In today’s tumultuous, ever-changing world, teaching is significantly more than attending a classroom and listening to a lecture. With technological innovation and an increasing need to teach/learn remotely comes a unique problem. Teaching is more challenging during a pandemic, so how do you implement a viable learning solution that will keep students engaged while providing a personalized learning experience across the board?
Really, we’ve all faced the need to adapt to these changing times in schools, the office and across every level of business. There is one concept that offers a solution to some of today’s modern learning conundrum: blended learning. Blended learning combines face-to-face teaching interactions with technology—predominantly online learning tools—to create a learning environment where both aspects tend to complement each other and enhance the learning experience. It’s more than a mere mix of tradition and technology. Several types of blended learning exist (like remote learning or flipped learning for instance) and as time passes, the learning style is being utilized more frequently to help create personalized learning experiences for students anywhere from primary school to college and the workplace.
Using these tips, you can help create a quality learning experience from elementary school students to high school and beyond.
Students can work at their own pace
Blended learning offers the ability for students to work at their own pace. There then being required to keep up with everyone else, this learning style allows for the opportunity to get more from the lesson and nurture a full understanding of the content at an easy, comfortable pace for the student. Because it is so flexible and it allows students ready access to internet resources, teachers can help speed up or slow down the entire learning process and provide more advanced or different resources to each student on an individual basis. In this manner, a student is encouraged to learn and won’t be subject to the frustration that can sometimes come with not being able to work at your own pace. Putting deadlines and review exercises at the end of a unit/assignment can function as a useful teaching method in this type of blended environment.
Instant feedback from instructors
One additional benefit of this learning style is that teaching is still heavily involved in the process. Teachers can provide some insight and feedback to students within an online blended environment. In fact, instant feedback in the form of audio or video attachments is a common method for remote learning. With an instant feedback method in place, teachers can tailor their lessons to individual students and create a more efficient learning environment on a case by case basis. Using comments in Google Docs or instant messaging is just as effective as email or a phone call, but with the added benefit of being near instantaneous so you can get your message across and understood with few delays or other communication barriers.
Some studies suggest that blended learning is actually more effective than face-to-face learning, depending on the programs that are being used. It also enables students to break the mould and branch out into experimenting with new and different ideas they wouldn’t normally receive in traditional schooling. When combined with a blended learning toolkit, the entire experience can become an exercise in achievement, understanding and more autonomy for students. Due to its predominantly online nature, blended learning typically uses sophisticated measuring tools to gauge student performance and provide real-time feedback or instruction. Blended learning also helps reduce some of the costs associated with attending a school and can ease the burden on teachers and families alike.
…with some minor disadvantages
While the benefits and advantages of blended learning are considerable, it isn’t without its own drawbacks. This is mostly related to the technology being used. If the program isn’t implemented well and the technology is not kept up-to-date, connected or otherwise usable, the entire process can fail. Sometimes a student may not be following along with lessons or lectures, choosing to watch several of them all at once instead of as the lessons roll out. Additionally, some platforms may charge an access fee, which can unfairly impact some students over others. Also, teachers may be significantly overworked in the blended learning models, particularly in the primary stages. A tutor adopting blended learning must select the right syllabus and find the perfect online learning and face-to-face interaction ratio, which may be challenging because there is no universal guideline for doing so. Besides the required setup and logistics, teachers must also find time for training and material preparation, which may prove challenging because of current teaching requirements. Furthermore, there is a high possibility of students experiencing cognitive load because some teachers who are new to the blending learning arrangement may overdeliver content and educational activities. Lastly, in this age of paying someone to take online classes, it can be difficult to prevent plagiarism and other forms of cheating.While these are minor disadvantages to blended learning, they’re still important considerations for deciding whether to implement this type of program into your classroom.
Gain valuable life skills
When it really comes down to it, blended learning is an inexpensive, easy to use alternative to traditional schooling. As the world turns more and more to remote work, remote commerce and remote learning, we may need to adapt to a combination of traditional and blended learning techniques. Indeed, as higher education institutes such as the OPEC College have opened up ‘prior learning’ inclusive courses, the same kind of lesson can be taken away here as well. Ultimately, blended learning is a beneficial learning style with personalized learning and the implementation of important educational standards. The future of education has arrived and it is a bright one, indeed.