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Re-designing measurable blended learning grounded in well-researched andragogy
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Re-designing measurable blended learning grounded in well-researched andragogy

Making learning experiential, immersive, and effective using the six principles of learning design (6PoLD), derived from an extensive project by Institute for Adult Learning (IAL) Singapore.

This article is brought to you by inlab of Institute for Adult Learning (IAL) Singapore.

It is evident that blending learning is here to stay. Often the questions are: How to ensure strong pedagogy is coherent when switching between synchronous and asynchronous learning? How to improve engagement and learning retention through technology enablement? How to collect and act on invaluable feedback and data for further re-development of courses?

Live application of six principles of learning design (6PoLD)

CapitaLand Investment Limited (CLI) has always placed talent learning and development as their top priority. They have developed and curated courses for their employees for their continuous professional development based on the 'Building Capability Framework'.

Facing the challenge of effective delivery during the pandemic, their group learning division took the initiative to re-develop two of their existing courses for their new managers and customer service staff. CLI turned to IAL, the national centre of excellence in adult learning, for advice.

Through the innovDev programme, not only the courses were successfully redeveloped, the L&D team was upskilled with a pedagogical framework as well as new ideas for the future development of learning courses.

"innovDev impacted me at a professional level as a curriculum developer and facilitator. It has helped me adopt a framework and be conscious about certain principles when I design/revamp modules for the virtual mode," said Steven Tham, Learning Specialist, Ascott Centre for Excellence.

"I am satisfied with the outcome with the application of “Absorb-Do-Connect”, a simple actionable structure to apply the 6PoLD," Eunice Lim, innovDev consultant noted.

TeamworkBound, an organisational development and team performance training provider, reinvented its courses by using a scenario-based storytelling approach guided by the innovDev consultant through plugging in a pedagogically-sound video platform with integrated knowledge-check assessment onto their online training system.

Not only was the engagement of participants enhanced, but this transformation freed trainers to provide personalised feedback to learners based on their assessment.

“The videos, as well as the quizzes, was a good way for me to see (how) the problems play out and for me to reflect and think about my personal characteristics respectively,” as shared by a learner who benefitted from the revamped course.

Six principles to design efficacious blended learning courses

Six principles of learning design (6PoLD), derived from an extensive project by Institute for Adult Learning (IAL) Singapore, comprising research by Dr Helen Bound, Dr Arthur Chia, and Annie Karmel, is a ground-breaking effort that explores the experience of learners, adult educators, curriculum designers and employers in the design of blending learning courses.

Principle 1: Authenticity

Often, the transfer of learning fails because it’s not authentic to the situation or the learner at hand. Authenticity brings a focus to real-world practices and settings, by embodying the complexity of work within learning. Authenticity does NOT necessarily mean that all activities involve real work settings – rather, complexities of work are brought into the classroom or tech-enabled environment through peer-to-peer experience sharing, real-life case studies, and more.

Principle 2: Alignment

Learning purposes and outcomes, learning activities, and the place of learning must all support each other. For example, a short course that has the purpose of developing participants’ report writing skills and has as its assessment a series of multiple-choice items, is clearly NOT aligned. For there to be alignment, the assessment would need to be the writing of a report for a real audience which would make the learning and assessment authentic.

Principle 3: Holistic

A holistic approach integrates knowing, doing, thinking, and feeling, through the use of multiple senses. It integrates theory with practice, technical skills with generic ones. This approach, which can include simulated exercises and observation opportunities for learners (particularly in soft skills), ensures learning is maintained as an ongoing process of participation in relevant activities, rather than as a “thing”, “product” or acquisition of certain “products”.

Principle 4: Feedback

Learners need to be engaged in giving feedback, and receiving feedback from multiple sources – peers, educators, work supervisors, and self-assess their own performance. The purpose of such a feedback loop is to improve performance. Creating multiple feedback loops over the time of a module enables learners to understand how they are progressing and develop clarity about standards and expectations of performance.

Principle 5: Judgement

Judgement refers to the ability of learners to make informed judgements of their own learning. The development and use of judgement is fundamental in enabling learners to understand their own work, and how they are doing in relation to what is required/expected. Feedback and judgement are intertwined. Both require learners to be actively engaged in learning.

Principle 6: Future-orientation

Future-orientedness refers to learners’ ability to face future unknowns and new challenges beyond the immediate training. The emphasis is on the ability to resolve unfamiliar or non-standard problems. Thus, future-orientedness involves many of what are called 21st-century skills, or the new ‘top 10 skills’, such as critical thinking, creativity, learning to learn. Deep understanding of a discipline, a process, is required for effective solving of the unfamiliar.

innovDev – A structured coaching programme for all L&D specialists, adult educators, and training providers

A multi-agency effort, developed by IAL, with the support of Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG), innovDev is a support programme to improve any elements in your existing L&D courses – open to all those in the learning ecosystem, whether you represent a training provider or an enterprise with an in-house L&D unit (TP&E).

As such, beneficiaries can look forward to the following specialised support:

  • Self-directed online learning: Participant completes a 45-min introductory e-learning on 6PoLD prior to innovDev workshop.
  • Workshops on curriculum redesign: 5-hour workshop where each participant brings one existing/new course for a hands-on session on curriculum redesigning (Course 1 redesign). Participant submits the redesigned course plan within one month after the workshop.
  • Review of redesigned course: IAL pays the nominated innovDev consultant to review the redesign and provide feedback and suggestions.
  • Customised coaching: Participant to decide to apply for the 25-hour innovDev coaching programme (a co-payment of S$540 inclusive of GST is applicable). There will be flexibility to negotiate and decide on the scope of coaching to suit your organisational and learning needs.

For more information about innovDev and other supporting programmes, please visit here. Contact Roy Gao at for a consultation.

Photo / 123RF

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