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The L&D Forum

I love blended learning. The 702010 concept has helped organisations realise there's much more to learning that putting people through classroom based courses. Even so I'm starting to wonder whether this blended learning is a load of nonsense. Not the concept, more the interpretation of the title. Here's why.....

There have been a few occasions where I've found myself disagreeing with the view of what blended learning actually is. I've heard, and read, many views that says that blended learning is a combination of face to face classroom learning and online. The suggestion there is that for something to be considered as a blended approach, it must have a face to face classroom element to it. If I took this as being correct:

1) A programme which consisted of some elearning followed by a 'classroom' event would be blended learning

2) A programme which consisted of some elearning followed by a live virtual classroom would not be considered blended learning (because there is no physical classroom involved)

I just don't get it. Surely these are both examples of using different methods and blending learning? Is the second example not worthy of being called a blend?

In my opinion, that's just nonsense. There are so many approaches we can take digitally, mixing up both live and on-demand. In virtual classroom spaces, the presence of audio and or video chat, great human interaction, collaboration and shared learning can exist.'Blend' in with that the personal facilitator around to coach, mentor, support and inspire, there's a winning 'online' blend there. Here at DPG we mix it up even further with Virtual learning scenarios like those used in DPG's totally Online Programme in Human Resource Management. There's no 'workshops' in that programme, but trust me, the online experience is like no other I've seen.

Blended learning is a title that programme most certainly is worthy of wearing with pride.

I think in the context of blended learning being a definition that applies to approaches that always MUST contain on and offline, then yep, blended learning is non-sense. I think however, if we were to agree that the term 'blended' as evolved over the years to something broader than it's original sense, that would make perfect sense.

And that makes the world of blended, very exicting.....innovative......leaving us all with a strong appetite to mix up and blend some real funky cocktails of learning.


What do you think? What blends of learning methods do you use in your organisations? Are there some initiatives that you use just online or just offline? I'd love to know what you think.

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  • For me Ady, to steal your analogy, some of my favourite cocktails have just a couple of quality ingredients which combined look tempting, taste amazing and hit the spot.  Some of my other favourite cocktails have loads of different ingredients which combined also look and taste amazing and hit the spot.... but they are both blends and don't necessarily both have a common ingredient. I think the same can be said for blended learning.  So getting the right recipe toegether for your blend, trialling it and making tweaks to the blend is perhaps where the focus should lie, afterall designing learning in a prescriptive way is a bit like using a template...and that can be so limiting.

    • Carrying on even further with your analogy.... some cocktails look amazing but taste like shite! It's a good idea to test them first :-)

  • Hi Ady, I like you;re post.

    For me blended learning is simply a mixture of ways to deliver knowledge, Face to face, hands on, video, POD cast, SLIDO games and so on. there isnt a set learnng menu of particular amount of 'X,Y,Z' or method must contain 'X' to earn the title blended.

    • Hi Ben,

      Thanks for commeting. Great to hear from you. 

      I'm intruiged by your mention of SLIDO games. I've not come across that term. What does it mean?


      • Hi Ady,

        SLIDO (SLI.DO) is a live interactive poll or Q&A platform designed primarily for meetings and events, I've used this in the past to create gamifying polling sessions splitting groups up int teams, this added some fun and compettion to the days learning. There are similar platform such as KAHOOTS and so on.

        • Ah great. I'm familiar with these tools, but never really used them. With Slido, how do people vote. Is it on a device or do you have those wireless voting panels. 

          I went on a driver re-education course a while back (perhaps I shouldn't admit that in public, but there you go!).... they had those wirelss voting handsets in there. It made a good fun wrap up to the day. It was good to see our combined votes appearing on screen.

          They also collated the end of course feedback in that way too, giving us questions to rank the quality of the course with a 1-4 scale indicator. For this part, they kept the responses private to just the tutors.

          It all worked really well.

  • This topic reminds me of a great statement I saw on Twitter the other day:


    You don’t IMPLEMENT #702010

    702010 IS a principle tht explains how learning happens in orgs

    You can SUPPORT 702010 w/ an org framework

    • Spot on!

      I shudder when I hear people say they need to start doing 70:20:10, as though it's an engine that is not yet running.

      They have missed the point entirely. It's already happening. The question is how to leverage and harness what is happening so it is more useful to us than at present.

  • This reminded me of the recent post from Nick Shackleton-Jones called - There is no such thing as learning content

  • Surly blended learning is a blend of two or more delivery methods. This can be true at either end of the spectrum from full on programes like a MSc to just in time learning in the work place. So to fit in with 70/20/10 when helping an employee learn a new skill, we could use  the old fashion "Sit with Nell" followed by a mentoring discussion with a manager,  followed up with the learner reviewing the current procedure and amending it as required to reflect current practice. this would also fit with the 4Ps cycle that Chris and Darren know so well.  Present (sit with Nell) Practice (discuss/show manager) Perform/Reflect (reviewing writen working practice procedure).

    So for me it was never a issue around on line or face to face, just an appropriate mix of approaches that appeal to a variate of learning styles. this maintains a learner focus not a trainer focus.

    Comments welcome.


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