The Training Foundation empowers trainers with new TAP Blended Learning Certificate

The Training Foundation empowers trainers with new TAP Blended Learning Certificate

An increasing number of organisations are now adapting their training strategy to incorporate blended learning solutions that integrate a variety of face-to-face and online media. The Training Foundation has recognised the need for trainers to become conversant with the options and critical factors in making blended learning a success by launching a new TAP Certificate in Blended Learning.

The new TAP Certificate in Blended Learning, available via a two-day classroom course or online, provides the essential knowledge and skills trainers need to engage successfully with twenty-first century learning media.

The rise of blended learning

According to the Blended Learning Survey 2005, around three quarters of UK and US organisations now feel that combining learning methods is an effective and an efficient way to deliver training. In a 2005 SkillSoft survey, 67 percent of respondents stated a preference for mixing instructor-led and online approaches, a sentiment echoed in a 2005 CIPD report, in which 94% of respondents expressed the belief that e-learning was most effective when combined with other types of training.

Blended solutions combine different learning media to allow organisations to provide more flexible, accessible and effective learning opportunities. A well-designed blended solution uses the right mix of media to take account of the learning objective, the characteristics of the target audience and the practicalities of the situation, such as the budget, the time available and the geographical spread of the audience. Trainers need to be able to analyse these factors in detail; they need to be aware of the strengths and weaknesses of all available media, including the very latest mobile technologies and collaborative learning tools; they need to be able to integrate traditional and new media to create imaginative blends that really deliver results. The TAP  Certificate in Blended Learning helps trainers to meet all these requirements.

Hands on experience

A key feature of this new certificate is that participants get to experience as many of the learning media types currently available as possible. In this way the course represents a laboratory for experiencing and experimenting with different media, as much as a practical workshop.

A gateway to role-based e-learning certificates

The new Certificate in Blended Learning has another key function, acting as gateway to all four of The Training Foundation's highly-successful role-based e-learning skills certificates: the Certificate in e-Learning Development Skills (for those specialising in developing e-learning materials), the Certificate in e-Learning Training Skills (for trainers who run live virtual classroom sessions), the Certificate in e-Learning Tutoring Skills (for those who provide online support to learners) and the Certificate in e-Learning Management Skills (for strategic and project managers). This programme, if combined with face-to-face skills certification can lead to students being awarded the Diploma in Blended Learning.

Pointing the way forward for training in the UK

Nick Mitchell, The Training Foundation's Chief Executive, emphasised the importance of the new programme: "The Blended Learning Certificate is a recognition of the increased integration of face-to-face and online methods. It is no longer relevant to look at e-learning as a specialist task on the periphery of training. All trainers now have an important role to play in harnessing the power of new technologies alongside the best of the so-called traditional methods. This is especially true with the advent of easy-to-use new online tools that encourage more informal and collaborative learning approaches. As learners become more empowered, so must trainers. Today's trainer needs to be a multi-skilled facilitator who knows how to turn on the learning tap and keep it flowing. We believe we're better placed than any other UK organisation to help them to do this."

The TAP Skills Programme

Underpinned by internationally-recognised competency frameworks, TAP provides an integrated structure for career development ranging from one-to-one coaching through to Diplomas in Learning Facilitation Skills, e-Learning and Blended Learning.

In April 2005 The Training Foundation became the first organisation to be awarded the UK's most prestigious business accolade for a training skills qualification in the 40-year history of the Queen's Awards for Enterprise. The Innovation Award recognises the creation and continuous development of TAP by The Foundation since 1998 and its proven success in raising the quality of training across the spectrum of both private and public sector organisations.