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Technology enhanced learning – the strategic blend design webinar: Q&A

At our recent webinar: Technology enhanced learning – the strategic blend design, LEO’s Director of Learning, Imogen Casebourne, joined Simon Fyfe and Julie Read, Defence and Security specialists for LEO, to discuss technology-enabled learning in the Defence sector. Blended learning was a strong focus for the webinar, which featured blend examples, tips on how to approach a blended strategy, and using blends to put the learner at the heart of the design.

To hear the recording from the webinar, you can head to our resources page and watch the YouTube clip, which also features the slides used in the session. Our webinar audience sent in some great questions, so Simon, Imogen and Julie have spent time answering these and we’re posting them for your below.

Q1) What are the panel’s thoughts on bottom-up (instructor-led) vs top-down (centrally-created) blended learning design?

Learning should be neither or both in so far as it should take local conditions and global organisational needs into account and most importantly it should also be learner-centered.

Within Defence, we often see an expectation on the instructor to design the course or the lesson content. This may work for small learning events, but to achieve a blended solution that provides the learner with the scaffolding and resources needed, we would expect to see them supported by a wider team.

In the presentation, Julie talks about the TPACK model. Creating effective blends is a team effort, with the content design team building a range of resources, and the teacher using their delivery skills to personalise it for the learner.

Q2: How would you recommend that instructors develop their own knowledge and skills at using blended learning? Many have not seen it utilised effectively and therefore are reluctant to implement it.

Using blended learning does require the instructor to develop new skills around the technology used to deliver it (for example, webinar tools and smart boards) as well as understanding things from the learner’s perspective. The student-instructor relationship changes within a blend and we often see them becoming more like mentors. This is exciting as it allows them to draw on their teaching expertise to focus on what the student needs.

However, change can be unsettling so instructors need to be supported by their organisations. Here are some ways to achieve this:

  • Give them time and training on how to use any new technology and to practice it in realistic environments. We would be keen to understand how much time is spent on the DTTT course in regards to using blended solutions.
  • Let them become learners again! There are several blended online courses available that they can sign up for, if only to see how other training providers are approaching blended learning.

LEO has multiple resources on blended learning on our resources page, which may be of help. We also run capability building sessions, which could be an option.

Q3: Can you provide links to the evidence? Defence has no money to put in place the enablers required for WiFi and hardware to support blended learning. We have been asked for evidence to support.

LEO’s ebook ‘Why blended learning works (and can work for you!)‘ may be of help. Information on the NHS case study we talked about can also be found here.

Read more about LEO’s work in the Defence sector