Avoid the Education Program Cliff

For success in EOD:  Education on Demand, which is an interactive blend of f2f and digital options, education blueprints are required.  The use of the term “blueprint” is deliberate.  Blueprints provide the overall and specific details of complex construction.  Building aligned education experiences where both f2f and online complement each other is complex construction with moving targets.

A full set of architectural construction drawings includes layer upon layer, e.g., exterior elevations (front, rear, side); foundation plans; floor plans (with additional pages that take the reader down to smaller levels such as kitchen cabinet renderings); etc.   Successful EOD requires that type of detailed design whether new construction or remodeling.

Just as blueprints guide building construction, education blueprints guide EOD.    Frequently organizations from public schools to professional societies, embark on digital delivery with assumptions that such education will automatically work in tandem with f2f instruction.  Such an assumption often is proven to be faulty.

Blended or hybrid learning is quite complex with constantly moving parts.  These parts include content, delivery options, expected outcomes, infrastructure, instructor readiness, and most importantly, students.  Learners always bring unique perspectives, questions, and comments to the education experience.  Whether on or off-line, learners can turn instruction on its head – if real learning is the ultimate goal.

If your organization is building digital options as part of f2f education, avoid a program cliff by ensuring a clear, cohesive design.  To check current program design status, begin by answering these major questions:

1.  What type of EOD or blended education program are you designing or remodeling? Major program types include school or college with degree/diploma/certificate granting authority;  professional development through a non-profit, e.g., an association; career training within a corporation or business.   Understanding of the over-arching type of education service is critical for successful EOD design.

2.  Are you adding digital components to established f2f education?  If so, why?   Reasons will vary:  industry demand for skills; meeting student needs; efficient use of limited resources; generating additional revenue; etc.  Reasons define rationale which is a load-bearing beam.

3.  Are you creating a new EOD learning opportunity?  Some entrepreneurs jump into the education pool with extensive technology expertise but little knowledge of education beyond their own schooling experiences.  The digital tools may buzz but to provide students with valuable ROI, the design must include best practices in education as well as technology.

4.  Do you have education blueprints?   Such blueprints will be multi-faceted, multi-layered designs.  These blueprints will include major components, e.g., standards, expected outcomes, curriculum, materials, delivery options both f2f & digital, cross-platform communications for seamless alignment.

Bottomline:  If you have do not have education blueprints, stop helter-skelter, deadline meeting app preparations.  Beyond a strategic plan and before the action stage, engage key leaders and stakeholders across the silos of professional development/training; technology; conferences & meetings; human resources; and C-suite.   Embark on design of education blueprints and development of aligned EOD.