The implementation of technology-enhanced learning has attracted a great interest from the practitioners in the field of workplace learning. But first generation of E-learning turned out not to fulfill its promises to replace time-consuming and high-cost conventional teacher-led training due to objective being on individual learning. Later on, it was realized that collaborative learning may give rise to individual learning.The objective of this thesis is to study a newly introduced notion of blended learning that is usually understood as a combination of E-learning and face-to-face classroom learning, i.e integration of individual and collaborative learning.
The contextual framework for the study is based upon the casestudy in a Nordic multinational insurance company. It has offices in Denmark, Finland,Norway and Sweden, the Baltic countries, and Russia. The company has three business areas:Private, Commercial and Industry. The target group for this study is leaders from different countries, working within different business areas and representing different levels in a management structure.
Data collection techniques comprise interviews, direct observation, participant-observation,and reading relevant written material obtained from the company (e.g. manual of E-learningcourses with screen shots of system).
The theory-informed research question this study approaches is “How blended learning integrates collaborative and self-paced learningto enhance learning outcome?” This is seen in a broader theoretical perspective by applying socio-cultural approach principles to blended learning models.
The second research question is predetermined by the requirements for more flexible learning in the context of cultural diversity the company operates. Moreover, due to the chosen target group the study appeals to the various extent to which significance in different types of knowledge vary on different levels in management structure. Then, the second research question is “How factors like cultural diversity and the type of knowledge are taken into account when BL components are integrated (i.e. individual and collaborative)?” The skills approach to leadership and the notion of cultural diversity help in approaching these issues.
I define two types of blended learning that are concept-oriented blended learning (CBL1) and collaboration-based blended learning (CBL2). The difference between the two types is in the distribution of the two components (online and F2F) between individual and collaborative learning. If CBL1 can be seen as conventionalBL, than CBL2 takes the advantage of the modern technologies that support communication and collaborative interaction. Thus, the main objective of this study is to rethink design principles used for CBL1 and suggest a possible theoretical framework for further research inthis domain with emphasis on the authentic CBL2 environments development.
The current study identified some constrains of CBL1 that are seen in limitations CBL1 provides in terms of collaborative interaction. These assumptions are supported by other studies and claims for more profound design principles.
The fact that cultural diversity may diminish learning processes in international perspective is supported by this study.Moreover, the study reveals that there can be drawn a clear distinction between themethods for theoretical and practical knowledge training.