ATD Blog

Try Everything? Not in Blended Learning

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

If you’ve seen Zootopia, one of the latest Disney films, you’ve heard Shakira’s hit song “Try Everything.” The lyrics and title aptly describe what we do as learning professionals when we design and develop new programs for our learners: What about BYOD and mobile learning? How about that new software that lets you create e-learning scenarios? Perhaps the latest in microlearning? 

Try everything!  

Yet the reality is that we can’t try everything. The amount of time and money spent on programs that were just not right for a variety of reasons is staggering. We have to get the idea that “if we build it they will come” out of our minds. We must examine our programs at the learning objective level and determine the best way to deliver and evaluate them. 

Creating a blend may seem like more work from a design standpoint, even if you’ve determined that it’s the best way to fulfill your learning objectives. But it’s really just looking at the work we already do in a different way. Here are a few ways we need to change our thinking—and the thinking in our organizations—to effectively create and deliver blended learning solutions: There are many people involved in blended learning solutions, including the learners. We must make sure we manage the process and the stakeholders to develop an effective blended solution. 


We need to become discerning buyers. We must understand our learners and their needs before we outsource any part of a blend. Good salespeople can be quite persuasive, so we should understand what we need! 


Finally, we need to become salespeople ourselves. We have to understand the needs of our learners and then be able to succinctly explain why a blend is the best solution. The blended instructional design process is the core of the ATD Blended Learning Certificate Program. The process clearly defines steps that engage your audience and help them see the benefits of a blended program. 

So, are you tired of trying everything? Join me at the ATD TechKnowledge Preconference Blended Learning Certificate Program, January 9-10, 2017, in Las Vegas to learn a process for delivering a program that meets your learners’ needs.

About the Author

Nancy Mikkelsen is passionate about the power of being positive and integrating that concept into everything she does. Nancy has over 25 years of experience in training and development in a variety of organizations ranging from large Fortune 500 companies to not-­‐for-­profit organizations. Her attitude, drive and skill at working at all levels within an organization and her ability to design, develop and deliver training has lead to positive results and a better bottom line. Nancy’s technical background led her to become a strong proponent of using the power of technology to transform learning. 

In addition to an engineering degree and extensive graduate work in Adult Education, Nancy has also been certified in a variety of educational tools such as the Kouzes/Posner Leadership Challenge and Career Coaching. She is also affiliated with Harvard Business Publishing delivering their Leadership Direct and Breakthrough Leadership Programs. 

Nancy is a National Member of ASTD and also served on several local chapter boards during her career. She also serves on several volunteer community boards. She devotes many hours to local community theater in Allentown both on and off stage.

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