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5 elements of the circle of blended learning

By Hanna Liimatainen on Dec 18, 2017 3:23:04 PM

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“The genius is not in ideas. It’s in the way you put them into practice,” says consultant Petteri Kallio, an expert in digital learning. He is the head of the Shared E-learning in State Administration project, in which 200 people are actively discussing on a digital platform and learning from one another. In this article, Kallio shares his views on blended learning.

Learning is primarily about education, and it’s possible all the time: in your career or free time, digitally and live. No time is wasted time. We all have skills that, if taken into use, would be beneficial in our working life. Similarly, we all have work skills that would bring us a great deal of joy in our free time. 

The T-model best describes my thinking. It means that I have sufficiently in-depth expertise in one area. In addition, I’m continuously acquiring more information about other areas of life. If you have reached a point in your work where you are no longer learning anything new, I encourage you to choose a new path. That’s what I have done.

I usually introduce myself as a gene researcher. Then I share what else I have done: I have founded start-ups, worked as a consultant and sung in a party band—and I was supposed to become a professional dancer at one time. All this has taught me a great deal and made me the expert that I am today. It has been blended learning.

The circle of blended learning consists of five elements, each of which plays an important role in education. The circle requires interaction and can also be formed digitally, at least in part. The most important thing is that people and their thoughts meet.

1. Inspiration comes from meaning

When you have a good idea, you are enthusiastic and motivated. Ideas grow roots. A good idea gives you energy and inspires you to take action. It’s extremely important that the idea is your own, and not something imposed on you from higher up. Some of us are more inclined to be inspired than others because of our genetics of temperament.

The brain has different tracts for inspiration, interest and joy. You can foster them by being open to new things. You can ask yourself: Why am I doing this? How will I benefit from learning this? When you find a meaningful answer, you will be inspired.

2. Visualize your way forward

It’s always a good idea to imagine what the result could or should look like. That will help you see your starting point and goals more clearly. You will also realize where you can find more information and how your learning will progress. 

You can also follow someone else’s lead: Who is the best in the world in this area? How have they reached that point?

3. Experimentation brings focus

Experimentation is the stage of learning where you are supposed to struggle. There will be failures, and that’s the whole point. You will learn from some of your mistakes, and some you can just forget. Mistakes help you discard bad ideas and stop you from spending too much time on them.

As Aristotle put it, “For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.”

4. Learning with maps

When you know how much you don’t know, it’s easier to find solutions and start learning. During this stage, experimenting and learning become intertwined. Our brain develops new neural networks, which resemble maps. These maps constitute our thoughts, skills, expertise and ways of working.

The more you use these maps, the stronger they become and the more you will achieve. For example, Einstein wrote more than 240 articles, Picasso painted more than 20,000 works, Edison filed more than 1,000 patent applications and Bach composed a cantata every week.

5. Add more you to what you do

Now you are nearing the peak of learning. When you know something well enough, you can master it by adding something of your own. Usually this is something that you have learned before: skills, knowledge, culture, ways of thinking.

Don’t content yourself with copying others. Be the best you. This is possible when you add something of your own to what you do. Elvis did that to music. An idea became something personal, something original.

The current education system works well for some—and not at all for others. It’s more important to understand how you are learning than what you are learning.

Petteri Kallio
Digital learning expert and Project manager, HAUS Finnish institute of public management

The Shared E-learning in State Administration project includes six major events. Between these events, the project is being implemented on Howspace. Around 200 people are discussing actively on the platform, and some threads have hundreds of comments, images and video clips. 

To learn more expert tips for blended learning, download our eBook: 5 tips & tricks for powerful digital facilitation!

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