Sunday, June 7, 2015

Have you always been teaching Blended Learning?

Pedro-Luis Garrido-Cano
A long time ago. When I started working in engineering, someone showed me a diagram of what would happen to me in my work life. The image of that graph is stuck in my mind. Regardless of the work exercised (quality control, management, education), it has never ceased to be met.
This is the graph:

To understand this process we must start at the bottom and "climb" for the "Y" axis. In the first stage, you will be a "Rookie engineer". Here, you will always be working and you will have no "Business meetings" or "Business meals".
According to your climb in age and experience, you will cross over the border "Junior Engineer". We will find in the area between "Junior Engineer" and "Senior Engineer". At this stage, you will begin to have "Business meetings" and "Business meals". Thus, as you are ascending, your "Effective work" will diminish as the other tasks will occupy its place.
Finally, you shall cross over the border "Senior engineer" and you will become "Experienced engineer". In this area you have many commitments and "Effective work" will be drastically reduced by the "Business meetings" and "Business meals". Managers can analyze their work experience and will feel reflected in this graph.

And how can we move this work behavior graph to the concept of mixed education? The answer is found by changing the terms inside the graph, with those in the following:

I will change the "Y" axis, where it was before the rise in our profession, now is our progression from birth to working life. The area "Effective work" is replaced by our presential learning ("FACE to FACE" - F2F), "Business meetings" is changed by the "Labour Time" and "Business meals" for "eLearning".
It is clear that from our "Birth" to "Kindergarten" is where we devote more time to "F2F". Our "Labour Time" is limited to what adults teach, teaching us the basics of life and later the housework (pick up our toys, clothing, lay the table, etc.) and above all play. For "eLearning" will be limited to watching TV, cinema and (nowadays) we will have our "first computer" or some Video Console. And it is very likely "to borrow" parent mobiles!
If we analyze this behavior in children, we will soon realize that here we have the three concepts that form the Blended Learning ("Labour Time", "F2F" "eLearning"). Therefore, the answer to: Have you always been teaching Blended Learning? should be "Yes". Although we must also note that until recently we had not noticed or had not been given sufficient attention to it. But before taking any conclusions, consider what would happen during our school and working life.
In the next step, going from the "Kindergarten" to "Upper education" through the "School", we find an increasingly sharp decline in teaching "F2F". This kind of teaching is being replaced by (in the case of "Labour Time") time for homework, cultural visits, individual and group work, work placements, research, etc. And the "eLearning", initially, with seeking information through books, manuals, Internet and gradually in new platforms.
The challenge that we face is the standardization of Blended Learning. Because although, I drew an isosceles triangle, the reality is that the triangle type will be influenced by our "areas of interest".
This is what the need for standardization arise. Standardization that will help us to obtain the best results in teaching. And, it is with this research project that some answers will be given to questions like: how long to spend on each task?, what are the most desirable qualities of an eLearning platform?, how a student is motivated?, What work has to be done?, etc. Surely, this will raise more questions than answers or results. Otherwise, we will not have achieved our objectives: lay the foundations of a good standardization, if these questions are not included in the standardization process. And we will (probably) get a right triangle (which does not include any kind of learning).

If this project succeeds, will be the "seed" of a good standardization. In this way, we can go one step further: using this methodology as framework in the work market. Although this is beyond our study we can make a small reflection of the work market. In this time of crisis, we are seeing a lack of job opportunities for "adult" people. Among the major problems we encountered is the lack of flexibility in the retraining of workers and therefore people is unable to learn new technologies. Leading to a lower chance for changing jobs or way of working.

In my opinion, BLearning is a good tool to keep workers in the recycling activity. Because, as their time for "F2F" is drastically reduced, they cannot leave their job. If we can supply them with Elearning plus "F2F", we reached the top of our graph. And so, combine "Labour Time" and "Education" so that the "recycling" of workers can be an effective task.

And now a bit of advertising, if you want to participate in this exciting challenge. Meet us in Malaga (Spain) on 27, 28 and August 29, 2015 (Quality System for BLearning Education Conference, Málaga Conference web Page )
Project web page:

Register at the conference: Registration page

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