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Learning & Development Blog

What Can March Madness Teach Us About Blended Learning?

Opening weekend of March Madness is over. Yes, it hurts just typing it. Although two weekends of mayhem remain, there’s nothing like that first weekend. Those of you that enjoyed the non-stop college basketball action, whether at home, at the games, or in Vegas, are trudging back to your offices. Some of you may have brackets that survived this year’s upset-happy opening rounds. But like me, most of you have no hope.

Nonetheless, we were privy to four amazing days of basketball, and thanks to a new TV deal, we could view every second of it without buying an overpriced DirecTV sports package. Thank you CBS and Turner!


  Boise State Film Room

We also had the privilege to witness blended learning at work. Blended learning may be a newer phenomenon in the corporate world, but coaches have been using a mixture of video, instructor-led, experiential and peer-to-peer learning for decades. After a game is complete, the coach will break down the film, showing players what they did right and wrong. Then, to prepare for the next opponent, the coach will show film of that opponent in action. Similar to corporate training, this brings disparate levels of familiarity to a common baseline understanding.

The video below is an example of breaking down film from this year's Butler - Pittsburgh match-up.

From here, the coaching staff will lay out a game plan. The plan starts in the classroom and eventually makes its way onto the practice court. Like software simulations, the practice court is a safe environment in which to try new skills and strategies, without fear of negative repercussion.

This video shows Mike Montgomery running practice when he was head coach of the Stanford Cardinal men's basketball team.

Peer-to-peer learning is the most important part of training, whether on the basketball court or in the office. This facet of training exists throughout the entire blended learning process but is most necessary while on the job. From the minute you start playing basketball, coaches will never stop demanding communication on the court. The same should be demanded at work.

View the video below to get an idea of how important on-floor communication between teammates is in basketball.

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