The concept of “Blended Learning” is nothing new. It has been there since the 1960s.
However, it has not been implemented massively in education system. But, as of now, it’s expanding and improving on its methodologies. In turn, it is increasing our chances of incorporating it successfully into teaching and benefiting students like never before.
What is Blended Learning?
We can define Blended learning as a portion of learning delivered with digital or online media or an amalgamation of electronics and physical teaching. In this model, mostly learning is student-directed in terms of time, pace, path, and place. It provides a learning experience that is appealing and delivers successful learning outcomes.
As per Clayton Christensen Institute explanation, most blended learning works on any of these four models:
- Rotational: Students rotate through different modes of learning. At least one of them is online or digital in nature.
- Flex: Students do the learning mostly online. It is still done at the school under teacher supervision, though.
- A La Carte: Students do their learning entirely online with an online instructor.
- Enriched Virtual: Students receive one-on-one sessions with their instructor. They are then free to complete the rest of the coursework online independently.
Blended learning strategies are a great way to mix it up the classroom. It lets teachers teach learners in their own technological turf. With a careful mix of instruction and technology, it can be a great way to boost learning outcomes. And this article lists few tips to help you incorporate blended learning in your classrooms or in lessons.
How can you incorporate blended learning into your classroom or lesson?
Firstly, identify an actual problem you are having. Rather than reaching into the mixed bag of web-based and computer-based tools randomly, think about what issues you are currently facing, then look for technology-based solutions that address the problem specifically.
For instance, find handful solutions or ask students participate in classroom discussions. This will also give students who are shy or too “cool” could find their voice in an online forum. You can also take help from a myriad of online collaboration spaces that you can create and moderate where students can spend focused time together online, nurturing debate and discovery.
Secondly, get a clear picture of your class. When it’s about blended learning, it doesn’t mean that it’s for students only but for teachers too. They can connect to both their learners and the digital world they inhabit. Learners and instructor can grow together, as it should be, and this is a big part of making any blended learning strategies successful. However, there is a big misconception about blended learning is that it’s synonymous with “distance” and “detachment;” a probable reason for teachers to shy away from it initially. However, the fact is the blend is in harmony with both digital learning and traditional instruction. And teacher plays a modified role from the old “stand and deliver” one; it’s meant to be the best of both worlds combined.
This will help lead lively class discussions to supplement the digital interaction that’s happening. Here, students know that teacher plays a role that's just as valued and appreciated as the technology. It’s a more rewarding form of interaction. In a blended learning environment, they circulate, collaborate, and mediate. In the process, they learn a lot themselves.
Thirdly, use a variety of tools but don’t rely too much on technology. Undoubtedly, it is very important to incorporate electronics into your lessons. However, relying on technological tools can become boring or predictable over time. So, it better not to rely too much on technology and to keep things fresh and exciting, use different tools and online games. For instance, use power points often and show videos on the lesson’s topic to your students. You can also use VR, if available, as it is a great way to immerse the students in their work.
Fourthly, make learning accessible for students. It is known to all, digital learning allows students to have the opportunity to access the work even after the lesson is finished. But, as a teacher, you need to store study material on a platform that can be accessed by the students. For example, if you show your students a video or a PowerPoint, you could save the material on the cloud to help students get access to it whenever they want.
Fifthly, personalize learning pathways for each student because not every student can learn at same pace and have same understanding level. So before starting a class ensure that you use resources that have varying degrees of difficulty. This will provide a challenge for the more academically-gifted students, and you will be there to assist the weaker students.
Sixthly, choose a blended learning model that caters to your needs. There are a variety of blended learning models. So, before implementing any style of teaching into your classroom, find a model that you prefer. For example, the station rotation model involves students rotating to different technology stations around their classroom.
Seventhly, experiment with the flipped classroom model. This model of learning is suggested to be the future of education. As flipped classroom model ‘flips’ the traditional role of each learning space. So, student can use independent study time to watch lecture content and introduce new concepts. Then use class time to engage in discussion about this information, do exercises with the support of their teacher, and engage in group work and discussion.
This favorite model of teachers and students allows class teachers to maximize the social value of classroom time, while ensuring that students don’t miss out on learning new information.
Last of all, try something outside of the box. It is very important to try new things because doing the same things over and over again, learners can get bored and disengage. So it’s advisable to try to liven your blended learning approach with something outside of the box. For example, you may launch a social media network or a group over it for educators. It would support blended learning with a virtual classroom feature that would allow educators to Live stream, make audio or video conference calls, share their screen, files or a virtual whiteboard, and much more with your students. It would also give educators the power to create, share and reuse interactive learning experiences and assessments while leveraging over 30 learning content templates.
Did we miss out any? If yes, please let us know in the comments.