An Epic White Paper

Blended learning
What is blended learning? Blended learning – something old or new? Potential pitfalls Components in blended learning Criteria for blended learning Categories of blended learning
by Donald Clark, CEO Epic Group plc

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©2003 Epic Group plc. Reproduction without written permission is strictly forbidden


An Epic White Paper

What is blended learning? Blended learning beyond traditional training Optimal blends Blended learning – something old or new? Default model Classroom preservation Velcro model Duplicated model Complex model Components of blended learning Offline components: workplace learning Offline components: face-to-face tutoring, coaching or mentoring Offline components: classroom Offline components: distributable print media Offline components: distributable electronic media Offline components: broadcast media Online components: online learning content Online components: e-tutoring, e-coaching or e-mentoring Online components: online collaborative learning Online components: online knowledge management Online components: the web Online components: mobile learning Criteria for blended learning Learning Learners Maintenance Scalability Sustainability Resources Categories of blended learning Level 1 – Component Level 2 – Integrated Level 3 – Collaborative Level 4 – Expansive Conclusion Other Epic e-learning white papers Epic Thinking 4 5 6 7 9 9 10 10 10 12 13 13 14 15 16 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 27 29 30 31 32 34 34 36 37 39 41 43 44

©2003 Epic Group plc. Reproduction without written permission is strictly forbidden


An Epic White Paper

What is blended learning?
Like many learning terms, ‘blended learning’ has the illusion of being a concrete concept. In practice it is a flexible term that means different things to different people. Some sceptics see it as an old idea dressed up in new clothes, something everybody has being doing all along. Others are nervous about its status as a marketing buzzword or a simple defence of the old against the new. ‘Blended learning seems to mean, if I understand it right, that there will be some e-learning and some classroom learning. It is in vogue for a simple reason. No one wants to spend that much on elearning and people in general want to preserve what they have, so they have made up this nice name for not changing much and called it blended learning.’ Roger Schank However, most see it as something positive, a more learner-centric approach that is more sensitive to the real needs of both learners and the context in which learning has to take place. The danger is that it is usually seen as a simple method of co-joining some classroom and e-learning. This simple ‘pick and mix’ definition is not enough. ‘What is ‘blended learning’? It is the use of two or more distinct methods of training. This may include combinations such as: blending classroom instruction with online instruction, blending online instruction with access to a coach or faculty member, blending simulations with structured courses, blending on-the-job training with brown bag informal sessions, blending managerial coaching with e-learning activities.’ Elliot Masie

©2003 Epic Group plc. Reproduction without written permission is strictly forbidden


An Epic White Paper

criteria. elearning.More sophisticated attempts have been made to identify delivery methods in learning and match them to content. However. Straitjacketing the implementation of blends to the traditional delivery mechanisms of the LMS. Many of the current implementations of blended learning turn out to be these crude ‘pick and mix’ solutions. These move beyond simple mixed mode models of the old and the new towards more sophisticated blends. is a real danger. attention is now turning to serious attempts to identify the components. virtual classroom and coaching. The subtitle is ‘Integrating knowledge. Blended learning beyond traditional training There are signs of a more mature view of blended learning emerging that moves beyond the boundaries of traditional training. ‘Blended e-learning’ by Bielawski and Metcalfe (2002) takes a very specific line. knowledge management and performance support. The good news is that this is sound theory and practice. ©2003 Epic Group plc. Reproduction without written permission is strictly forbidden -5- An Epic White Paper . These are rather dated and fail to recognise the importance of technology and. e-learning options. models and tools for blended learning. performance support and online learning’ and their recommended blend is e-learning. classroom. in particular. The bad news is that even this definition is too limiting. More recent attempts to identify the components of blended learning include ‘Blended e-learning’ by L Bielaski and D Metcalf and ‘Blended Learning: How to Integrate Online and Traditional Learning’ by K Thorn. These include ‘How to Choose the Right Development Method’ by A Mumford and ‘Developing Employees who Love to Learn’ by L Honold.

but we must go further. recruitment. Reproduction without written permission is strictly forbidden -6- An Epic White Paper . In fact. Certainly this will take us into performance support and knowledge management. learning and knowledge management.We must look beyond the boundaries of traditional training. for example. bleeding e-learning into corporate communications. Until this task is complete. we need to ask a few questions: Where are we in blended learning? What are the possible ‘components’ in a blend? What are the ‘criteria’ for choosing an optimal blend? What are the general ‘categories’ of blends? What are ‘bad blends’? What tools can be used to decide on a blend? This should free the term blended learning from sceptical and over-simplistic views. and beyond the boundaries of the course. Optimal blends To design. less rather than more may be required. develop and deliver optimal blends. marketing. searches on the web and the real world. customer learning. This expansive view of learning delivery offers lots of scope for exciting new approaches to blended learning. ©2003 Epic Group plc. we will be stuck in primitive and posturing marketing-speak. Ultimately we must blend formal and informal learning by breaking down the artificial barriers created between. A general schema for blends that categorises them in terms we can understand and apply is also useful. in the case of formal training. providing a rational basis for deciding what goes into a blend and how to design optimal blends. It is built upon the need for learners to feel motivated towards achieving goals through continuous learning. The learning organisation is built not on the premise of more training. workplace learning.

TV. as the Internet is merely the culmination of wave after wave of technological innovation in learning. and so on. with moveable type. radio. with some writing. With each of these innovations. synchronous learning with self-paced asynchronous learning. With the addition of printing the learner could blend by reading at his or her own pace in their own time. All of the things we now take for granted such as telephones. The fifth was the mass produced computer with CD-ROM. papyrus and paper. with phonetic alphabets. Reproduction without written permission is strictly forbidden -7- An Epic White Paper . videotape and CD. The ancient and medieval classroom was oral. giving a blend of live. not as technology but as commodities. web-based e-learning revolution. For this reason we are almost lulled into thinking that e-learning is the first time that technology has influenced learning in any significant way. The fourth was a range of mass media storage devices including audio-cassette. new forms of blended learning arose. In fact. cars. ©2003 Epic Group plc. Printing was the second. This is a mistake.Blended learning – something old or new? Technology is something invented after we were born. The third was broadcast media such as film. refrigerators. radio and television. there have been six major waves of technological innovation in learning: Writing Printing Broadcast media Consumer storage media PC and CD-ROM Internet technology Writing can be considered as the first technological innovation. washing machines. we regard. The sixth is the current networked.

e-learning opportunities. Communities of learners can help each other to learn. Digital relationships can develop between learners and knowledge. video and animation. So blended learning is not new.Broadcast media. What has given the term ‘blended learning’ a new impetus is the exciting and powerful array of webbased options that have cascaded on to the market over the last few years. namely radio and television. Other advantages are that it is accessible. The Internet is the largest single learning resource in the world. We are just beginning to see the blended possibilities. worldwide network into the home and workplace. It has been driven by a series of technical innovations in learning for many centuries. inexpensive and interactive. The fact that we have so many options has forced us into thinking about how we can methodically choose an optimal mix. The PC and CD-ROM introduced high levels of interactivity and media distribution. allowed millions of learners to add synchronous broadcast experiences to their blend. audio-cassette and now CDs added another asynchronous ‘record and playback’ dimension to blended learning. most notably with the Open University but also with the explosion of documentaries and learning programmes on radio and TV. learners and learners. in that it embraces all of the other technologies and can actually manage and deliver many of the blended components in a sustainable fashion to the learner. ©2003 Epic Group plc. There is also the promise of much richer content with audio. and learners and tutors. we have the addition of web-based. Finally. Being able to record these onto videotape. Reproduction without written permission is strictly forbidden -8- An Epic White Paper . Many previous ingredients in blended delivery now become possible on a single. This final web-based technological advance is different from all that has gone before. It dwarfs any other single repository and is irreversible.

Classroom preservation Despite unprecedented levels of technological change. Mumford found that the basis for a choice of learning or delivery methods was either the likes and dislikes of the learner. However. traditional training has been dominated by the classroom for so long that it is often seen by managers. It is hardly surprising that people fall back into the familiar. ©2003 Epic Group plc. the feeling that it was time for a change or old assumptions about what method was best for what type of learning. duplicates. This is often based on the whims of the trainer or learning provider. This is to be expected. There are still many organisations where the classroom is the only form of delivery with no reflection at all on the issue of media selection. Blended learning. sticks things together. It defaults to the familiar. adds to the old model or desperately accommodates the existing dominant method. trainers and trainees as synonymous with the word learning. Default model Even where a range of delivery mechanisms is available. but this is not what blended is meant to achieve. New concepts need to find their feet and the limitations of time. Learning is so often equated with the classroom that it is difficult for people who have gone through that process to think in any other way. Reproduction without written permission is strictly forbidden -9- An Epic White Paper . in this sense. it is worth being aware of the dangers. money and skills will mean that some very simple models of blended learning will appear. most blended learning is crude. In practice. most decisions on delivery have already been made before the training has been designed. can simply be a method of classroom preservation. rather than simple (being simple can be a virtue).Potential pitfalls Before we consider how to blend. Reason and research played no significant role. let’s get some pitfalls out of the way.

Duplicated model Simply multiplying the methods of delivery is not in itself a blended learning experience. necessary and affordable. ©2003 Epic Group plc. Velcro model There is a tendency to go with gut feel and slam some classroom training and e-learning together in a primitive manner. and if it seen as simply a way of hanging on to past behaviours. the application of Occam’s Razor .10 - An Epic White Paper . In fact. involve high levels of duplication and result in learner confusion. blended learning does not necessarily have to include the classroom as an event. just because ‘we’ve always done it this way’.One must not exclude the classroom as a component.the minimum number of entities to reach your stated goal . The integration of components in a blend is an important part of any blended learning experience. However. especially inexperienced learners. if it is integrated. Too much complexity can confuse. contradictory content and leaves the learner confused. then we must be especially careful. sticking things together rather than seriously blending or integrating them into a single learning experience or environment. This has been called the ‘Velcro’ approach to blended learning. rather than exposing them to new forms of delivery. To make progress we must think beyond the simple dichotomy of e-learning and the classroom. Offering many channels of delivery simultaneously can be a better guide. the more channels of learning we have the better the blend. It may also lead to learners simply sticking with what is familiar to them. Reproduction without written permission is strictly forbidden .e. At its worst this can mean delivering classroom and e-learning that has no cross-references. Complex model Blended learning can lead us into thinking that more is always better i.

11 - An Epic White Paper .Blended learning does not need to imply more methods of delivery. ©2003 Epic Group plc. It is at this point that we must turn to how exactly we make these decisions on what goes into an optimal blend. Reproduction without written permission is strictly forbidden . merely better methods of delivery.

the familiar.12 - An Epic White Paper . Reproduction without written permission is strictly forbidden . A recipe is useless without ingredients. coaching or mentoring Classroom 4. Broadcast media Six online component groups: 1. Distributable print media 5. 2. Online learning content E-tutoring. split into 12 groups. (The full component list is available as an appendix. Workplace learning Face-to-face tutoring. Online knowledge management 5.Components of blended learning It doesn’t make sense to talk about possible blends unless we consider the components.) Six offline component groups: 1. in turn split into 6 offline and 6 online groups. Distributable electronic media 6. The web 6. It is important to separate these. Mobile learning ©2003 Epic Group plc. as access to intranet and Internet technology is a necessary condition for any of the 6 online groups. or worse. we are simply relying on our own limited experience. e-coaching or e-mentoring Online collaborative learning 4. our prejudices. What follows are components. 3. 2. 3. Without a list of the possible components.

People spend far more time working than in formal training. Pushing training beyond the traditional and electronic delivery channels into the workplace improves reinforcement and transfer to the learner’s actual job. ©2003 Epic Group plc. Reproduction without written permission is strictly forbidden . so to ignore workplace learning is to ignore a natural learning environment.13 - An Epic White Paper . Coaches provide support on specific learning courses or tasks. Mentors are used to give high-level support in a general career or development programme. Offline components: face-to-face tutoring.Offline components: workplace learning There are many ways in which workplace learning can be formalised: manager as developer learning on the job projects apprenticeships shadowing placements site visits The workplace is likely to be the place where most learning takes place. coaching or mentoring One-to-one. face-to-face support can include: tutoring coaching mentoring 360 degree feedback Tutors are seen as being experts in their subject. passing on direct knowledge to the learner.

©2003 Epic Group plc. Offline components: classroom Classroom learning covers a huge range of activities including: lectures/presentations tutorials workshops seminars role play simulations conferences This has been the mainstay of education and training and will continue to play a role in blended learning. is difficult to administer and is not scalable. Note that the classroom has become less didactic.Human support is often seen as a good counterbalance to blends heavily weighted towards the classroom or elearning. prompt and manage the learner. It introduces a personal touch to help with problems. Note that while being a very effective spur to learning. For management training this type of feedback is also powerful in diagnosing weaknesses and overcoming obstacles to learning. with far less ‘chalk and talk’ delivery. One must be clear about what form of classroom training is required and in what way it will be integrated into the other components of the blend. Reproduction without written permission is strictly forbidden . Many learners feel the need for this type of support when the deliverables are remote and impersonal. sustain interest.14 - An Epic White Paper . it requires expensive human resources. it is increasingly interactive and much more attuned to problem solving.

Reproduction without written permission is strictly forbidden . interactive texts into the learning process.Conferences are. If you review or summarise the book. corporate library or ordered from Amazon. newspapers and the company newsletter or magazine are other underused resources in learning. making distribution easier. Written journals and learning logs can be seen as the process in reverse. Many learners prefer to print online text resources. ©2003 Epic Group plc. book reviews and summaries are also useful resources for learners. Moreover. It will also allow others to use these reviews and summaries. books can be cheap. where the learner gets some keynote sessions. they can be intense and fruitful learning experiences. don’t forget magazines and newspapers. and in some cases real workshops and practical hands-on experiences. the mainstay of most higher education courses and a source of lifelong learning for millions of voluntary learners. Offline components: distributable print media Print is still a primary learning resource: books magazines newspapers workbooks keeping a journal review/learning logs An often-overlooked component in blended learning. These can be printed from online sites as PDF files or Word documents. portable and powerful learning devices. in effect. Trade magazines. huge classrooms. Textbooks can be made available from an internal library. These have long been a key component of learning in education and training. Although expensive. Book clubs. presentations. as it is easier to read and can be read at a time and place of choice.15 - An Epic White Paper . it will significantly increase your learning. Workbooks are an attempt to introduce focused.

Some blended solutions use online delivery of content with the audio and video stored locally on the hard disc or a CD-ROM. In this sense a CD-ROM can be seen as packaged bandwidth. Offline components: broadcast media Broadcast media include: TV radio interactive TV Estimates indicate that by the time our children leave high school.16 - An Epic White Paper . This hybrid solution can lessen the load on the network and lead to increased quality and reliability. then CD-ROMs can be useful. audio cassette or audio CD. Reproduction without written permission is strictly forbidden .Offline components: distributable electronic media Distributable electronic media include: audio cassettes audio CD videotape CD-ROM DVD The advantage of audio-cassettes and audio CDs is the ability to use them in the car or at home. Videotape is another consumer-friendly medium. E-learning can be delivered from a CD-ROM via a browser so you can do things with e-learning long before your network is finished and upgraded. If you have a poor intranet and need to use audio and video. many of them will have watched 22. They are cheap to replicate and can be useful for learners on the move such as sales or field staff. CD-ROM and DVD have superior interactivity compared to videotape. CD-ROMs have long been used in education and training.000 ©2003 Epic Group plc. sure in the knowledge that you can transfer to the network in the future.

The use of reality TV and programmes. the average adult will have spent nearly 9 years of his or her life watching television. Interactive generic content is what most of the large catalogues of generic e-learning content offer on management. non-interactive resources can be described as e-learning content.hours of television compared to roughly half that amount of time spent in the classroom (American Psychological Association). are excellent opportunities to discuss group behaviour and team building. as opposed to satellite and terrestrial. Scanning the programming can often uncover excellent programmes on business and other topics that may be relevant to your needs. documents. PowerPoint presentations and other simple. this could emerge as a delivery medium. Interactive TV is another potential learning medium.17 - An Epic White Paper . This content is appropriate for basic skills and generic topics but are not tailored to your organisation. which have telephony as the return channel. especially cable. business and language content. and this is commonly what is meant by e-learning in education. TV can provide good learning material for learners at home. With the added dimension of interactivity. Survivor and The Experiment. ©2003 Epic Group plc. Radio is another useful source of good documentary. These are hugely underused resources. IT. Online components: online learning content E-learning content can include: simple learning resources interactive generic content interactive customised content performance support simulations At the simplest level. Reproduction without written permission is strictly forbidden . available in nearly every car and home. such as Big Brother. financial and other areas of training. By age 65.

mentoring as motivator and counsellor in managing personal development and assessment.18 - An Epic White Paper . coaching towards course driven goals. Reproduction without written permission is strictly forbidden . competitive advantage and more effective learning as the content is specific to your organisation.Interactive customised content tends to be used as training that tackles business issues particular to your organisation. It is important to be clear at the outset about what type of personal online support is required. electronic support can include: e-tutoring e-coaching e-mentoring 360 degree feedback This is similar to the face-to-face deliverables mentioned earlier. See Epic White Paper on Simulations and e-learning. Simulations are becoming possible as the technology matures. Performance support is the on-going support for specific tasks available on demand. as in business simulations. used and mastered. They are seen as giving you ownership. e-coaching or ementoring One-to-one. These are increasingly used in performance simulation and to bring sets of skills together. coaches or mentors. This gets away from the concept of a course towards workplace support for real tasks as they are encountered. Support can include combinations of the following roles: administration by managing the process of e-learning. culture and job roles. The difference is that e-tutors will need new skills but many more learners can be supported by fewer tutors. Online components: e-tutoring. tutoring as a source of subject-specific advice. ©2003 Epic Group plc.

At the simple end of the spectrum of complexity. These communities need to be nurtured and developed. bulletin boards and audio/video conferencing. receiving and sharing knowledge. The middle ground is occupied by discussion boards.19 - An Epic White Paper . It has become so embedded in everyday use that we forget how recent. they are difficult to sustain. Exchanging views and information has become quick. Email is perhaps the most underrated learning tool on the Internet. Reproduction without written permission is strictly forbidden . we have email. necessary and important it has become in asking for. ©2003 Epic Group plc. with the added advantage that it will be stored and ready for you to look at in your own time. Although easy to set up. These are simple techniques used by groups of people who see themselves as a community of learners.See Epic White Paper on E-tutoring and e-learning. easy and cheap. Online components: online collaborative learning Collaborative learning can include: Asynchronous (not in realtime) collaboration email bulletin boards Synchronous (in realtime) collaboration text chat application sharing audio conferencing video conferencing virtual classrooms It is important to make the distinction between asynchronous (non real-time) and synchronous (real-time) collaboration or community activity. Methods of electronic collaboration vary in complexity.

We need to decide which methods work best: asynchronous.Virtual classrooms and integrated learning environments lie at the top end (although some regard virtual classrooms as a direct transfer of the classroom to the web and question its status as a ‘collaborative’ tool). Performance is ultimately the application of knowledge. It is not hard to see that the two are intimately linked. See Epic White Paper on Collaboration and e-learning. and so knowledge management can be used to underpin and support learning and application. Reproduction without written permission is strictly forbidden . Knowledge management has come from the IT world with a focus on technology and the need to find relevant data quickly. pedagogic. Web technology has brought the two together on the desktop and it makes sense to tie the two together in blended solutions. synchronous or both? These methods all have different technical.20 - An Epic White Paper . Online components: online knowledge management Knowledge management systems include: searching knowledge bases data mining document and file retrieval ask an expert Knowledge management and e-learning have existed as separate disciplines and come from different sources. Learners need access to knowledge to learn and can rely less on remembering things if they have ready access to such knowledge. E-learning has come from the learning world where the focus is on the mind of learners and the ability to learn and apply knowledge. We are far more likely to make a success of both if they complement and support each other. but have a lot in common. resourcing and cost implications. ©2003 Epic Group plc.

company or organisation into the home. such as Google. past history and local storage of data makes the PC an incredible knowledge and learning tool. Reproduction without written permission is strictly forbidden . than the search function within a specific website. along with the bookmark. library. Web links are the new booklists. largely because the time has not been taken to find. college. store and recommend the good resources. ease of use and customer acceptance of the search engine make it a wonderful knowledge search and acquisition tool. university.21 - An Epic White Paper . library and knowledge management system.Online components: the web This is the future itself. download. with broadband the media types are also more accessible. This is a vastly underused resource in most training environments. it becomes an indispensable tool. Google and intranets are all part of our everyday lives. It is often preferable to use a search engine. either to stream. Most e-learning is not formal through ©2003 Epic Group plc. The main features of Internet access include: search engines websites user groups e-commerce sites Search engines have become the primary means of accessing content and services. quicker and cheaper. better faster. These homes now have a built in college. What’s more. The simplicity. CDs or videos. As the Internet becomes bigger. easy to order and buy. The fact that over 50% of homes have access to the Internet also pushes learning beyond the boundaries of the school. The web. Research resources are migrating wholescale onto the web as the Internet becomes the primary knowledge base and tool for the exchange and sharing of knowledge. Good websites can provide quick access to printable and copyable material in learning. or. as with books. This.

meetings and interruptions where things are quiet and you are on your own. using a CD-ROM may be more convenient than online access. motorway stops and hotels.designed courses. performance support. language learning support. through content and resources found on the Internet or intranets. These are places where you are often free from distractions. Reproduction without written permission is strictly forbidden . self-assessment. a number of applications are being tried including learning diagnosis. with a laptop. Nevertheless. but informal. the company website should be a key component of any induction programme.22 - An Epic White Paper . portable and powerful computer and communications devices. Online components: mobile learning Mobile devices include: laptops PDAs mobile phones We are now entering the wireless world. See Epic White Paper on M-learning. rail and motorway routes including airports. It is important that these resources are understood and used in blended learning. they have their limitations. Senior managers. Mobile devices are unique in being personal. ©2003 Epic Group plc. sales people and field engineers are just some of the potential learner populations that already use these devices for the informal sharing of knowledge. the opportunity for blending in mobile learning (m-learning) is clearly on the horizon. mentoring. ideal conditions for learning. For example. Many more people have mobile phones than have PCs and with the increasing functionality and convergence of these devices. In practice. railway stations. where mobile devices and laptops allow you learn on the move. both physical and psychological. They are in constant use on air. coaching and reinforcement. Of course. collaboration.

there are a number of key factors you have to take into account: Does my new approach improve learning outcomes? Is the blend appropriate for my audience? Does the blend fit into the culture of my organisation? Do we have the resources to cope? Can our infrastructure support online components? Is the blend scalable? Is the blend sustainable? When you design a blended learning solution you need to constantly be asking yourself ‘Does this blend lead to the best combination of benefits and cost savings?’. Having a list of components allows us to move forward and make decisions on which components are to be used in a blend according to a set of agreed criteria. which shape the choice of components in a blended solution.23 - An Epic White Paper . Components are the elements that can be pieced together and integrated into a blended solution. Reproduction without written permission is strictly forbidden . Criteria are the principles and policies. Let’s consider the following six criteria: Learning Learners Maintenance Scalability Resources Sustainability ©2003 Epic Group plc.Criteria for blended learning When you are deciding on the right blend of learning delivery methods.

estimate. define. concepts. These include Bloom. make inferences. facts. tell. group. figures. Of course. Knowledge is usually of information. Reproduction without written permission is strictly forbidden .Learning It is not easy to determine a blend until the desired content and learning outcomes have been clarified. distinguish. ideas or principles. In practice the schemas produced by these authors are very similar. describe. Biggs and Collins. differentiate or summarise. It is worth considering both content and learning outcomes. show. A considerable amount of work has been produced by cognitive psychologists over the last 50 years. Belbin. contrast. You may be expected to show understanding by being able to list. label or name. as there is disagreement amongst theorists who see learning as a process and those who see learning in terms of its outcomes. a general understanding of the meaning of the knowledge is also important. Our task is to identify a workable schema that states some general types of learning and examine how these influence our choice of components in a blend. resulting in the following general categories: Knowledge Procedural skills Mental skills Interpersonal skills Psychomotor skills Attitudes Aspirational learning Knowledge or comprehension learning is highly dependent on memory and recall.24 - An Epic White Paper . predict. identify. Taking knowledge further you may also be expected to order. ©2003 Epic Group plc. interpret. Mager. Gagne. Merriam and Caffarella. Pedler. associate.

Leadership. connect. Problem solving is demonstrated by coming up with effective solutions. these resources have become learning resources. ©2003 Epic Group plc. However. design. explain. The application of business skills through business simulations is also happening. Procedural skills involve following processes or routines from memory. modify. management. classify. rank. plan. activity. assess. Knowledge of a range of procedures is required and learners appreciate the significance of the parts in relation to the whole. At one level. compare. solve problems using required skills or knowledge. Software procedural (systems) learning is best delivered on the screen. One can move forward from this position to what consider more complex learning outcomes where a high-level synthesis of knowledge and skills is necessary. ‘show me. Mental skills involve the application of methods and theories in new situations. practice and simulations. explain. infer. Other procedures may require actual work with plant or in the workplace. order. calculate. It is a skill some learn by doing. arrange. prepare. complete. demonstrate.This is increasingly colonised by e-learning. manuals or computers. Reproduction without written permission is strictly forbidden . relate.25 - An Epic White Paper . classify or find. one can analyse. As search and retrieve replaces memorisation. select. case-based learning. Scenario-based. try it. the real application of skill may need some social reinforcement and human intervention through coaching or e-tutoring. grade. usually in small steps that are brought together into entire procedures. test me’ approaches are proven in this area. integrate. test and measure using e-learning. decide. You may be expected to apply. solve. knowledge management and the web. These skills are generally learnt by doing. business planning are likely to require more complex blends offering room for application.

Understanding the values of a new organisation in induction. These may be in sports. allow the learner to identify when values are being supported or rejected. can be learnt through elearning. through scenario observation. along with emotional intelligence. whether these be offline or online. Some specific skills. keyboard skills or flying an aircraft. music. flight simulation and actual flying. objects or concepts.26 - An Epic White Paper . delivery moves towards more collaborative events. Online methods can work well for telephone techniques and performance simulators go a long way towards delivering strong skills in the likes of interviewing. questioning. if there’s a gap between those and the new attitudes or values. interviewing. these skills are learnt through a combination of theory. Attitudinal change requires the learner to be made aware of existing attitudes and. counselling. Reproduction without written permission is strictly forbidden . Attitudes can also be changed through exposure to others with different sets of values through collaborative work. telephone skills and electronic communication skills using email etc are also included. driving. crafts. Writing skills. With team-oriented skills.Interpersonal skills have been increasingly recognised as a distinct skill set in themselves. appraising and so on. dance. ©2003 Epic Group plc. equal opportunities and a whole range of sales. E-learning can be used to explain values and. These are skills in listening. customer care and management skills involve attitudinal change. people also need to practice these skills with other real people leading to role playing and workshops. like keyboard skills. However. This shows itself in changing or improving attitudes towards people. presenting. These usually involve the actual learning and practice of the skills under the tutelage of a coach. diversity. Psychomotor skills involve the acquisition of skilled movements and perceptual abilities. to be able to understand and apply those new attitudes. in flight training. However.

It is the supply-led. The learner’s goals are pushed beyond expectation through deep reflection and fundamental change. To conclude on content. audio cassettes. The danger was in being too single channel in focus. E-learning practitioners are also guilty. listen to radio programmes in that language. e-learning or any other single form of delivery. However. get a pen-pal. audio CDs. Learners blend anyway. Blended learning was always the norm – for learners! Playing to these natural behaviours was always going to be successful. watch TV. speak to native speakers. interpersonal.Aspirational (Pedlar) or transformational (Bateson) learning involves personal growth and a profound change within the learner. The trick is to find optimal blends for individuals so that they get structured learning experiences in a fixed time that is aligned with their and/or the organisation’s aims. even go to that country for practice. Reproduction without written permission is strictly forbidden . They may also need exposure to a wide variety of knowledge sources. both need to recognise that the classroom. a simple decision on blends may include a distinction between knowledge and skills. learning industry that forces people into narrow-track delivery. Learners To understand blended learning we must focus on learners. psychomotor). use books. use online resources. CD-ROMs.27 - An Epic White Paper . Note that the main culprit here is classroom delivery. ©2003 Epic Group plc. They’ll learn through lots of different learning encounters. access dictionaries. At this level. still by far the most unblended solution in training. was never the single solution to any learning problem. Attitudinal change should be seen as something different as should aspirational learning that leads to the transformation in an individual. In learning a language the learner is likely to take some classes. the learners may need to be part of a peergroup or receive personal coaching. videos. then types of skills (mental.

whereas experts will expect problem solving and simulations. but only if the network can support online learning. ©2003 Epic Group plc. You must be careful to identify the range of expertise and diagnose or tailor your offering. In educational contexts. Geographically dispersed learners again mean high travel and accommodation costs and networked online solutions can give access and scalability. Available time means the time available for learners to complete the given learning tasks. For example. Learner’s motivation to learn will greatly influence the marketing and selling of the blend and. Internationally dispersed organisations have a great deal to gain from the delivery of consistent quality content globally via the intranet or Internet. novices will expect more basic knowledge and worked examples.28 - An Epic White Paper . and to provide support and implementation plans.The learner population has to be profiled. learners can be devoted full-time to learning. including Number of learners Geographic dispersion of learners Available time by learners Learner’s motivation to learn Novices versus experts Academic versus non-academic Large numbers of learners may need scalable online solutions because of cost. Novices are very different from experts. selfdirected components such as e-learning. In any case. Reproduction without written permission is strictly forbidden . it is wise to assume that learners will need encouragement. in particular. Small numbers may require less scalable offline solutions. in the workplace this may vary from agreed annual days for training to little or no time at all.

Your chosen blend will affect your ability to update. ©2003 Epic Group plc. Reproduction without written permission is strictly forbidden . Middle ground content such as management skills may need a modest amount of updates. are difficult to update. Non-volatile factual content such as basic science may need little or no updating. legislative issues and many other topics will need major updates. Offline Workplace learning Face-to-face tutoring. product knowledge.29 - An Epic White Paper . consider first. Updating also has to be followed by reprints and redistribution costs. e-coaching or e-mentoring Online collaborative learning Online knowledge management The web Mobile learning **** **** ***** ***** ***** ***** Maintenance **** ***** *** * * ** Fixed distributable media. However.To conclude on learners. The nature of those learners must then be taken into consideration in terms of their ability to learn and motivation. induction. The real issue is planning for this maintenance with resource and budget. the number of learners and their geographical spread. whether they’re print or electronic media. Maintenance Different types of content need different levels of maintenance. coaching or mentoring Classroom Distributable print media Distributable electronic media Broadcast media Online Online e-learning content E-tutoring.

On the other hand. single-source webdelivered content can be updated at source. as it is the most expensive and least scalable form of delivery. without the cost of redistribution. A hand written letter can be scaled through word-processing. Scalability Scalability is the ability of a delivery mechanism to cope with large numbers. where huge numbers can be delivered instantly. being easier to maintain than offline media. Reproduction without written permission is strictly forbidden .30 - An Epic White Paper . This dramatically reduces costs on travel. The classroom is only scalable in the sense of having more people in the room at any one time. Re-scripting has to be followed by re-recording (by the same voiceover artist) and video has to be re-shot and re-edited. Human delivery in the classroom could be described as modestly updateable as changes can be adopted and delivered quickly. Scalability can also be increased by capturing on video and broadcasting the result on the web. and more learners can be handled by an individual coach. Virtual classrooms also give scalability reaching people at a distance. on-demand at little incremental cost. ©2003 Epic Group plc. although very effective. with online activities. an increasingly common phenomenon. some blends are easier to maintain than others. printing and ultimately. To conclude on maintainability. has to be used sparingly. on demand and at a tiny incremental cost. on the whole.Audio and video in whatever format are difficult and expensive to update. photocopying. Face-to-face mentoring or coaching. The problem can be alleviated if the one-to-one delivery is mediated online. A good example. would be a conference with thousands of people seeing a keynote speech by an industry guru. etc. Scalability is usually achieved through technology. the most scalable of all. email.

31 - An Epic White Paper . ©2003 Epic Group plc. your blend is likely to have a much greater technology bias. history. if scalability is an issue. with large numbers of existing or potential learners. The tunnel vision exhibited by purveyors of technology in learning can ignore the very real legacy. technophobic attitudes or openness to learning at home. but that people change slowly. It is the soft stuff that is hard. if you need a scalable solution. Sustainability The sustainability of your blend will make the difference between short and long-term success. Reproduction without written permission is strictly forbidden . Cultural resistance is usually the major obstacle to change and if you exist in a culture where change is difficult. Overall. It is not that technology changes fast. social context and institutional values of organisations. newer components may be difficult to implement. it has a significant impact on costs. distribution and maintainability. e-coaching or e-mentoring Online collaborative learning Online knowledge management The web Mobile learning **** *** ***** ***** ***** **** * * ** *** *** **** To conclude on scalability. coaching or mentoring Classroom Distributable print media Distributable electronic media Broadcast media Online Online e-learning content E-tutoring. training as a ‘reward’.Offline Workplace learning Face-to-face tutoring. At a cultural level you may have to either accept or attempt to change attitudes towards.

unfamiliar components are introduced into your blends. whatever the blend. Sustainability may also entail the introduction of a learning culture or learning organisation. the web and other offline electronic and print media. technical and fiscal resources. you’re bound to fail. Otherwise learning will be seen as a spoon-feeding process.Sustainability is also likely to be helped by avoiding ‘sheep-dip’ approaches to learning and supporting learners on an ongoing basis through continuous support.32 - An Epic White Paper . if you don’t have the human. sustainability will depend on the ability of your blend to support an ongoing learning culture within the organisation. e-learning content. knowledge bases. Resources Whatever your intentions in blended learning. organisational. The type of blend you want may be different from the blend you can deliver. at one level sustainability will depend on cultural issues and change management may be needed. Sustainability also needs good change management with relentless communications and support for learning initiatives. Some online components may need a more enlightened selfdirected approach to learning. The more complex the ©2003 Epic Group plc. On another level. It is particularly important when new. To conclude on sustainability. This can be achieved through access to web-based collaborative environments. Reproduction without written permission is strictly forbidden . Resources to consider include: Human resources Physical infrastructure Technical resources Budget Human resources can be the rate limiting step in a headcount sensitive organisation.

Budget is. quality and cost need this sort of reality check. Content may be king. develop and deliver that blend. Assess your training design. development and delivery capacity in terms of both people and their skills. The physical infrastructure should also be available for classroom activities along with the appropriate equipment. if you don’t know in detail what people. experienced project managers. of course. of paramount importance. Technical resources have to be addressed if any of the web-based options are to be included in your blend. The more complex the blend and the more technology components you consider.33 - An Epic White Paper . Face to face coaches do no necessarily take to ecoaching. Do you have a budget and is that budget adequate? Different blends have different fiscal consequences. Designing for the classroom courses is very different from design in elearning. Your expectations on delivery. but infrastructure is God.blend the more management bandwidth and expertise is needed to design. To conclude on infrastructure. you’re working blind on your blend. Having the ability to do an overall or project-by-project ROI is useful. Project management is a high level skill. Reproduction without written permission is strictly forbidden . See Epic White paper on Return on Investment. back-end. the greater the need for good. security and user access. They include a supportive IT department. ©2003 Epic Group plc. physical resources and technical infrastructure you have. network.

it can turn out to be sublime in taste and appearance. it is worth considering a move from the simple to the more complex in terms of identifiably different approaches to blended learning. Let’s consider the following four levels of blend: Level 1 .e. ©2003 Epic Group plc.Component Level 2 . More commonly. If there were only one component.34 - An Epic White Paper . there is no absolute rule against having a single method of delivery.Integrated Level 3 .Collaborative Level 4 . They would function effectively on their own if the others did not exist. We can now consider some models for blends. Some of the best learning experiences can be delivered from a single book or live experience. However. it would be difficult to justify the use of the word blend. modest fare or an ill-cooked mess.Extended Level 1 – Component A component blend takes separate delivery channels and strings them together to make a simple blend i. Reproduction without written permission is strictly forbidden . the components are separate in the sense of being standalone. The aim here is not to recommend complicated blended learning.Categories of blended learning Blends can be a blessing or a curse. However. without having considered the components and criteria first. Like any recipe with ingredients.

several papers. rather than pre-defined structure. Self-directed learners. learning outcomes. A three-component induction blend may be a buddy on arrival. The components are more akin to resources. tutorials and lectures may all offer different perspectives and methods of learning the topic. learning resources.35 - An Epic White Paper . A parallel blend is the multiple delivery of components offering a variety of different and complementary ways of tackling the same learning task. and know how to structure and proceed with their own learning. multiple channels offered simultaneously to the learner. some e-learning and a live ‘meet the managers’ session. Reproduction without written permission is strictly forbidden . culture. There is less reliance on structure and order. they may be more suited to experienced learners. This is typical in education where a book. This is the commonest type of blend. electronic infrastructure. as learners must be free to ‘construct’ knowledge autonomously from available resources. Some radical constructivists argue that this is exactly what we should be doing in learning. which in turn is consolidated in a workshop. a twocomponent blend. scalability and maintainability. learners. A serial blend would be a series of components that are expected to be taken in a specific order by the learner.the number of components will be determined by the criteria of. More complex component blends may include diagnosis. may well react better to resources from which they can choose. ©2003 Epic Group plc. Although component blends may be the simplest of blends. who have learnt how to learn. It may simply be some e-learning followed by a workshop. reading. followed by elearning.

style. Indeed. layout. cross-references. Direct links from one component to another should be sought e. Reproduction without written permission is strictly forbidden . Common design features such as a brand. cross references from print to web resources and vice-versa. Dependencies may include initial online diagnostics and introductory e-learning which may determine whether you should or can attend the workshop or classroom event. Each component is designed with the others in mind including direct design features. Stylistic unity can also be sought with a stylesheet for tone of voice. links and dependencies that make the learning experience a single unified whole. the design of the blend may have been influenced by the need for assessment. from e-learning to collaborative discussions.Level 2 – Integrated An integrated blend is designed to integrate the components into a single mutually supporting structure.g. from e-learning course to online assessment and so on. logo.36 - An Epic White Paper . vocabulary and approach to learning. E-learning gives you formative and ©2003 Epic Group plc. palette and font may be applied across the entire offering to give it cohesion and unity. Assessment is usually an integrated component as the chosen assessment method will need to draw directly from the components used in the blend.

Reproduction without written permission is strictly forbidden . They manage information about learners. it is limited in terms of submitted assignments by learners or observational techniques. Individuals may contribute personal profiles. content and instructors. course notes and other course collateral.37 - An Epic White Paper . They then advance into being contributive (one-to-many) communities. however. They include basic functionality with email addresses for individuals. an email alias for the course group.summative assessment. Level 3 – Collaborative A collaborative blend brings further cohesion to the components and learners by providing face-to-face or electronic tutoring. ©2003 Epic Group plc. Many e-learning initiatives using learning management systems or learning environments do no more than this. To sustain a learning community it must advance through structural and psychological levels: Administrative (one-to-one) Contributive (one-to-many) Bonded (group identity) Communities normally start out as administered (one-toone) communities. coaching or mentoring and/or collaborative facilities. courses. These involve digital relationships.

to mutually supporting learners.Collaborative relationships will form between tutors and learners as well as between learners and learners. At this level the contributions are regular and the group will be building a sense of community around these contributions. With a collective sense of purpose the contributing members feel part of a group. The extra components this model considers are: face-to-face tutoring. rather than just contributors and consumers. with each individual learner feeling like a contributor. coach or mentor Defined role and expectations of learners See Epic White Paper on Collaborative e-learning. The group will move beyond a community for the sharing of information and learning. coaching or mentoring e-tutoring. e-coaching or e-mentoring online collaborative learning ©2003 Epic Group plc. Some key features of an online learning community that lead to success are: Learning objectives and tasks Social communication in the group Functionality of collaborative learning environment Resources available for learning Defined role and expectations of e-tutor. and advance to the level of a community that learns. Reproduction without written permission is strictly forbidden .38 - An Epic White Paper . Finally communities become bonded (group identity). This is a more mature form of group identity. But the sense of group identity is still likely to be one-to-many.

Distributable print and electronic media can be used to introduce ‘timeshift’ or asynchronous learning into the equation. even free. Reproduction without written permission is strictly forbidden . and encourage a more expansive view of learning beyond the idea of ‘learning as a reward’ or ‘learning as a classroom activity’. These can be used to encourage learning before and after the synchronous events. simply because of the mistaken assumption that people always need formal instruction to learn. Sometimes these resources are cheap. The workplace is where most actual learning takes place. yet it is often ignored as a resource or place for reinforcement in formal ‘classroom’ cultures.Level 4 – Expansive An expansive blend takes learning beyond the boundaries of the predictable components of formal learning into the workplace. The artificial gulf that exists between formal and informal learning blends and blurs when other resources are used in blended learning. ©2003 Epic Group plc. These useful resources are often ignored. use of offline print resources. the web and even mobile learning.39 - An Epic White Paper . The workplace should be used to the advantage of the learner in reinforcing or transferring learning to real applicable performance. use of electronic media.

where the problem is a surfeit of information. Never have so many good and cheap resources and devices been available to the interested learner. This we can turn to our advantage as there is a wealth of untapped resources at our fingertips on the web. ©2003 Epic Group plc.40 - An Epic White Paper .Technology introduces a further raft of expansive opportunities. The consumer electronics industry has also penetrated the workplace. knowledge bases. intranet. home and pocket with devices that can be used to deliver learning or learner support. Reproduction without written permission is strictly forbidden . television and radio. The extra components this model considers are: workplace learning distributable print media distributable electronic media broadcast media online knowledge management the web mobile learning We live in a media age.

integrated. through selected criteria.component. In some cases. protective attitude that resists change is also common. a single malt is superior to the blend! ©2003 Epic Group plc. This is sometimes what draws them towards blended learning. On the other hand cultural inertia. Vendors of elearning have been at fault in presenting ‘build it and they will come’ models based on large catalogues of content and an LMS.41 - An Epic White Paper . how these components should be blended to produce fruitful blends. People hold on to the familiar. where the sum is greater than the parts. Good cocktails are not normally made by including as many different drinks as you can muster. They are carefully crafted blends of complementary tastes. as with whisky. Increasing choice is not an end in itself.Conclusion We have seen how blended learning is not new. Blended learning is an attempt to rise above these crude positions. electronic infrastructure. scalability and maintainability of the proposed solution. learners. developing and delivering different types of blends . It is equally as destructive. We must decide. the reactive. Reproduction without written permission is strictly forbidden .we must be sure that we have thought about the learning outcomes. What is new is the sheer range of possible components in a blend. Attention to motivation and people was rare. learning resources. culture. collaborative or expansive . In designing.

42 - An Epic White Paper . coaching or mentoring Classroom tutoring coaching mentoring 360 degree feedback lectures/presentations tutorials workshops seminars role play simulations conferences Online collaborative learning Distributable print media books magazines newspapers workbooks keeping a journal review/learning logs Audio cassettes Audio CD Videotape CD-ROM DVD TV radio interactive TV Distributable electronic media The web Broadcast media Mobile learning laptops PDAs mobile phones ©2003 Epic Group plc. Reproduction without written permission is strictly forbidden .Appendix 1 – Component list Six offline component groups Workplace learning Manager as developer learning on the job projects apprenticeships shadowing placements site visits Six online component groups simple learning Online learning resources content interactive generic content interactive customised content performance support simulations E-tutoring. e-coaching or e-mentoring e-tutoring e-coaching e-mentoring 360 degree feedback Asynchronous (not in realtime) email bulletin boards Synchronous (in realtime) text chat application sharing audio conferencing video conferencing virtual classrooms Online knowledge management searching knowledge bases data mining document and file retrieval ask an expert search engines websites user groups e-commerce sites Face-to-face tutoring.

please email: marketing@epic.Shop ‘Well structured and easy to follow…’ CGNU ‘Extremely well written… nice to see a company looking deeply at the Epic e-learning white papers ‘Excellent stuff…’ Virgin V. Reproduction without written permission is strictly forbidden .uk. ©2003 Epic Group plc. or telephone +44 (0) 1273 728686.’ Independent researcher General The markets for e-learning E-learning: return on investment Organisational benefits of e-learning Customer e-learning Games and e-learning Psychology The psychology of e-learning Motivation in e-learning Definition Learning design for e-learning Blended learning Blended learning in practice Collaboration in e-learning Simulations and e-learning Induction and e-learning Development Reusable learning objects Standards in e-learning Accessibility and e-learning Testing for e-learning Delivery Change management and e-learning M-learning Learning management systems The Napsterisation of learning (Peer-to-Peer) Evaluation and e-learning E-tutoring Knowledge management and e-learning To order one or more of the series.43 - An Epic White Paper .

co. Reproduction without written permission is strictly forbidden .epic.44 - An Epic White Paper .uk ©2003 Epic Group plc. sign up for the regular Epic e-newsletter at www. and get the freshest thinking in e-learning delivered to your inbox.Epic Thinking News Reviews White papers Case studies Conference reports To be notified of new white papers.