Long-term, regular consultant for UN Organizations (ITALY)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN16 Proceedings
Publication year: 2016
Page: 4334 (abstract only)
ISBN: 978-84-608-8860-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2016.2050
Conference name: 8th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2016
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Blended learning has been identified by the American Society for Training and Development in 2003 as “one of the top trends emerged in the knowledge delivery industry [1]”. However, thirteen years later, despite the abundant literature available to guide instructional designers in the identification of the most appropriate blended learning components, there is often a gap between the theory and its application. Many of the current implementations of blended learning are experienced by learners as a simple mix of delivery methods that do not take into account their identified needs, or the type and level of the program’s learning objectives. In particular, global audiences may experience a lack of consistency, since a “one size fits all” blended learning approach is often ineffective in meeting the needs of a diverse audience [2].

What the presentation will cover:
The presentation will focus on practical tips to promote quality in blended learning course design. This approach has been used to design and deliver comprehensive blended learning courses to enhance capacities in stakeholders implementing human rights-based programmes in low-income countries.

The focus will be on practical tips to select the most appropriate delivery methods, and to define a blended learning strategy taking into account the audience’s features and learning needs. Then, it will focus on how to pay attention to fundamental quality criteria while designing the programme (such as the ECBCheck criteria [3]). In particular, the presentation will provide tips on how to address a number of key quality criteria such as “Target group orientation”, “Quality of content”, “Alignment between learning objectives, activities and assessments”, and “Participatory approach”. It will highlight how blended learning is an excellent opportunity for applying a learner-centered approach to course design and delivery, ensuring that a participatory approach is maintained as a continuum, both in the face-to-face elements and in the online elements of the programme. As an example, it will illustrate how collaborative online activities available on Moodle (a free online learning management system) can be used effectively to ensure a meaningful and engaging participatory approach, and to avoid the “one size fits all” methodology when delivering the blended learning programme to diverse audiences.
Lastly, it will illustrate one example of workflow for blended learning design, to promote quality through peer-reviews, quality checks, iterative modifications and improvements.

[1] Rooney, 2003, p.1
[2] Walkgrove Limited, 2015
Blended learning, blended learning design, quality criteria, learner-centered.