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How to operate a lathe or a deep fryer

I recently went through a huge list of courses that are given in a blended format (defined as the combination of face2face and online) to see what type of courses work best blended. And also, to see when blended doesn’t work.

LearningStone Deep Fryer

I came to a surprising long list of courses that are given as a blended program varying from music and yoga to sales, all kinds of management, leadership and many business skills. In several Linkedin groups* for trainers, I asked training professionals what kind of course are not suited for blended learning. Most people mentioned that blended can be used for most training, but I also got a couple of interesting suggestions for courses that should not be done blended:

  • how to operate a lathe or a deep fryer
  • the arts
  • surgery
  • swimming

Someone mentioned that basically, anything that's high risk is a candidate for face2face training. The higher the risk, the more likely you’ll need immediate feedback. At the same time, instruction in any form before practicing these skills would help. Internalizing procedures from behind the safety of a screen would definitely lower the risk in a live situation even though the immediate feedback remains necessary.

So far, I have not found any course that per definition cannot be given as blended format, though one might argue that many subjects are not suitable for 100% e-learning. Actually, it turns out that most arguments against blended learning have to do with the setting (e.g. a one-day workshop) or – more importantly – with the participants, not the subject. People low on IT-skills, without the right devices or low on reading skills can drop out of the online part of blended learning. If they can’t get technical assistance, a traditional face2face course will be more effective and less frustrating.

Blended should always be considered (just like any other means), it may however be rejected. When you design a course, you should start with the learner and his or her learning objectives and then it is all about finding the best way to meet these learning objectives.
It is not about the subject, it is about the learner!

 Sjoerd Boersma


Linkedin groups where the discussion was posted:

Blended Learning Forum

eLearning Global Network

Learning, Education and Training Professionals Group

Instructional Designers




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