In our previous blogs “Do you have the right blend?” and “What do you need to know about blended learning in Asia Today?”, we had talked about the different learning environments and forms of delivery of Blended Learning and how Blended Learning can lead to a greater acquisition of knowledge, building of skills and ultimately greater impact on personal and business development, respectively.

THE KEY REQUIREMENTS BEHIND BLENDED LEARNING IN ASIA

In this post we talk about the key requirements behind Blended Learning in Asia:

Do more with less: As the economic news becomes ever gloomier in Europe and the risk of “infecting” Asia has deepened, there has been a need to do more with less, generate better returns from training, and increase productivity. These budget constraints and the need to have a more productive workforce have proved key drivers for blended learning being more widely researched and implemented in Asia.

Greater measurement structure: As per a survey conducted by Cegos in 2011, training as a function has matured with almost half of major multinationals now measuring return on investment.

The more refined version of blended learning we see available now, is much more effective at achieving this by tracking the individual’s performance and measuring the impact of training and returns on investment.

Alignment with corporate goals: There are needs for structure and alignment between the company’s corporate and functional goals and the individual’s learning goals. Every individual should know what path their training is taking, where they are now and where they need to be at the end of their own learning path.

Learner-driven: The learner must be at the heart of all activities. The blend of learning should respond to the organisational and learner’s own needs in finding the most appropriate vehicle the individual can sign up to. The learning environment must be stimulating; as the new generation of learners is technology savvy, it requires innovative and customised delivery channels of training like gaming and stimulating activities.

Focus on skills: Blended learning must also focus on the hard skills of business, tailored case studies, role playing scenarios and eLearning modules that are grounded in modern-day business realities. Developing management skills, managing change, sales, negotiation, and enhancing customer relationships are all disciplines ideal for blended learning.

Flexible: Blended learning must be flexible with a balance between informal and formal, a mixing and matching to meet individual needs, and the ability to move seamlessly between live online learning and other blended learning activities. There is no right blend – every single part of the blended learning should stand up in its own right and add to the learning experience.

Customisation: There is also a need for customisation and this doesn’t mean just putting a brand logo on the pre-existing training materials. It is about working closely with the key stakeholders within the learning community to build relevant and appropriate content, supported by activities and learning scenarios linked to the client’s and the learner’s work realities and challenges. Customisation, however, must always be firmly anchored back to learning goals and desired outcomes – the ultimate litmus test for any part of blended learning.

Measurable: If the blended learning is truly integrated rather than ‘assembled’, it should also be instantly measurable with a clear focus on ROI – which is defined right at the beginning of the process. Individual needs should be tracked throughout the process and accelerated if necessary.

Technology as the Enabler: In blended learning, technology should be an enabler rather than a driver. The technology’s functionality needs to be clearly understood by the user, it can help in the delivery of personalised content, and it can create as close to a live interactive, senses-focused environment as possible.

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