for a blended learning strategy, you could choose from a variety of tools and delivery methods to impart instructions to your learners. These tools also come with a host of interactive elements that make learning all the more fun and engaging.
- Plan your group activities to enhance the learning curve.
Collaborating with the group is absolutely necessary when planning for an effective blended learning program. When the learners exchange their ideas, experiences, skills, and perspectives, it creates an enhanced knowledge sharing environment which benefits one and all in the study group. For instance, you could ask the group to log into an online chat forum to discuss a particular topic or question. They will get an opportunity to share their views through a social media platform which will further enhance their motivation and learning curve.
- Determine how learners should communicate with facilitators.
While developing a blended learning program, you must make sure that the learners are aware of how they should communicate with their facilitator regarding any question or concern they may have related to the topic. This will make them feel they have a strong support system to rely at times of need. At the same time, you must also determine ways in which you could gather feedback from the program participants.
- Put down a list of links and resources for future reference.
Since a part of your blended learning program is conducted online, it is good to offer your learners a list of valuable resources that they can refer post the session. For instance, you can point them to links and other web resources which they can refer in order to delve deeper into the topic.
- Determine which assessment strategy works best to track progress.
Like every learning program, a blended learning program too is incomplete without a proper assessment strategy in place. As a developer, you need to determine how you would test the knowledge of the participants at the end of each module, whether it should be through a quiz, or a summary that they need to complete, or even engaging themselves in a lively discussion through different web forums. Assessments strategies help the participants to mark their improvement areas and use the knowledge and skills gained from the program in their daily job roles.
It is true that planning an effective blended learning is slightly complex, but if you have great organization skills and can let your creative juices flow, then your blended learning program is sure to be a great success.