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by Dan Spain

At the 5-9 Club, we are super excited that we get to support new business owners, every week, in person and online. I say in-person AND online as we can do both, at the same time using a teaching methodology known as blended learning.

“What’s Blended Learning?” I hear you ask – well; over a series of 4 short blogs, I’ll be defining what blended learning actually is, and talking through some of the tips and considerations we have put in place at the 5-9 Club to bring people together, both online and in person – woohoo!

So grab a cuppa, sit back, relax and Welcome in, to vol.1 of the series – Considerations for Blended Learning.

When we think about the word ‘blended’ – a few things come to mind. Generally, we think about things that are mixed together; a smoosh of ingredients to create a tasty sauce or different colours shaken up in a can to create the perfect shade for your living room walls. Blended Learning is no different.

​​A blended approach to learning is about the design of a course, workshop or meeting that enhances the teaching and learning experiences for participants and hosts by combining in-person learning activities with online learning activities. But what does this mean, really?

As a result of the pandemic, we have found that some of our participants prefer to join us remotely online, and some choose to attend in person at a physical location. As a result we have combined both of these in order to host and include everyone, regardless of their location, ability or commitments.

For us at the 5-9 Club, it means that we create in-person and online space for our workshops and courses, delivering them at the same time and designing our workshop content and outcomes to include participation across physical and digital space. 

Of course, running sessions from a blended perspective comes with considerations.

How do we create interaction? How can in-person activities translate online? How might we bring people together and make them feel included wherever they are?

As an example of a small but very important consideration – Group discussion feels more natural when it’s face-to-face, whereas online it can seem awkward and transactional due to only one person being able to speak at a time and the lack of physical cues. So how can we create a space for interaction across both spaces?

One of the ways we do this is by setting some rules and giving clear instructions whenever we ask for participation. When introducing ourselves for example, we explain that one person will speak at a time, set the example by going first and then clearly direct the conversation to the next person – going back and forth between online and in person, in turn. I go in person, you go online and so on. We call this ‘ping-pong’ and it’s a great little tool to use for your next blended session.

We have a load of cool tips and examples of how we apply a blended learning approach to our workshops at the 5-9 Club. In the next blog we will talk through considerations for setting up your session from a tech perspective and introducing you to our digital friends Owlivia & Owlbert.

In the meantime, if you’d like to talk to us about blended learning, our upcoming workshops or starting your business with The 5-9 Club, then get in touch!

See you next month!

Dan

About the Author

Dan has a background in design and has been working with creative communities since 2014, previously founding a coworking space, facilitating monthly design talks, mentoring young people and even running an online houseplant shop… phew! He love love loves talking to and connecting people, great independent food, craft beer and coffee, cats, plants, punk rock music, classic vines, great memes and bad (amazing) jokes.

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Dan Spain, Welsh ICE 5-9 Club Trainer