Blended learning delivery channels

August 15, 2007

Results of our recent survey about delivery channels used by those designing and/or delivering blended learning programs indicate self-paced online learning, traditional classroom training, and documents (print and electronic) are used most often in blended learning programs (but not necessarily together). The survey wasn’t about ‘how you blend’ or ‘methods you blend’ but was about ‘channels.’ Think cooking – not how to make the cake, or different ways to make the cake, but what ingredients you most frequently use.

Much is written about early adopter and highly innovative organizations and their use of newer delivery channels while the mainstream trudges along. Everyone’s not using wikis, blogging, or delivering content for mobile devices.

In the middle of the curve blended learning is still emerging (many are blending but only a small percentage of offerings are currently blended) with many organizations just now beginning to use Web 2.0 tools for collaboration (a broad category that includes blogs, wikis, chat, and discussion forums).

The 50 percent number associated with Web 2.0 tools includes discussion boards and chat – available with most LMSs so I suspect the higher percentage is driven by that since this was a corporate survey. However, the higher usage of Web 2.0 tools suggests mainstream movement toward greater collaboration, engagement, and support for the social aspect of learning in an online environment.

Here’s a breakdown from a small (150ish) sample of learning professionals from our Insight & Intelligence Forum:

Top (50 percent or more)
Self-paced online: 94 percent
Traditional Classroom: 91 percent
Print Materials: 79 percent
Electronic documents: 72 percent
Assessments: 69 percent
Virtual classroom: 60 percent
F2F tutoring/mentoring: 58 percent
Online simulations: 55 percent
Structured on-the-job training: 50 percent
Web 2.0 collaboration*: 50 percent
*wikis, blogs, discussion forums, chat

Middle (25-50 percent)
Virtual tutoring/mentoring: 39 percent
Knowledge repository: 38 percent
Hands-on lab: 38 percent
Teleconferencing: 36 percent
Videoconferencing: 26 percent

Bottom (Less than 25 percent)
Mobile Learning: 14 percent
Broadcast/Satellite: 14 percent
Embedded learning: 21 percent
Podcasting/Vodcasting: 21 percent
Online games: 22 percent
Virtual Lab: 22 percent

These percentages are consistent with the information I gathered from interviews and reviews of case studies. Is this consistent with what you’re seeing and/or doing?

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