Blended delivery has been around for years and the term is often banded around in Learning and Development circles. Essentially what it means is that training content is delivered by a variety of delivery methods. Some parts might be facilitated, some online and some parts other delivery methods such as on-the-job learning or coaching. With blended delivery the mode of delivery is usually fixed. There will be set delivery methods for each part of content. For example a blended training solution might consist of a pre-requisite online module, a facilitated (or virtual classroom) session, work place assignments and coaching sessions.
The content within blended delivery does not usually easily translate to different delivery methods without requiring a significant amount of rework and adapting. Usually the facilitated parts of your content will only be suited to facilitated delivery, the online content will only be suited to online delivery. How many times have you heard someone say they are going to change a facilitated course into an online course? If you’ve experienced designing eLearning you’ll know there is a significant amount of rework changing facilitated content into online content. Extra thought is needed for how to make the content work effectively in a new delivery mode.
Well what happens when blended delivery isn’t enough to cater for your business in the future?
This is the challenge I’ve had. The business I’m working with can (and has before) changed rapidly as a result of natural disasters. There could be a slow trickle of people who need training from attrition or a sudden large amount of people who need training when a medium or large natural disaster occurs. The audience who need training at any one time could be dispersed over the country and could range from just one person to groups of up to 20 or more in quick succession. Not only that, but I also don’t know what will the Learning and Development team would look like in the future. Would there even be the team resources to deliver facilitated sessions or manage complex training solutions?
What if we start off with learning resources that can be delivered in a variety of ways – adapting to the changing needs of a business?
Rather than deciding how content is going to be delivered, why not start with making sure the content could be delivered in a variety of ways to a variety of audiences. This way the content would not have to be reworked and redesigned for each new situation or audience and can bend and flex with the business’s needs.
In my solution to this challenge the learning resources respond rapidly to change in a way that is not dependent on location or number of audience. It’s parts rather than a whole solution – pick and mix. The parts can be utilised in different delivery methods – face-to-face sessions, online, flipped classroom, catch up sessions or in a blended manner – without having to be adapted or reworked. The delivery approach and make-up can be selected based on the circumstance and audience rather than the content.
What is this approach called?
What do we call learning resources that can be put together like different ingredients to suit different audiences and delivery methods? I think it’s more than blended delivery… What do you think? I’d love to see your comment.