In a recent article Where Are All the Blended Learning Designers, Mark Harrison warns
A well designed blend should provide both the structure that some learners need, and the flexibility and learner centricity that others require. A set of engaging resources is an exciting and eye-catching option but without a master plan (created by a smart Blended Designer) it can just lead to confusion for some of the target audience.
He says many designers make the mistake of presenting aspects of the blend as complex documents that no one will read. Learner journeys portrayed visually will be much more effective at conveying purpose.
Clive Shepherd’s PIAF framework is simple enough to serve as a visual journey. Clive talks about blends of learning strategies, social contexts, communication modes and delivery channels, but all in the service of this learning journey – Preparation, Input, Application and Followup.
In the is crude example, in Preparation we promote the programme, both broadcast and individually, and we offer a pre-quiz to restimulate previous knowledge and demonstrate existing expertise. Then the main course is delivered, whether face to face or online, at the end of which we are asked to commit to an action, by email, and get access to a bank of job aids so we don’t have to go back to the course for reminders when a need arises. There can also be an opportunity to ask questions to an expert or a community. Finally we send out spaced reminders – a story here, a mnemonic there, a ‘what would you do?’ question, and follow up with a survey after some months to see if behaviour has changed.
Too much emphasis on channels, learning strategy and modes of communication might be confusing for the sponsor (although you should know it) but PIAF gives a fairly commonsense way of grasping the idea that a course can be more than just a course.