How to optimize the design of your blended education program

Written by on 07/01/2019 in Blog

Now is the time of year that education departments, business schools and language academies face up to the annual challenge of creating their course brochures for the following year. Decisions to be made are quite straightforward:
• What to remove from previous year.
• What to add for next year.
• Which courses to update or change, especially when taking into consideration the latest developments in blended learning and the effects of rapidly evolving digital innovations, as these are now the main drivers of modern education. 

It was years ago, in Adhoc Learning when we developed a 2 by 2 technique that paid off handsomely in decision-making. I’ll share it with you so that you can try it, as I believe you’ll find it of benefit. 

This post was previous to a webinar held on February 14th. You may access to the webinar recordings and rest of material by registering in our campus and then self-enrolling to the course-webinar. To do it you have to click here.

(This link takes you to our campus for practitioners. If you are new to it, you need to register first to get enrolled).

The aim of the technique is to enable you to rank your education programs in order to make common sense decisions that lead to profitable actions. For that you have to consider two criteria: the value to business of each course and its implementation costs. 

It might be quite easy to understand both criteria, i.e. Sales courses and language courses will have a positive impact on business, but in different degree. In that case Value to business criteria can be broken down into other sub-criteria i.e. amount of target students, position in the organization, etc. , while transforming some of those courses from face to face to a blended mode might require to look at additional sub-criteria. 

Once sub-criteria components have been defined you have to assign the upper and lower limits of the values they take in order to weight each sub-criteria appropriately. 

Here’s an example. Suppose you are considering which courses to convert from face to face into blended learning: 

predicted student numbers may help you compare and assign an appropriate weight to education initiatives from value to business criteria data 
• >80% potential attendees ……………………. assign weight 3
• >50% and <80% potential attendees…… assign weight 2
• <50% potential attendees…………………….. assign weight 1

The more students to be trained the higher scores the potential attendees’ sub-criteria.

The quality of the course materials (teacher texts; student texts etc.) represents a key implementation cost component (sub-criteria). Using that, you may assess how much of the course is properly documented and assign a weighting: 
• >80% properly documented…………………… assign weight 1
• >50% and <80% properly documented…. assign weight 2
• <50% properly documented…………………… assign weight 3

The better and more documented is the raw material the less implementation cost will represent the quality of the raw material sub-criteria.

You register the detailed data in a spreadsheet in which implementation costs are entered on the “X-axis” and business value on the “Y-axis” for each course. Create a 2 by 2 scatter plot graph from your spreadsheet data using the average mean to center the cloud of results and make it more readable.

In your graph you’ll get four regions or quadrants. Then your graph will be around the XY axis, from which you may set your action priorities:

1. Top left (Y>0; X<0): High “Impact on business” and low “Implementation costs” >>>> First priority initiatives (courses) to be transformed from face to face to blended learning.
2. Top right “Y>0; X>0”: High “Impact on business” and high “Implementation costs” >>>> Second in priority to be transformed
3. Bottom left “Y<0; X<0”: Low “Impact on business” and low “Implementation costs” >>>>> Last priority to be changed
4. Bottom right “Y<0; X>0”: Low “Impact on business” and high “Implementation costs” >>>>> Not interesting to change

Ranking of education initiatives to be transformed into a blended approach

In the case of education departments from enterprises, you may collect data of criteria assessment surveying business managers and trainers.

In the case of language academies and business schools you may select as one of “Value to business” criteria components the forecasted # of students that will contribute to the revenue of the school per course, etc.

The value of this technique is that can be used on an ongoing basis and is not limited in use to the first year you carry it out. You may find that it becomes part of your best practice. You can apply it every year, or every time you have to make the decision which course to prioritize for conversion to a blended learning approach, as business conditions, implementation costs and technology are continuously changing. This will allow you to make comparisons across several years. Additionally, you will have homogeneous criteria for all education programs that take all the components into consideration at once. 

This post was previous to a webinar held on February 14th. You may access to the webinar recordings and rest of material by registering in our campus and then self-enrolling to the course-webinar. To do it you have to click here.

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