5 tasty books on blended learning

Posted on Sep 07, 2017

Learning strategies

Elearning

Designing a blended learning programme is a bit like making a cake: the skill lies in bringing together the best ingredients available to create a successful mix of methods and media that deliver the best possible learning experience.  

When you get it right, there are benefits for both learners and organisations, as insurance giant AXA discovered.  The company used a blended learning approach to deliver outstanding and personalised customer service at its business insurance call centre. It resulted in a 145% increase in positive customer comments and a highly enjoyable learning experience for staff. The project has now been shortlisted for a major award.

So, where do you start with blended learning?  The very first step is to do your research, so we’ve pulled together some key background reading. 

If you’re looking to get started with blended learning, refresh your knowledge, or dig deeper into the theory, this list is for you.

1. The Blended Learning Cookbook

Read for: A simple explanation of blended learning and its various ‘recipes’.

This book really got the L&D world engaged in thinking about blended learning. It offers practical advice on how to approach the design of a blended programme and a series of helpful tables to make sense of the method and media definitions. The author states: “It provides imaginative solutions to a broad range of typical problems - solutions that will be readily adaptable to the reader's own situation.”

Author: Clive Shepherd.

Date of publication: 2005, 2008

Review: “The book is a refreshingly clear explanation that cuts through the fog by determining exactly what blended learning really is.” –  Amazon review.

Formats: Paperback. 

Purchase: Amazon

2. The Blended Learning Book

Read for: Learning how to combine latest technology and traditional learning methods.

Features real life stories and case studies from major organisations and has examples of where getting the blend right has had a positive impact on business results.

Author: Josh Bersin. 

Date of publication: 2004.

Review: “Required reading for any Learning and Development professional who would like to understand the theory and principles of blended learning but also for those implementing and co-ordinating the programme, due to its high level of practical examples, case studies, tools and checklists.” – Good Reads review.

Formats: Kindle, hardback. 

Website: Josh Bersin

3. More Than Blended Learning

Read for: How the theory is put into practice by applying a simple design process.

Using storytelling, case studies and analysis, the author describes how and why the ‘More Than’ approach can be used to transform learning.

Author: Clive Shepherd.  

Date of publication: 2015.

Review: “It looks at the blend across all stages of the learning journey. There's extensive content on methods and media, but most valuable of all were the case studies showing how organisations have created the most efficient and effective blend for the learning need.” – Amazon review.

Formats: Paperback, Kindle. 

Purchase: Amazon

4. The Handbook of Blended Learning: Global Perspectives, Local Designs

Read for: Examples of how particular solutions have been designed for specific learning situations all around the world.

Includes contributions from trainers, consultants, professors, learning strategists, learning managers, CEOs, and directors of global talent and organizational development.

Authors: Curtis J Bonk & Charles R Graham.  

Date of Publication: 2006.

Review: “Filled with insight and lessons learned from some of the most experienced online and in-person educators in the workplace and higher education." – Zane L. Berge, associate professor, University of Michigan Business College.

Formats: Hardback, Kindle.

Website: Curt Bonk. 

Purchase: Amazon.

5. The Really Useful #Edtech Book

Read for:  Examples from learning practitioners, researchers and learning professionals with a particular focus on using technology as a core part of the blend. 

Author: David Hopkins. 

Date of publication: 2015.

Review: “A very insightful and extensive collection of authentic accounts by practitioners who identify themselves as learning technologists in a variety of education settings.”

Formats:  Kindle, Paperback. 

Purchase: Amazon.

There’s certainly no shortage of literature out there about blended learning.  But, if you can recommend any other books to add to this blended learning list, do share them with us @Sponge_UK on Twitter. 

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