Blended courses (also known as hybrid or mixed-mode courses) are classes where a portion of the traditional face-to-face instruction is replaced by web-based online learning.”  (BlendedLearningToolkit)

However, the concept of a blended approach in both education and training is not new.  It goes back almost to the beginning of the 20th Century where, instead of technology, classrooms provided students with, “The Weekly Reader,” and similar “outside the textbook/lecture day” materials in order to augment the textbook/lecture regimen.  Then came the filmstrip, slide shows, movie projectors, wire and tape recorders etc.  It seems that both education and training have been engaged in some form of blended learning for a long time.

Today, blended learning makes much of e-Learning as the blended part of the textbook/lecture curriculum.  And, for those who adopt this approach it seems, for the most part, to be working well.

In the best commercially available multi-sensory e-Learning programs, video, graphics and audio do most of the teaching.  Experts agree, and the research proves, that active multi-sensory teaching is markedly more effective than passive acquisition of information acquired through classroom lectures.

Effective multi-sensory training programs are also competency-based and real-world in nature.  Trainees learn how to perform “hard” or “soft” skills, and they are taught these skills within the context of relevant job or life situations.  Being able to see how newly acquired skills or knowledge can improve one’s day-to-day life is the best motivation for adult learners.

Driven by the business sector’s need to show return on investment, effective multi-sensory instruction is also measurable.  It has testing elements that assess a student’s incoming skill or knowledge level, and re-evaluates progress upon completion.  Most importantly, those tests can be re-used months after initial training to measure retention, the bottom-line of successful training.

Interactivity is one of the most critical factors for the success of multi-sensory programs.  Almost every expert of learning concurs that doing and experiencing are the key elements in the acquisition of new skills and knowledge.  Well-designed multi-sensory programs require learners to be active participants in their own learning process, instead of being uninvolved listeners receiving information delivered in a passive environment.

At the heart of the success of multi-sensory training programs is “learner control.”  Most high quality programs are designed and used as individualized, one-on-one instruction, with the learner controlling the sequence and path of learning.  In fact, 76% of organizations using multi-sensory instruction use it this way. 

Programs that embed flexible and non-linear design can accommodate a wide variety of learning styles and ability levels.  Slow learners, for instance, can spend more time reviewing and practicing difficult material, while fast learners are not penalized by boredom or frustration under an externally imposed pace or path.  Optional word-for-word audio (a requirement in today’s e-Learning environment) allows less fluent readers an equal opportunity to learn while, at the same time, the more fluent readers can disengage the audio function and move forward at their own pace.  Flexible, non-linear programs can also deliver instruction in varying depths so that it can be used for different purposes.

Without question, multi-sensory instruction is the ideal training choice for your blended learning programs.  And, with good reason!  The research points positively to the phenomenal results that can be achieved with knowledgeably designed e-Learning instruction.

More on Wednesday  –  –  –

— Bill Walton, co-Founder, ITC Learning

 March 5, 2018  (Mondays & Wednesdays)


 (This is a personal blog.  Any views or opinions represented in this blog are personal and belong solely to the blog owner,, an independent consultant.  They do not represent those of people, institutions or organizations that the owner may or may not be associated with in a professional or personal capacity.)