It’s no longer a question of whether to use blended learning for workforce development but rather how best to manage the blend. Colleges and businesses are investing heavily in blended learning solutions to meet the needs of a more mobile and digitally literate workforce. However instructional design of courses is key to keeping the learner engaged and ultimately successful in achieving the qualification.
Blended learning can deliver significant benefits by making training accessible as well as giving the learner more flexibility and control over their learning experience. Courses which provide a wide variety of interactive learning techniques through evidence based study tasks help to increase student engagement. Collaboration is also important and online discussion forums which facilitate both instructor-student interaction and student-student interaction enables the learner to manage more challenging tasks. To ensure that students remain productive it is vital they are shown a clear path through the programme, with additional resources such as scenario exemplars, study guides or supporting reading introduced at the appropriate time.
It’s important to develop an effective blended learning programme which provides the right balance of face-to-face teaching with virtual learning and online assessment. You can read about a successful blended learning solution at Andrew Carnegie Business School, which enables sales and marketing professionals to attain an ISMM accredited qualification, here.
In a blended learning programme targeted to US student teachers working in state schools the key challenge has been to get the right level of module and course aggregation to ensure the combination of knowledge and application of skill can be measured as competency. The solution has been to use the concept of nanodegrees which Open Badges are then applied to. Open Badges are provided at the module level to allow the work based learners to achieve in an order that is relevant to their workplace rather than in a linear course fashion. The badges are recorded against the required criteria and built up towards the superbadge of the nanodegree. You can find out more about using Open Badges in workforce development here.
With a good understanding of the requirements of the student group and strong instructional design blended learning can greatly enhance engagement in workforce training and subsequently deliver higher rates of success.