How Is Designing Modern Blended Learning Different? HINT: Creativity

Posted by Phylise Banner on Jan 4, 2017 12:00:00 PM
Phylise Banner

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Blended Learning Instructional Design

When I was a kid, I designed what I thought was the world’s coolest car. I designed it with retractable wings so we could fly out of heavy traffic. It had big fat rubber tires in case I was challenged to a race.  I also designed my car so that the backseat passenger could stand up and pop their head through a glass bubble on top of the roof of the car! Why not? 

As I got older, my vision of the coolest car changed. I found myself thinking more practically. I ditched the retractable wings and the backseat roof bubble for better safety ratings and better storage. Basically, what happened was that I stopped being creative, and I became practical.

So how does this relate to designing for modern blended learning? When you’re designing for a modern blend, you have the opportunity to stop being practical and go back to being creative.

When it comes to designing for a modern blend, we need to go back to the days of thinking about designing cars with wings, racing wheels, and a backseat with a roof bubble. Basically, we need to give our learners a backseat roof bubble!

It all centers on the idea of giving our learners something different and unique. Sure, a roof bubble that you can stand up and poke your head through isn’t very practical, but the modern blend enables us to move away from practicality, and offer our learners a much more interesting experience on their journey.

When designing for a modern blend, do not be afraid to explore new ideas or new approaches. Try creating a short video narrative on your smart phone to provide feedback to your learners, or create a leaderboard in your virtual classroom to inspire learners to earn reward points that they can exchange for free classes.

In the end, your designs need to be well thought out and in alignment with learning goals and objectives. But the route to those goals and objectives does not have to be a straight line. That journey can, and should, have multiple pathways.  

Designing for modern blended learning can be inspired by interesting ideas and open up ways for learners to personalize their experiences. Here is our opportunity to really stretch the boundaries of the learning experience. Why not add a swimming pool to the world’s coolest car?

So let’s go back to the question: How is designing modern blended learning different? It’s different because our learners have the freedom to explore whatever resources they choose, and we have the opportunity to design, curate, and deliver the resources we know will address their moments of learning need.

We are not in full control of the modern blend, and that’s a good thing. Our learners can find what they want and need on their own. Our designs should enable our learners to choose what, where, when, and how they want to learn.

Teach them to fish? Enable them to choose! Choose to read, write, watch, listen, create, text, play, curate, etc.

Designing modern blended learning experiences is the perfect opportunity to integrate creativity back into our practical work, and to offer our learners a more interesting view as they progress along their learning journeys.

Join me next week as we pop our heads up to look into modern approaches to instructional design. 

Related resources:

Book: In Steven Kotler’s 2014 book, The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance, he states that when we shorten the learning curve with frequent flow experiences versus one crammed learning experience, the amount of time to train novices to become experts is reduced by 50 percent. And research suggests that learners retain more when the experience is fun.

Whitepaper: The Pedagogy of Learning Design

Understanding the basics helps you to be creative!  The term pedagogy is often loosely defined as the art or science of teaching. Derived from French and Latin adaptations of a Greek term, the word denotes the ancient Greek tradition of having a slave who would lead his master’s child to a place of learning -- literally “leading the learner to learn.” Leading learners to learn is the art and science we embrace as professionals in the field of e-learning. This whitepaper reveals the craft that lies at the intersection of that art and science, merging learning theories with applied effective practices in support of quality e-learning experience design -- the craft that enables us to lead our learners to learn.

Certificate ProgramVirtual Classroom Design Mastery Series 

Well-designed Virtual Classroom programs work great in blended learning. Click the icon below to register for our upcoming Virtual Classroom Design Mastery Series certificate program. 

Virtual Classroom Design Mastery Series Badge


Topics: Virtual Classroom - Instructional Design, 50 Modern Blended Learning Blogs, Blended Learning Instructional Design