The Cool Blend for Learning

The meta-verse seems to generate so many ‘new’ variations on any given theme these days that no one should be hard on another for mixing their descriptions, acronyms or buzz-terms. One reason for this is of course to make those dreaming up new terms discoverable through search — as search rewards those who generate new content. This post is about re-generating better courses from what has worked well in the past using cycles that are well proven in Blended Learning.

Regardless of your enthusiasm for one technology over another, or which pedagogy you believe best suits you and your students, there is one factor which separates a ‘fresh blend’ from one stewing on the stove of in-difference. I mention this because often courses are simply ‘rolled over’ like turning a bed-sheet rather than given a damn good airing. Another problem is that way too many EdTech’s tour the planet like some 70s prog-rock relic band churning out crowd pleasers.

The solution is quite simple: Each time a course is run, it goes though a development cycle in order to identify improvements, efficiencies and better experiences. This is fairly basic stuff for Educational Developers (ED)– they are used to pulling things apart, doing a spot of design thinking and coming up with new solutions. If you are not an ED-type, then you can still play along … when you’re reviewing your course – or thinking of a new one — then you should be looking at this list of elements in order to ‘blend’ your face to face efforts with your digital efforts.

  • Time (face to face vs online live / archived /pre-recorded lectures)
  • Place (online discussion circles, small group collaboration, virtual webinars, consultations)
  • People (guest lecturers, existing video/audio, off-campus and on-campus connectivity)
  • Resources (eReserve, digital collections, curations, playlists, online readings)
  • Activities (online quiz, collaborative production, self-paced, blogging)

Blended learning promotes good preparation and decision making about the course design and embedded technological components. As improvements are made to the technology itself, new opportunities are presented to enhance the learning experiences of students and to optimise the construction and maintenance of courses and resources.

So before you get carried away with cool-words flashing across Twitter, consider that creativity and ‘out-there’ thinking does not create the kind of robust improvements and revisions that often see success in business, products and … education. With so many exciting things going on, the cool courses are the ones which get regular maintenance and evolve with the times.