One of the main advantages of blended learning is that it provides unique traits which bolster student engagement. It also helps promote collaborative work on any project and allows instructions or lessons to be more personalized in their approach so that it meets the needs of each and every student.
In its core, blended learning (also referred to as “hybrid learning” or the “technology-mediated instruction” method) is an education program that relies on digital media paired with traditional classroom methods.
Millions of students have already embraced this model of learning, and its growth pattern is steadily surpassing homeschooling and virtual schools. So, if you are interested in embracing blended learning, make sure to stick around, as we are going to go over its benefits as well as some strategies for its successful implementation.
Benefits of blended learning
One of the essential leverages of the blended learning model is that it allows the educators to work past the concept of “one teacher, one textbook” and to include all sorts of different sources in their lecture.
This, of course, entails a variety of advantages on sub-levels like:
- More flexibility in terms of progress, as students will excel at their own pace;
- Increased number of timely interventions;
- More efficient forming of study groups;
- Better access to real-world experiences;
- Making more tangible learning connections by helping students construct meaning rather than relying on countless drills to memorize lessons;
- Increase the efficiency of problem-solving lessons;
- Embracing the 21st-century form of communication and collaboration through video conferencing;
- Exploring and gravitating towards learning opportunities on higher grade levels, or different departments.
These are just some of the more notable benefits that deserve a mention; there are many more of course. Now, let us discuss some of the key strategies to use for implementing blended learning.
a) Virtual class meetings with collaborative activities
One of the most advantageous elements of blending learning is without a doubt synchronous virtual meetings. Teachers can give out lectures in a virtual classroom, while their ability to present content is not impaired in any way. On the contrary, every course attendant will have the same display on their screen, unlike the traditional set up where the students in the back row often face trouble hearing as compared to those seated in the front row.
Recording these lectures provides yet another layer of convenience, as students can go over the parts they perceive as more challenging, without the need to interrupt the teacher to reiterate. As teachers gain more time during their lecture, the production part of the lesson can incentivize more collaborative work. They can easily engage the entire class to collectively work on problem-solving and for applying the knowledge acquired for different concepts.
b) Facilitate motivation by providing purpose
Technology can also be a major gambit in terms of motivation and engagement, as long as it is utilized in a correct manner. Teachers can design more authentic lesson projects that display a clear relevance, and the application of the skills, or knowledge being taught. These types of lessons are not limited to the virtual classroom, as they can be easily applied in the conventional classroom as well.
The best way to put this plan into motion is via administration of game-based learning. By implementing more metacognitive activities and fostering a necessity for knowledge through a task presented in an engaging game, teachers can ramp up both motivation and involvement.
c) Set goals
In addition to providing more meaning to the lesson, you also need to set a progress curve, so that students can be aware of their advancement. The goals need to be measurable and student-centered, to successfully convert course attendants into true agents of learning.
Again, these techniques can be used both online and offline. Basically, you should steer clear from teaching methods that involve students as passive recipients, and by setting and reflecting goals, the lecture attendees can develop a personal connection to learning.
d) Tools for mobile learning
A recently published guide by Edutopia, Mobile Devices for Learning supply the readers with information on a variety of apps, and techniques on how to incorporate mobile devices into the learning environment. The idea is to leverage the flexibility of teaching and allowing students to learn even outside the classroom. Teachers can use applications to send relevant learning materials to their students and to help them grasp certain lessons even better.
The same applies for the corporate training as well. Employees can have access to insightful online content to help them get better at their job.
e) Personalized instructions
As mentioned, online learning allows for more personalized lessons, as no two students learn at the same pace. You can focus on learning extensions for students who have reached the desired level, or clarification of misconception for those lagging behind. These targeted lessons have greater value for the students, as they address their specific needs or shortcomings. Furthermore, it ensures more steadfast progress of your group overall.
To sum up, embracing blended learning model can bring positive results if you select the right LMS software. Once you find the right delivery tools, you can focus on implementing these aforementioned strategies to foster blended learning.