A Modern Learning Factory
June 1, 2017 by Bill Rosenthal

Traditional education came of age during industrialization, which is why you and I most likely spent our childhoods in classrooms devoted to regimentation and efficiency and governed by the clock. Schools were run like factories, and we were unfinished parts to be fitted out with knowledge and skills that were installed by the teacher. Any behavior besides listening, watching, note taking, and responding when called on was regarded as an impediment to this process. Traditionally, teachers were disciplinarians as well as tutors.

Some learners responded well to the factory model of education, but all learners had to endure it, whether it was suitable for them or not. These days, however, even factories no longer use the factory model. And education is embracing new models as well.

Technology and learning theory give us the resources to make learning easier or stickier. Take Communispond Digital, our tile-based centralized learning platform for digital learning resources. If you were to take a course using Communispond Digital, you would probably find a dozen different ways to approach your learning goals. You would find textual and graphical resources, video libraries, easy access to your classmates, archived discussions and asynchronous opportunities, pointers to trusted web resources, and a collection of engaging exercises limited only by your instructor’s imagination.

On Communispond Digital, talking with classmates and passing notes are not forbidden. They are often encouraged, because side conversations can be an effective part of the learning process. Communispond Digital is designed to provide training that goes beyond the classroom and caters to different learning styles. Nor does learning always require memorization. Sometimes it’s enough to simply learn where information can be found. That’s why Communispond Digital offers lifetime content access: the learning is there when you need it, any time, any place, any device. Its extensive array of learning resources are available before and after class, including LearnTO video learning, peer-to-peer learning through social communities, checklists for on-the-job support, and assessments that check for understanding. 

Communispond Digital provides elearning resources for 14 of our titles in communication performance solutions and sales performance solutions. 

I suspect there are many organizations that still try to impart learning the way they would make washing machines. At least one study has shown, however, that a well designed program consisting of both classroom and elearning experiences get better results than either classes or elearning on their own. According to the incomparable Don Clark, “There almost seems to be something almost magical about blending the interactive and social nature of classrooms, with the self-paced environment as each can deliver specific methodologies better than the other.”

At Communispond, we believe in instructor-led training, and that’s what we base our offerings on. Among all the possible ways to learn something, there’s nothing better than the guidance of someone who cares whether you “get it” and will try to find different ways to communicate it until you do. But even instructors have their limits. An instructor can’t be in your pocket all the time. A smart phone can. I am excited about the world of possibilities offered by blended learning, and I am proud that Communispond Digital means we are part of it.