Blended Training: how does that work?

Susan Greener

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNConference contribution with ISSN or ISBNpeer-review


When HRD professionals try to move training online there is considerable resistance to face. The resistance does not just come from the learner, it is often the experienced trainer who puts up the biggest fight. Trainers are well aware of the immediacy of face-to-face learning events, the performance criteria, the reading of atmosphere and facial expression, the adjustment of content based on a continuous checking of understanding. But faced with tight budgets, increased mandatory demands and mobile and distributed working, the case for using technology is convincing. The purpose of this paper is to identify the opportunities which blended training, applying Web 2.0 affordances to face-to-face interaction, might offer small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). This working paper is the initial stage of a research project which aims to explore the effectiveness of a blended approach to training and development in small businesses. Such businesses rarely have in-house trainers: either principals in the business will carry out their own development activities with staff, or local training providers will be approached for help with chronic or acute business problems. In difficult trading circumstances, such organisations often cut training expenditure first, a reasonable approach based on the economics of the situation, but a short-sighted one given the longer term effect on human capital development, and its impact on competitive advantage. In order to determine the effectiveness of a blended approach to training, we have to establish low cost or no cost affordances of Web 2.0 technologies which may add value to small-scale training sessions, and develop a case for their use. If the case is convincing, and can overcome the traditional resistance of face-to-face trainers to the use of online media for learning, then we have a baseline with which to present a business case and develop proposals to test the effectiveness of blended training in SMEs. The author conducted an extended focus group with professional trainers who work in SMEs to test out some of the objections to online media for learning and develop hypotheses concerning the potential value of blended training to such organisations.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 13th International Conference on HRD Research and Practice across Europe (UFHRD)
Place of PublicationOnline
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 4 Nov 2012
EventProceedings of the 13th International Conference on HRD Research and Practice across Europe (UFHRD) - Famalicao, Portugal, May 2012
Duration: 4 Nov 2012 → …


ConferenceProceedings of the 13th International Conference on HRD Research and Practice across Europe (UFHRD)
Period4/11/12 → …


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