Thursday, August 20, 2009

Why blended learning is not BS

by Janet Clarey

The term is probably just ill-defined.

Some argue that the term “blended learning” is not needed at all – it’s just learning, period.

blended learning = learning? OR
learning = blended learning?

Oliver and Trigwell (2005) make a case against the use of the term “blended learning” primarily because it lacks the perspective of the learner and is not grounded in learning theory. I agree with that but don’t think it’s BS. I think blended learning is about leveraging (I hate that word) technology to meet growing training, learner, and organizational needs.

The design of blended learning is much different than the design of self-paced e-learning, traditional face-to-face instruction, on-the-job training, etc., because it (blending) involves the interplay between or among elements – in short it’s unorganized, even messy at times. It’s like the cook with no recipe. It could even be artful. It does exist – everywhere -it is in fact used at just about every organization.

BS, is normally factless. To borrow Stephen Colbert’s popular phrase, it’s truthiness – not based on fact. There’s a lot of research about blended learning that is based on qualitative data. There are a lot of facts. But there’s more “truthiness” than data. Do you think BL is BS? What’s your theory?