Blended learning is the technique of combining traditional teaching methods (in-class, instructor-led) with eLearning content to establish a more flexible user experience. Blended learning provides learners with the guidance and interaction of an in-class experience as well as dynamic and adaptable opportunities to learn beyond the classroom.
Blended Learning facilitates both millennials who are mostly digital learners and traditional learners.
The classroom allows for role-playing with immediate face-to-face feedback.
Online learning provides personalized, self-paced learning through eLearning elements that offer individuals with interactive media such as games, videos, tutorials, quizzes, and social media elements, all of which are accessible from the learner’s home page in the Learning Management System (LMS) — and accessible from the learner’s mobile device or tablet.
Why Blended Learning?
Teachers at both higher and lower educational institutions have naturally adopted blended learning as a constructive learning tool in and out of the classroom over the last decade. Similarly, corporate education is catching up. The success of blended learning can be attributed to five major advantages:
1. Considered for Everyone
Blended learning considers all types of learners, whether they prefer the familiar traditional classroom, prefer to learn online, or prefer a combination of the two. Without the constraints of a classroom or all-online course, blended learning employs a variety of approaches to tailor content to the learner and optimize it for the subject matter. While not all face-to-face training can be easily converted to digital content, existing content can be re-engineered for online delivery in a manner that enhances the existing training.
2. Learning Trends and Feedback
Blended learning employs both online and offline technologies, allowing teachers to quickly incorporate the most recent learning trends and methods into the curriculum. For deeper, data-driven insights into student progress and success, instructors can also use built-in reporting features in most LMS software programs.
Blended learning also provides learners with the exceptional opportunity to discuss, prototype, and practice their new skills in a safe environment, so they are not just observing or hearing—they are doing. Learners retain what they’ve learned by applying what they’ve learned shortly after leaving the physical or virtual classroom.
3. Lower Costs
When compared to eLearning development, in-person training may appear to be a cheaper option, but consider the true cost of face-to-face sessions: Time away from work, paying instructors, and travelling cost. A blended eLearning approach saves money on travel and can be used repeatedly, reducing instructor time as well.
4. Fun and Engagement
In every sense, blended learning is an interactive experience. Learners supplement their offline lessons by practicing online using a variety of different content media, each tailored to a specific learning style. Learners can interact with any type of content they want, practice what they’ve learned, and communicate with instructors and other learners at any time and on any device. The community experience keeps students engaged and informs teachers about their progress and areas that need to be addressed further.
5. Reach and Personalization
Global organizations and institutions face the challenge of making learning universal across all branches. Language, culture, and geographical location can all be obstacles to traditional learning. Blended learning allows students to access material from anywhere and at any time, which is especially useful for those who live in remote areas or face language barriers. It also enables personalized learning by allowing students to select the method of learning that best matches their requirements and preferences.
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Types of Blended Learning Models
There are various blended learning models to pick from, each of which takes a distinct approach to incorporating online and face-to-face instruction. Among the most common models are:
- The flip classroom model, in which students complete online coursework before class and use class time for interactive activities and discussions.
- The lab rotation model, in which students alternate between online and face-to-face learning sessions on a regular basis.
- The station rotation model, in which students work at different stations at their own pace (online or in class).
- The flex model, in which students have the option of attending class or completing coursework online.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Blended Learning
Blended learning has several advantages, including:
- It enables students to learn at their own pace, which is especially beneficial for those with learning disabilities or who require additional time to comprehend the material.
- It offers a wide range of learning activities and experiences that can be more interactive and engaging than traditional methods.
- It has the potential to lower the expenses involved with face-to-face instruction, such as travel and materials.
However, there are also some disadvantages, which include:
- It necessarily requires a strong online infrastructure and dependable technology, both of which are not always available in all academic institutions or institutions.
- It necessitates additional teacher and student training and support, which can be a time-consuming and costly process.
- Because students are not always in a traditional classroom setting, it can be more difficult to monitor their progress and engagement.
Best Practices for Implementing Blended Learning
To establish a successful blended learning program, it is critical to carefully consider the needs of the students as well as the course objectives. The following are some best practices for implementing blended learning:
- Clearly communicating the course’s goals and objectives, and selecting a blended learning model that supports these goals.
- Assuring that all students have access to the technology and support they need to complete online coursework.
- Continuing education and support for both teachers and students to ensure a seamless transition to blended learning.
- Monitoring student progress and engagement on a regular basis, and providing additional assistance as needed.
- To keep students engaged and motivated, a variety of teaching methods and technologies are to be used.
Besides these, it is best to utilize a learning management platform to organize, distribute and engage students. Check out our blog on the future of Learning Management Systems to learn more.
Example of Blended Learning
A project management course is an example of blended education strategy, in which students complete online coursework beyond the class and use class time for interactive activities and discussions. Class time could be used for group discussions, case studies, and hands-on projects, while online coursework could include videos, quizzes, and other interactive activities. This method allows students to learn at their own pace while also allowing for face-to-face collaboration and interaction.
Another example of blended learning can be a course on customer service where students complete online coursework on customer service theories and practices before attending in-person workshops to practice their skills through role-playing and other interactive activities. Online coursework may include videos, quizzes, and other interactive activities, whereas in-person workshops may include group discussions, case studies, and hands-on projects. This method allows students to learn at their own pace while also allowing for face-to-face interaction and hands-on practice.
To summarize, blended learning is a versatile educational approach that combines traditional face-to-face instruction with online learning. It provides a number of advantages, including personalized learning, cost savings, and increased engagement. It does, however, require careful planning and execution to ensure success. Teachers can effectively incorporate blended learning into their classroom setting and create a more interactive and engaging learning experience for their students by considering the needs of the students and the course goals. If you enjoyed this article about blended learning, consider checking out our blog on 10 educational innovations that are revolutionizing the classroom.
Khondker Mohammad Shah-Al-Mamun is an experienced writer, technology integration and automation specialist, and Microsoft Innovative Educator who leads the Blended Learning Center at Daffodil International University in Bangladesh. He was also a Google Certified Educator and a leader of Google Educators Group (GEG) Dhaka South.