The rise of technology and its ever-continuing advancement has turned us all toward online learning. We’ve been hearing about it for years now, what it is, how beneficial it can be, and how it can replace the traditional brick-and-mortar education. However, there are still individuals who cling to the education they got, they know, and they’re familiar with, that being the traditional way of learning. Fortunately, for those people who still can’t fully embrace the invasion of online learning, blended learning comes to save the day. But what exactly is blended learning? Let’s find out.
Blended learning is a learning method that combines the traditional classroom-based way of learning with high-tech, online learning. As we know, every classroom gathers all kinds of students—not two students have the same learning style—and with this learning approach, instructors will be able to engage everyone.
It’s not that relevant whether you learn outside or inside the classroom as long as you put the effort into getting educated in a particular field. Thanks to the blended learning approach, students can extend their knowledge-gaining process outside the classroom walls. In that way, learners get more freedom in how they learn, the learning pace they follow, and the tools they use.
In order for the method to be implemented effectively in the classroom, there are a few models of online blended learning that we can utilize. Let’s take a quick look at those said models.
Of all blended learning models, the face-to-face driver is the one that is the most similar model to a common school instruction structure. This model suggests which students will have the chance to participate in an online learning setting and which won’t and is done on a case-by-case basis. In other words, those who are struggling or are studying above their grade level can continue studying at their own pace by using the technology available in the classroom.
This particular blended learning model suggests that students are engaged by changing their learning modalities in a fixed schedule. The learning modalities can be teachers’ instruction, online learning, and collaborative learning. However, one thing that needs to be known is that it’s up to the instructor to decide when this rotation happens and when students can shift to the next activity planned.
This learning model has been mostly used at the elementary school level for quite a time now. However, the new change that occurred is that online learning now happens to be the first cycle of the rotation.
With this learning model, the backbone of the student learning process will be online learning. This way, the students’ and instructors’ flexibility will increase as they can do most of the work online. Not only will this learning model give both sides more control over the time and how they use it, but they will also be able to move through the lessons and the learning materials at their own pace.
Students can also feel more independent; the flex learning model is used to get teacher instructions only when needed as they won’t have to switch between learning modalities. While online learning might dominate flex learning, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the learning will happen away from the classroom. In fact, this is exactly what differentiates flex learning from the other models; online learning occurs within the classroom.
Given that all models of blended learning will have to be incorporated somehow, the self-blend model cannot be any different. Yet, unlike previous models we discussed, this blended model gives the students the power to control what education they want to receive. Needless to say, the self-blend model relies almost entirely on online instruction. While students will attend a traditional classroom, they will supplement their learning by getting classes remotely.
The whole idea behind the self-blend model is that students can receive the education they want at all places where they have internet access, and that isn’t always the classroom or the schools’ labs. This form of blended learning is most commonly used in higher education settings. It may help those who have fallen behind to catch up or those who seek further specialization in a given field.
The online lab is a unique blended learning model. What makes it special is that the learning happens entirely online. Still, students will have to attend a traditional setting to complete their coursework. These traditional settings are computer labs that are supervised by individuals who aren’t trained teachers. Knowing that students can be at different learning stages, the online lab model can help all students without making them feel like they are falling behind or limiting them to certain lessons—they get to learn whatever they want to.
We touched upon the fact that blended learning as an approach to education has been quite used in educational institutions over the years. However, its utilization isn’t limited to educational institutions only. This learning approach has been brought into play in many industries, sectors, and career fields. You might wonder why? Well, even the people who have landed a job and became specialists in their field need to get trained and stay up to date with the industries’ latest technologies and advancements, and blended learning can be of help in that direction.
When it comes to training that employees receive, one thing is for sure; not all participants are at the same level. With self-paced learning, this won’t be a problem as training participants can easily skip the lessons if they feel they’ve understood them or even repeat the courses if they’re struggling to understand a concept. In this way, students will have the space to explore their full potential or to never feel pressured if they’re taking things slow.
Blended learning can be a great way to engage students in training sessions. Seeing how it incorporates many forms of teaching and learning into one, the participants might be very attentive. One time they might be learning online, the other they might collaborate in a group activity, and one other time they might learn through teacher instruction. Not to mention the gamification that many online platforms have integrated to make learning less monotonous and eventually increase student engagement.
Blended learning isn’t only beneficial for the training participants but also for those who organize those training sessions, and in this case, they are the management of an organization. By providing training through a blended learning model, they surely spare resources they would otherwise be spent in venues and instructors, among many other things. While sure, instructors will be part of the teaching process, blended learning will require less of their time. So, by incorporating blended learning in the training program, organizations undoubtedly will save their money up.
Blended learning indeed comes with its benefits for both participants and those who choose to incorporate it into their training sessions. When utilized, blended learning can do wonders not only in education but also in other sectors as well, both financially, and growth-wise. So, tell us, will you, too, join the club and integrate it into your training program? We would love to know.