Institutionalizing Blended Learning into Joint Training: A Case Study and Ten Recommendations
2014; Fautua, D.; Schatz, S.; Reitz, E.; Bockelman, P.
Teachers and trainers have relied upon blended learning for at least two decades, and scholars have authored (and continue to write!) thousands of papers about it. Yet, despite the wealth of individual experience and reams of published theory available, institutionalizing high-quality blended learning processes in large, dispersed organizations still poses significant challenges. The Joint Staff J7, Deputy Director for Joint Training initiated the Continuum of eLearning (CoL) project in order to overcome barriers to institutionalization of integrating blended learning into the joint training enterprise. This enterprise affects thousands of personnel each year, and diverse service and program office stakeholders support it. Hence the CoL project involved identifying ways to systematize instructional best practices, build a common vision for blended learning among the various stakeholders, formalize organizational processes for it, and empirically demonstrate the system s feasibility and value. As of 2014, Joint Staff J7 (Joint Training) has implemented the resulting Blended Learning Training System (BLTS), comprising the unified blended learning concept, corresponding set of processes, and growing repository of blended learning materials. We have demonstrated its viability at eight combatant command training events and collected data on its effectiveness at PANAMAX 2012, Savannah Shield 2013, and Turbo Challenge 2014. This paper summarizes the three-year research project, data collection outcomes, and resulting BLTS; it also includes generalizable lessons learned about institutionalizing blended learning in complex organizations.