Office of Grants and Training Approach for Blended Learning
Key Program Information
Blended Learning Approach
The G&T approach to Blended Learning includes the necessary concepts, best
practices, and tools for accomplishing the following:
- Increasing the quality, consistency, and accessibility of training
- Reducing classroom time by providing prerequisite learning materials through alternative media (allowing for more productive and enriching sessions and more time for hands-on exercises)
- Maximizing content sharing and reuse among training partner organizations
- Increasing training effectiveness and throughput by institutionalizing best practices and enabling larger numbers of trainees to meet awareness-level training objectives at minimum cost, thus leveraging valuable resources
The approach recognizes the importance and effectiveness of training centers
that provide unique, hands-on exercises and experiences. Combining
these traditional delivery methods with alternative instructional
the "blended" approach.
To help promote best practices and consistency in the selection,
design, and development of training, the following components are
included in the G&T Blended Learning Approach:
- Best practices and models are provided through the ADDIE model (Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation and Evaluation) and the Style Guide that provide guidance on the design concept, interactivity, media, graphics, and conformance with shareable content standards and accessibility standards.
- Tools such as the Delivery Methods Analysis Tool (DMAT) are provided to help users determine the appropriate delivery media for courses or modules in a consistent manner
- Guidelines are established and agreed upon by a Blended Learning Panel and are codified in Style Guides
The five stages of the ADDIE model are briefly discussed below.
The Analysis stage is the most critical stage in the implementation of a blended approach to training. Through proper analysis, the "Who, What, Where, Why, and By Whom" is determined for the training program. The Analysis phase includes:
- Curriculum and Needs Assessment
- Task Analysis
- Definition of Learning Objectives
- Delivery Methods Analysis
- Detailed Course Outline
To support the Analysis phase, the DMAT document provides a decision support methodology for how to approach, design, and deliver course modules (examining various media and technologies). From this assessment, course designers can create detailed course outlines, objectives, and learning activities.
Using the blended solution defined in the Analysis stage, the Design stage
creates the "blueprints" for the instructional experience. The instructional
designer plans the elements of instruction, such as instructional
objectives, assessment strategies, course outlines, design documents,
style guides and
storyboards to describe the presentation of content, practice activities,
and feedback mechanisms. The following processes are defined in
the G&T Style Guide for Web-based Training:
- Course Design Document
- Style Guide
- Evaluation Plan
These processes will provide training partners with generally accepted web-based training strategies, best practices, and standards for navigation, user interfaces, design and development processes and templates, instructional strategies, and courseware development and delivery.
During this production stage, designers and developers work to incorporate
the visual design of the instructional materials to facilitate
learning and determine appropriate interactions that are creative,
engage students to explore further. The G&T Style Guide for Web-based
Training provides development considerations including: Interactivity,
interoperability, reusability (e.g., Shareable Courseware Object Reference
and usability (such as Section 508). Tools that facilitate this
process are highlighted including templates and authoring tools.
During Implementation, the course is tested to ensure that the components
function as designed within the current environment. The development team
may use tools such as an implementation checklist to validate a successful
implementation and identify issues that must be addressed before full deployment.
The G&T Style Guide for Web-based Training provides practices including:
Running and testing of the system in the specified environment (system and
user acceptance testing); and planning for coordination and management of
the training program.
Feedback gathered through evaluations with end users ensures that the course functions as planned. Surveys and questionnaires address issues such as:
- Did students like the instruction?
- Did students achieve the established goals?
- Were students able to transfer what they learned to their on-the-job performance?
- Was there long-term return on the investment in the instructional experience?
Lessons learned result in action plans to guide future course development efforts - "closing the loop" of
the ADDIE process. Evaluation plans, templates, and considerations can be
found in the G &T Style Guide for Web-based Training.
Version 1.0 of the ODP Approach to Blended Learning is available on the
G&T website and on CD. G&T's current focus is the practical application
of Blended Learning theory to its training programs. Additional
tools to address best practices for content management systems, instructor
teletraining, and content packaging are also in development and
will be included in future versions.