in Learning, Presentations

Delivery Models for Learning

Marcel de Leeuwe, Ruud Smeulders and I hosted a Masterclass on Learning Business Models at the Dutch E-learning Event. TU Delft’s Pieter de Vries has written a solid report (in Dutch) about this session: De waarde van Online Learning gezien door de ogen van Board members.

You can find the Dutch slides from the session on SlideShare:

I particularly like how Ruud adjusted the ubiquitous Business Model Canvas to be suitable for learning business models specifically (see slide 17).

The biggest piece of work that I did for the session was to try and created a typology of learning delivery models. I wanted to stretch people’s minds and make them think creatively about all the different ways that you can implement a learning intervention.

I started by defining five dimensions in which one way of delivering learning can be different from another. Although I define these dimensions as polar states, I do realize that you often have situations that are in between the two poles. The dimensions are as follows (in no particular order):

Facilitated ↔ Self-directed
Many learners ↔ One learner
Integrated in work ↔ Outside of work
Continuous ↔ Beginning and end
Content focused (consume materials) ↔ Activity focused (produce materials)

These binary dimensions give us 32 (2 to the power of 5) different learning delivery possibilities. This frames a broad range of activities as learning: from a magazine subscription (facilitated, one learner, outside of work, continuous and content focused) to team work in a project (self-directed, many learners, integrated in work, beginning and end and activity focused).

Not all possibilities make immediate sense. But with a little bit of thought I came to the following archetypical learning delivery methods (ordered from high to low involvement from the learning and development department):

  • Buying external knowledge (high)
  • E-learning module of about an hour (high)
  • Electronic performance support (high)
  • Few days face to face course with a trainer (high)
  • Multiweek online facilitated course (high)
  • External coach (medium)
  • Newsletter (medium)
  • Online community of practice (medium)
  • “Lunch and learn” session (medium)
  • Open learning materials (e.g. a wiki) medium)
  • Asking an internal expert (low)
  • Master-apprentice relationship (low)
  • Stretch assignment (e.g. a trainee programme) (low)
  • Teamwork in a project (low)

So here is my assignment for you: First try and map each of these archetypes to the five different dimensions. Then try and think which of these you are already using and which ones you would like to use. Finally, it would be good to try and list your personal preference for these five dimensions. For example: I like (to create) events that are activity focused, have a beginning and an end, involve many learners, are as integrated into the work as possible and fall somewhere in between self-direction and facilitation. I would love to hear your thoughts and comments!

As this blog is licensed under Creative Commons license, I would more than welcome anybody who would visualize these dimensions and the resulting delivery models.