Blended learning models extend the reach of education beyond the classroom through the use of digital resources. Blended learning is a method that combines traditional face-to-face instruction with technology. For instance, a class in a blended format can incorporate online games to reinforce learning following the introduction of a new topic in their traditional class. Another example of blended learning might require that students watch an introductory video before the introduction of a new topic in a physical class. Both examples use technology and traditional instructions to aid learning.
Imagine if we took the benefits of online learning along with the advantages of the traditional classroom and mixed them to create a new type of learning environment? That’s what Blended learning is all about! Now, we have a traditional classroom with the benefit of personal attention and face-to-face interaction and an online class for days when topics are to be revisited and a disaster/pandemic has hindered movement.
A blended learning system offers the following additional benefits:
- Advanced collaboration tools such as Online discussions, quick messages and feedback from the instructor and peer students.
- Increased accessibility: Courses can be accessed 24/7 – anytime from any location. On mobile devices wherever they are, students can reach out and revisit course materials at convenience.
- Improved communication; Better connection between lecturers and part-time students, advanced tracking of students’ progress and more opportunity to engage students who live far away.
- Blended learning also facilitates student evaluations with comprehensive online testing and granular reporting. Automatic grading offered by many learning systems is also a great relief for the teacher and gives them more time to interact with students.
- Personal approach: it is also unique to each student’s pace and learning style, creating a more comfortable environment for both slow runners and fast learners. If the learners are struggling with a particular topic, they can reach out to complementary online resources, revisit course materials or get quick help from their instructor.
- It’s just fun! Blended learning courses have proven to be more engaging for various student groups – from elementary school to post-graduates and advanced trainees. The incorporation of gaming, video, chat room and so much more have made learning much more interesting to the learners.
Disadvantages of blended learning exist but they are not unsurpassable. Common cons might include Cost of Acquiring software technology and hardware for your blended learning program and IT literacy, which may be a significant barrier for teachers rather than students.
The negative impact can be minimized or channeled into productive activity if the administrator keeps an eye on student feedback, improves technology skills and delivers quality courses. It is a great investment in the long run.
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