Designing for today's hybrid learning environment needs to be strategic. Here's an infographic.
Read on - or get the big picture in our infographic Instructional Strategies, Techniques, and Technologies.
Planning for hybrid learning today requires a well-thought-out strategy. It's not just about choosing a technology platform anymore. We need to think about where learners are located, what device they're using, and ensure our course design fits their learning goals.
Without a strategic design of content that is both relevant and accessible, learners may resort to finding content independently. This leaves the Learning & Development (L&D) department with no influence over the accuracy or applicability of the information accessed. Moreover, it obscures our understanding of what people need to learn, and whether consistent messages are being disseminated across our learner population.
As such, our focus must extend beyond merely creating content. We need to design the entire learning experience, considering what learners need both during and outside the formal blended learning campaign.
While you might think the main focus should be on technology choices, like eLearning platforms or mobile access, modern blended learning design goes further. It's about picking the right design strategy, using the best instructional method with it, and implementing this method with the most fitting instructional technology.
The Role of Instructional Design
With regards to blended learning, instructional design is more critical than ever before. More importantly, a lack of instructional design is more obvious than ever before.
Instructional design for modern blended learning must be rigorously applied – a bad or less-than-effective design is much more apparent when the learner is exposed to a variety of instructional treatments that can’t be “made OK” by an instructor in the room. The BIG question in a blended solution is how to know when to use which of the myriad techniques and technologies to best effect.
One of the challenges for instructional designers today is that there are a lot of concepts, tools, and terms that seem to be important – hardly a day goes by that some new theory or treatment recommendation is touted as the harbinger of groundbreaking change that will redefine how we instruct, learn, or assess.
New research into instructional tools, techniques, technology etc. is great, but the results and their interpretation generally leave a learning professional with little idea how to apply them, not to mention how to leverage them strategically to connect the dots between all the learning objectives in a blended learning curriculum. The strategies, techniques and technologies below will help you connect the dots. And this infographic provides a quick helpful visual.
Instructional Strategies, Techniques, And Technologies
Understanding the complex world of blended learning can be made easier by categorizing key concepts into three main groups: instructional strategies, instructional techniques, and instructional technologies. This classification, although not exclusive, provides a coherent structure that allows for a more insightful exploration of blended learning.
Instructional Strategies: Crafting Success
Which instructional strategy is best suited to guide learners towards achieving their specific learning objectives? The moment you finalize your instructional strategy, you've essentially set a comprehensive plan in motion to address the educational need. This strategy provides the framework that will be filled with an array of techniques and technologies aimed at fulfilling your instructional goal.
In essence, an instructional strategy is formed based on fundamental characteristics inherent in both the learners and the content. It's not a one-size-fits-all solution, but rather a tailored approach that considers the unique needs and nature of the learning audience as well as the specifics of the content.
Instructional strategies span a wide spectrum, from game-based learning and social collaborative learning to problem-based learning, self-directed learning, and case-based learning. Task-based instruction also forms an integral part of this diverse mix. Each of these strategies offers its own unique advantages and can be selected based on the learning objectives and the audience's characteristics. By choosing the right strategy, we can create an environment conducive to effective learning and mastery of the subject matter.
Instructional Techniques: Enhancing Learning
Deciding on the most effective instructional technique (or a combination of techniques) is crucial to the successful implementation of an instructional strategy. These techniques act as the pillars that support the overarching strategy. They are comparable to one another in that they can be interchanged without altering the intended outcome for the learner, although the experience itself may differ significantly.
However, this does not imply that different techniques applied to identical content will yield identical experiences. For instance, self-paced computer-based instruction and traditional in-person teaching are fundamentally distinct approaches. Yet, regardless of the method employed, the learner's incremental progress towards the overall educational objective remains consistent.
Instructional techniques provide a framework outlining how learners will navigate through the instructional process. These can range from simulations, curated learning environments, and learning communities to gamification, case studies, and moderated discussions or lectures.
It's important to note that the requirements for assessment and evaluation heavily influence the selection of appropriate techniques for a blended learning solution. Therefore, careful consideration should be given to these factors to ensure the best possible learning experience for all involved.
Instructional Technologies: Leveraging the Right Tools for Effective Learning
Determining which technologies and tools to utilize in order to support instructional techniques is a crucial aspect of blended learning. These technologies, which encompass both authoring and delivery tools, are instrumental in deploying various instructional methods. For instance, lectures, a traditional teaching method, can be delivered in a physical classroom, a virtual learning environment, through video content, or even via podcasts.
The choice of technology largely depends on the assessment and evaluation needs of your instructional design. Moreover, it's influenced by the context in which learners will be applying their newly acquired skills or knowledge. The aim is to deploy learning in the most authentic and relevant way possible, enhancing its real-world applicability.
While navigating through the vast array of instructional technologies may initially seem daunting, remember that clarity is your ally. Understanding the differences between instructional strategies, techniques, and technologies is key to devising a comprehensive and effective instructional design plan.
Understanding the Differences - Instructional Strategies, Techniques, and Technologies
The distinctions between instructional strategies, techniques, and technologies are key to creating an effective learning environment.
An instructional strategy is the comprehensive plan that outlines how a specific learning objective will be achieved. It's the guiding principle that drives the learning process, taking into account the nature of the learning audience and the content.
Instructional techniques, on the other hand, are the methods employed within the framework of the instructional strategy. They are adaptable, interchangeable tools that shape the learning experience, each offering a unique path towards the same end goal of knowledge mastery.
Lastly, instructional technologies refer to the digital tools and platforms used to facilitate and enhance learning. These technologies can range from e-learning platforms and educational apps to interactive whiteboards and virtual reality systems.
Understanding these distinctions allows educators to better tailor their teaching approach to their learners' needs, harnessing the power of each element to create a holistic and effective learning experience. It's the careful orchestration of these three components that leads to successful instruction, fostering an environment where every learner has the opportunity to thrive.
What's Next for Virtual Instructional Designers?
The Instructional Strategies, Techniques, and Technologies infographic is a great start - but it doesn't get down to the minute-to-minute design process.
Earn your Virtual Classroom Design Certification. Sign up for InSync's Virtual Classroom Design Mastery certificate program. Become an expert in fostering engagement and creating dynamic virtual learning experiences. Take the next step in shaping impactful virtual classrooms.