Gave a talk at the e-learning forum taday and it struck me afterwards that blended learning has taken root but it has no define shape, theory, methodology or best practice. You can call anything a blended solution. Most of the definitions are really 'blended instruction'. All we have are lots of unvalidated examples.
Blended learning, in practice, seems to be simply a nice way for the old world to cope with the new. It's a sugar coating on what many see as a bitter pill - the fact that the dominance of the classroom is fading fast. Technology is providing the social spaces, content, tools, access, media types that allow us to learn what we want, where and when we want. Blended learning is simply a cipher for the process of coping with that truth. It's a soft term that hides a hard, and for some unpalatable, truth.
Blended learning is starting to embrace a huge variety of 'word of mouse' techniques in learning. We need to see Blended learning (not instruction) as being focused on learning, not instructional techniques. With the web we have the learners themselves create, access, comment and use content. This really is matching the learner with their actual needs. It copes with different personality types, preferences and needs in a way that traditional training and education does not. In short, blended learning means that the war has been won. Technology based learning is here to stay, an irreversible trend that will radically change the way we learn on a similar scale to the way it has changed the way we work.