Tuesday, September 01, 2020

Blended baloney

After all of that fuss what did ‘Blended Learning’ do for the world? It had the promise to shake the training world out of its ‘classroom-obsessed’ straightjacket into a fully developed, new paradigm for training. This needed research, evidence-based models and an analytic approach to developing and designing blended learning.

So what happened?

Muddled by metaphor
First, it got muddled by metaphor. Blended learning failed when it got bogged down by banal metaphors. I've heard them all - blended cocktails, meals, even alloys. Within the ‘food metaphor’ mob we got courses, recipes, buffet learning, tapas learning, fast food versus gourmet. My own favourite is ‘kebab learning’ - a series of small bites, repeated in a spaced practice pattern for reinforcement into long-term learning memory, held together with a solid spine of consistent learning content and objectives. Only kidding of course, but that's the problem with metaphoric blended learning. Who's to say that your metaphor is any better than mine? I even had some fool at the Learning Technologies exhibition come up to me with a 'fruit blender' trying to explain the concept in terms of a fruit smoothie!

What happened to analysis?
Blended learning needs careful thought and analysis, the consideration of the very many methods of learning delivery, sensitivity to context and culture and a matching to resources and budget. It also needs to include scalability, updatability and several other variables. All this talk of meals and metaphors has been going on for several years. What it led were primitive, indigestible (sic) 'classroom and e-learning' mixes. It never got beyond vague 'velcro' models, where bits and bobs were stuck together (now that's a metaphor).

Blended learning became blended TEACHING
Second, blended learning books turned out the very opposite of Blended Learning theory, namely Blended TEACHING. Attempts at defining, describing and prescribing blended learning were crude, involving the usual suspects (classroom plus e-learning). It merely regurgitated existing 'teaching' methods, usually around some even vaguer concep like 'learning styles'. Note how vagaue concepts reinforce each other in training. When it did get theoretical it went wildly overboard, with the ridiculous ramblings of the Lego Brick brigade (Hodgins, Masie etc), espousing the virtues of reusable learning objects.

Let me put forward my own food metaphor – blended baloney. What do you get when you blend things in a mixer without due care and attention to needs, taste and palette? What we got was baloney (dull, tasteless sausage meat).

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's not often I get a grumpy old man, "told you so" moment, but this post reminded me of something in an interview I did for Epic in 2005:

Q Any views on the phrase and concept 'BLENDED LEARNING'?

The term provided a bolt hole for traditionalists wanting to defend face-to-face teaching against the encroachment of online learning.

Unknown said...

My problem with the "smoothie" metaphor is that a smoothie is, by definition, smooth. No chunks, no chewy bits, no variation, no effort from the consumer, jut total, bland, homogeneity.

Anonymous said...

Don:

So what are you saying - why do people use these terms - there must be a point to the coining of a phrase like 'blended learning' - surely there is a point - it is that point that is important - what is that point - can it be expressed more accurately?

jay said...

To my way of thinking, blending is only new to people who were foolish enough to think that delegating the entire training role to the computer was going to work. I could not imagine unblended learning. My first-grade teacher used a blend of story-telling, song, recitation, reading aloud, flash cards, puppetry, and corporal punishment.

Is it not nutty for a learning strategist to ask “Why blend?” The more appropriate question is, “Why not blend?” Imagine an episode of This Old House asking, “Why should we use power tools? Hand tools can get the job done.” For both carpenters and learning professionals, the default behaviour is using the right tools for the job.

Here's my introduction to the Handbook for Blended Learning.

Donald Clark said...

My point is that coining a phrase isn't enough - it must be backed up with some theory and best practice. Seb and others, like Schank, have given one explanation as to why the phrase was coined. I happen to think they're right. It was the need to defend the line - and in many cases do nothing at all, rather than face the prospect of changing methods of delivery.

riiya819 said...

no effort from the consumer, jut total, bland, homogeneity.

WM Casino
W88

Williams Pater said...

Hello everyone i Am williams pater and i am from USA i am here to give my testimony about an herbal doctor called Dr,olu I was heartbroken because i had very small penis,not nice to satisfy a woman, i have been in so many relationship, but cut off because of my situation, i have used so many product which doctors prescribe for me, but could not offer me the help i searched for. i saw some few comments on the internet about this specialist called Dr,OLU and decided to email him on his email i saw on the internet,(drolusolutionhome@gmail.com ) so I decided to give his herbal product a try. i emailed him and he got back to me, he gave me some comforting words with his herbal product for Penis Enlargement, Within three weeks of me use it, i began to feel the enlargement, " and now it just 4 weeks of using his products my penis is about 8 inches longer, and i had to settle thing out with my ex girlfriend , i was surprised when she said that she is satisfied with my performance in bed and i now have a large penis.thanks to DR OLU for is herbal product. you can also reach him with emsil  drolusolutionhome@gmail.com though is..number WHATASPP him today on this number [ +2348140654426 ]

Wales Publications said...

Wales publications assure you, with high indexed and archived online Publishing Consultant in UK for gigantic research. We enable library patrons to make it easy to discover and access more of the journals for more authentic information in the specific discipline.

Wales Publications said...

The fast submission process includes rapid Publication Research in UK that includes unique rapid process, inhouse peer review and 100% acceptance guarantee.

Pro Dissertation Writing said...

Pro Dissertation Writing is here to provide quality Best Dissertation Writing Services UK to help students getting over the pressure situation. Pro Dissertation Writing is one of the best Top UK Writing Services providing companies based in the United Kingdom. We are offering our dedicated services for over a decade, ensuring to deliver the best quality academic writing dissertation drafts.

Michael Patriciaa said...

Hello everyone i know there is someone somewhere reading this, My name is Nancy Perez from Leicester city, England, I want to share a great work of a spell caster called Dr Iyaya, my husband and i had a fight which led to our divorce but when he left me a part of me left with him and i was to sad and cried all day and night i was searching something online when i saw people testifying about his great work and i just decided to give him a try i did everything he told me to do and he assured me that after 24 hours my husband will come back to me,the next morning to my greatest surprised a car stopped outside my house and it was my husband i'm so happy he can also help you email him at doctoriyaya@gmail.com or WhatsApp him at +2347032756397
?? visit his website you may found your solution there www.https://dr-iyaya-herbal-remedy.webnode.com God bless you sir.