Blended Learning: ‘A disruptor’s tale’

Published on 08 April 2016 to Company News


Mark this day, 11th April 2016, HSE finally come out blinking into the sunlight to recognise Blended Learning in First Aid training, a full 40 months since it should have been released in the UK. Yes 40 (seriously), since it was blocked at the eleventh hour in December 2012. As they say though, what goes around, comes around. Well done to the HSE who we know have been put under enormous and sometimes really unfair pressure by incumbents wanting to resist change for reasons of robust educational logic yet to emerge. Credit to them and their officers.

Never has a topic created so much storm in the quaint little tea cup that is the first aid training industry in the UK.

‘.............A niche market, some big players and a very big storm....................’

The enmity and downright hostility this has created is extraordinary and I have to say I have cooled the incandescence of my apoplexy down to a barely warm embarrassment for the industry I work in. Saddened (not universally so please be assured) that a sector has remained myopic and self-serving and forgotten the learners its serves and the lives it can save. Hey-ho when there’s money and livelihoods at stake folk tend to get very hot under the collar and many of the views I have heard are not so much flirting with the land of absurdity but have crossed the border, planted a flag and claimed it as their own sovereign territory. Absurdism has sadly gained some traction because it's advocates come from a position of influence and power.

The most absurd views I’ve heard are generally borne from opinion “I don’t like it”, “over my dead body can you teach someone first aid from a computer”. An industry supposed to be pseudo medical and research driven by opinion. Sad but true. Perhaps the most utterly absurd is to deny that blended can work with CPR despite the august Resuscitation Council UK expressly supporting. (It was so bizarre, I even checked my medication for hallucinogenics!)

Let’s though be clear what blended learning is and more importantly isn’t. The clue is on the tin: It’s a BLEND of knowledge and cognitive based learning (under your own direction with some prepared materials) followed by a hands on lesson where one can practice the skills and be coached etc. It’s like going run a marathon having done all the hard miles beforehand. It’s still tough but doable as you have the miles in the tank (in the case knowledge in your bonce)

What it is not is pure distance learning even though there is evidence this can be equally as effective (heresy I can hear the jam and Jerusalem brigade saying!)

'.................I am proud to be from the company that challenged the HSE and disrupted this industry and helped to awaken its energy to focus on the outcomes of what it is trying to achieve and not the process'.................'

‘We are the company that challenged the HSE……..(Bridgend and Tonteg’s best!)

This is the modern way. We are the company that challenged the regulator. Modernisation, though, has been excruciating with even glaciers sprinting past the relative pace of decision making processes in the UK to allow this to happen! Key influencers and the lobbyists have done their job by delaying and I put my trust in Karma.

There are still some good bits to be being British though like our Competition and Markets Authority who can hold a candle under the conscience of those who seek to self-serve and protect empires, stifling ghastly disruptive (innovators: pah!) like us.

Let the games continue. We may be small and weak and yes from South Wales. Almost virus like. Small, invisible but very dangerous. 

Power to the learner!

This move will undoubtedly shift some power to the learner away from the 'educator'. Anything that addresses that imbalance has to be good. Educators are key but they dont have a monopoly. Knoweldge is POWER, especially if accessing that knowledge is made easier. Thanks HSE. 

Off to the next disruption now…..


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