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The term blended learning has been the most overused buzzword in the learning industry over the past couple of years, but it has, in fact, always been the way that training has been provided. Technically speaking, any combination of delivery methods is a blended learning solution, such as an instructor-led session coupled with take-home workbooks. Elliott Masie refers to a session he did via phone with PowerPoint slides he'd sent ahead as an example of technology-driven blended learning. As far back as 1996, Pete Weaver of DDI was evangelizing technology-driven blended learning through presentations titled, The Magic Is in the Mix.
So, just what is all of the fuss about?
For most organizations, a robust blended approach should maximize the ROI potential of a complete curriculum. To prove that, a Thomson NETg study published earlier this year found that a structured curriculum of blended learning will generate a 30 percent increase in performance accuracy and a 41 percent increase in performance speed over single-method delivery options. GO TO "Thomson Job Impact Study" (June T+D) New technologies have enabled companies to explore novel and creative ways to mix and match delivery methods to learning needs. Given what we now know about how people learn and what employees need to be successful, organizations are excitedly experimenting with these different methods, searching for combinations that provide for the greatest increases in workforce productivity.
There isn't a vendor or training department that wouldn't say it is providing blended learning today, but confusion from the myriad of different and new technologies has kept most suppliers and training functions from truly maximizing the potential of this approach. Bluntly, most organizations haven't matched the right delivery methods to learners' needs.
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