Education has never been a ‘one fit for all’ approach but has been practiced that way by most.
With diversity in almost all parameters, higher education has emerged as a more complex part of education. Differences of thoughts, adaptation, caliber has made university teaching a more challenging job. Learning style and preferences vary and these differences call for individual attention. Blended learning enables the delivery of education with the help of tech integration and also keeps the traditional methodology of teaching alive. The impart use of technology in a blended learning environment makes the settings student centered, induces seating time, provides them opportunities to real world experiences and gateways to more interaction. The online learning in blended approach aids the teaching and makes it efficient but at the same time, in any manner it does not demean the importance of traditional value of face to face teaching.
Technological innovation in higher education has a significant impact on the formation of the future and the ones who are going to be the makers of the future. Tech integration has a major influence on teaching methodologies for the efficiency it provides to the community dealing.
Also, the generation we are dealing with at present and the ones we will be dealing with in coming times is at great ease with the online culture be it in the areas of education or elsewhere. This ease they feel make them want to opt for the ways where education comes to them in ways that enables them to learn in ways that it doesn’t seem like a burden.
Information technology has the capability to extend human capability and deepen the value. Considering the fact that every coin has two sides, let’s look at the pros and cons of blended learning approach.
-- Provides for individualized support for the students as teachers can connect individually via various tech tools.
-- Students can access material at anytime, anywhere, to review the material. (Online availability of content)
-- Provides richer, more interactive learning experiences. Integration of videos, podcast and other multimedia makes learning richer and fun.
-- Provides more time for collaboration with the students and teachers.
Gives students more time to learn - extends the learning beyond the classrooms.
IT is important but more than that teachers are important as it is the teachers that make it work. Hence, there needs to be the prime focus on professional development of teachers.
The implementation is time taking as teachers will need time to create and/or select content. Teachers will need training on using this method of instruction to make it effective, students will need to be shown how to access, use the technology and what is expected of them Students need to be able to do work outside of school hours.
Now talking about working out of institutions, one thing that is worrisome is that still there are places where people do not have access to seamless technology integration, and in these cases questions like if all the students have access to technology at home? Whether they have access to internet at home? Do they have other things that take up their time; we may get clumsy if blended learning is actually the right fit.
Case Studies to Dig Deeper:
Griffith Institute for Higher Education
This is one case study you must check. The university shares their model of blended learning and will definitely help you understand the concept of blended learning beyond just adding online content to the teaching strategies. Detailing about the process, implementation and evaluation of the approach. You can learn more or maybe most from this report.
COHERE Report on Blended Learning
This Collaboration for Online Higher Education (COHERE) led Report explores the current status of blended learning in Canadian higher education, providing examples of innovative and successful practices as well as discussing the challenges and barriers faced by universities involved in blended learning.
You can check the full report here.
How Can We Blend Better!
One important aspect of making teaching better is professional development of teachers.
Talking specifically about blended learning, the call for professional development is even more important as the tech integration can only be beneficial when teachers know how to handle various technologies with rapid advancement being made at a quick pace. Encourage teachers to join online communities to gain understanding of what make digital content great.
Apart from the benefits that students and teachers have, many institutions have already started expanding their blended offerings by collaborating with private and public sector partners in ways that may have been very beneficial to them.
One high-profile example, Arizona State University (ASU) and edX, a MOOC partnership between MIT and Harvard, recently announced the Global Freshman Academy, an initiative that will allow students to do their entire first year of an undergraduate program online.
In another innovative example highlighted in The Chronicle, Peirce College, an institution in Philadelphia that caters to adult learners, will allow its students to switch back and forth between attending class in person or online, based on which is more convenient in any given week. The flexible delivery model will be offered in certain programs this fall and will be extended across all of the college’s program offerings by September 2016.
To know more about these examples mentioned above, click here.
Some More Resources That You Can Check for a Better Understanding:
Share your views and insights in regard to impact of blended learning approach in higher education.