Three Phase Blended Approach
Blended learning that alternates on-line and face-to-face activities tends to be more effective with successive phases reinforcing each other.
External and internal evidence shows that blended learning that alternates on-line and face-to-face activities tends to be more effective with successive phases reinforcing each other. Through blending on-line and face-to-face activities, participants are accompanied and supported over a longer period.
Therefore the ITC promotes a three phase approach in its learning activities:
- Phase I: Pre-course information on the Internet-based learning platform, three weeks before the course.
During this initial on-line phase all relevant practical and organisational information about the activity is shared with participants on this platform. A pre-course survey is carried out to assess the specific learning needs and preferences which will be integrated in the face-to-face phase. Through online modules participants are introduced to the thematic focus of the learning activity. In a forum, participants and resource persons will introduce themselves and can engage in first discussions or pose questions.
- Phase II: Face-to-Face workshop, two week course in Turin or the field.
During the course an action-oriented, highly participative approach will be used with particular attention to sharing international experience with a view to adaptation and practical application. Training methods will combine lectures and discussions, case studies, open space discussions, group work and individual exercises. For some courses study visits are organised that will allow participants on-site questions and answers on operational issues.
The design of the face-to-face activity will take the outcome of the pre-course survey into account. During the activity new technical expertise will be uploaded on the activity platform (presentations, documents, pictures). An on-line database of staff, experts and participants will be available and can be consulted to share and receive ideas, or request support in the preparation of action plans and projects.
- Phase III: Post-Training on the Internet-based learning platform, following the face to face course.
The third phase offers the opportunity to participants to upload their action plans and discuss their follow-up actions. Experience shows that most questions regarding application and implementation of learning components arise three to six months after the learning activity itself. An online platform for further cooperation among participants is offered and participants are invited to post questions and engage in online discussion with the network of fellow participants, experts and ITC staff. In appropriate distance to the F2F phase, an impact evaluation will be carried out to assess the concrete application of learning. New resources, expertise and knowledge about the topic of the activity are regularly linked to the platform.