26 May, 2016
Blended learning or ‘hybrid learning,’ is learning that combines the best of online learning and face-to-face instruction for the purpose of improving learning. ‘Flipping the classroom’ or ‘inverted teaching’ are also types of blended learning, as course content is moved out of the classroom to an online format enabling class time to be more interactive.
Advantages of Blended Learning
- More flexibility for students and instructors.
- Different ways for students to get involved in and demonstrate their learning.
- Both instructors and students have the chance to develop their technology skills.
- Students prefer courses that have some online components (ECAR, 2012).
- Some technologies let more learning to take place, or facilitate a specific kind of learning activity that might not be possible without the technology.
Factors Affecting Implementation of Blended Learning:
- Your comfort level with using technology for learning.
- Whether or not you can achieve your course learning outcomeswith a blended learning format.
- If there are any particular difficulties you are facing that may be remedied through online learning.
- How much time you want in class to do more interactive learning activities.
Incorporating Blended Learning in your course
- In designing any course, the first step is to think about what you want to teach, and what you want students to learn. What are your learning outcomes? What do you want students to know, value, or be able to do as a result of taking your course?
- Once you are aware of your learning outcomes, you can start thinking about the ways you will engage studentsin learning and the ways in which you will evaluate this learning.
- With these learning and assessment activities in mind, consider which ones lend themselves best to online learning and which are a better fit for in-class learning, or face-to-face activities.
- You want students to enhance the ability to articulate their views on course topics, so you choose to conduct discussions or debates in class. Since this takes more time, content typically delivered through a lecture might be made available to students through videos(ones that already exist, or make your own through screen capture technology).
- You can do in-class discussions or hold debates and find that many students do not join or make substantial contributions. Hosting discussions online in place of in-class discussion or debates can accommodate various learning styles, let you to give more structure to a discussion, promote more participation, and result in more thoughtful responses. This will not necessarily happen naturally; planning for effective online discussions is imperative.
Considerations when using Blended Learning
- It is significant to connect the online and face-to-face learning activities for the purpose of deeper learning.
- Be aware of the amount of time it takes students to finish course activities. If more time is spent out of class doing course work, then you might cut down class face-to-face time or cut out other course assignments. Blended learning should not involve tacking on extra work.
- Online learning can need more independent learning on the students’ part. Students may require more support in the form of clear guidelines, expectations for participation, and firm deadlines throughout the course.
- Students may initially be pushed out of their learning comfort zone. Explain your rationale for using blended learning and describe the learning benefits.
- Student ability to use technology may vary. Be ready to support students in using technology and perhaps start your course with a low-stakes online assignment to get students adjust.