Monday, March 10, 2008

The Case for Blended Learning

Think back on the training classes that you have attended during your career.  Of those that provided a great deal of theory instead of focusing on the work that you did at the time, did you do anything differently or better as a result of attending that course?  It is highly unlikely that anything changed for better or worse.

Theory can establish a deep understanding, but must be followed by a focus on observable and measurable work-related activities.  For example, learning about effective listening can begin with compelling reasons to become a better listener and theory on how listening works, but improvement won't happen without providing a concrete, easy-to-remember model and plenty of practice time during the class (with immediate feedback).  The learner should also identify critical times to practice effective listening on the job and create a plan for using the model during those times.  Sharing that action plan for listening with your boss is the most powerful anchor because you now have to meet her/his expectations as well.  Had the class stopped with just a theory on listening, real improvements at work would not occur, especially during critical times.

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