Did you know: Jason Milligan, creative director and head writer at Sesame Workshop, recently said that cult children’s TV programme, Sesame Street began as a result of dinner party question. Someone asked, ‘Can television teach?’
Sesame Street has of course evolved since the 1960s and its modern day goal is, ‘How can we use the educational power of media to help children everywhere reach their highest potential?’ Thanks to rapid technological advancements in recent years, Sesame Street has become truly kinetic television enabling children to interact physically with its content.
Take a tip from Sesame Street
I am sure you’re wondering how Sesame Street links to grown-up, corporate learning! I believe business leaders should take a tip from Sesame Street’s approach to blending learning: the show’s producers have continually embraced current media and methods to deliver an optimum educational programme. When it comes to planning your learning and development strategy for the year ahead, maybe the question to ask yourself now is, ‘If I were to create a learning strategy which would allow my learners to reach their highest potential, what would it look like?’
According to Clive Shepherd, an independent consultant on blended learning, ‘A blended learning solution combines educational and training methods within different social contexts for learning [self-study, one-to-one, small group, larger community], with the aim of increasing learning effectiveness. It may also mix the learning media used to deliver the solution [face-to-face, online, offline, mobile, etc.] as a way to optimise the efficiency of the solution. These choices are made in response to particular learning requirements, audience characteristics, and practical constraints and opportunities.’ (CIPD, 2009)
Blended learning that works
So perhaps now the question evolves from ‘Does blended learning lead to better staff training?’ to ‘How do I create blended learning that works?’ As with most of the questions in this article, the answer lies within. Start by asking:
- What are our key learning challenges as an organisation?
- How do we engage our employees’ individual learning styles with a blended approach?
- Which unique learning opportunities exist within our business and how do we optimise them?
- What are the constraints that will impact the success of our learning strategy?
Invest time as a business analysing which instructional methods work best, before deciding how different learning media can be best deployed. Ultimately, it is up to you to evaluate (and re-evaluate) whether the learning blends you offer are as effective and efficient as they can be. As with all learning, asking the right questions is the most important start.