It’s not just ‘sticking it online’

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

I’ve mentioned asynchronous within learning a few times and I’m not convinced that there’s a clear understanding of how fundamental a shift this will make for learning design.

The idea of blending (mixing face to face/online meeting with additional elements) is pretty well known across the learning profession now but many failures exist in the design of blended learning programmes. This is partly to do with not recognising what blending should be. For many, it’s about crafting elements in online resource that can be chosen by a user. This creates a plethora of material that demands effective and confident curation. To curate as an individual is tough enough; to understand the nuances of someone’s work to be able to design a programme of support that will fit their context, as well as the individual contexts of other people is an art.

Alternatively, blending creates hurdles that users need to complete. The elearning course that is required to access a face to face/online event. The assessment that must be completed at 85% or better to allow a ‘pass’ to be registered. Is it any wonder people are uncomfortable with ‘having to do online’.

Throw into the mix the ways we’ve been working in the last year (in the knowledge work space at least), and it’s clear that the idea of asynchronous design would be appealing. However, if we’re designing based on the misunderstood principles of blending, then asynchronous will be doomed to fail.

The following list are just some of the principles that should be explicit in a asynchronous design approach:

  • Interaction
  • Accessibility
  • Questions and reflection
  • Creative practice
  • Problem building not solving
  • Collaboration
  • Outputs and outcomes

To try and summarise these in a single blog post wouldn’t do the subject (or principles justice), so I’ll be exploring them over the next few days.

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