Blended learning (BL) is no more an instructional media that is used by instructional designers alone, but is an approach that is managed and utilized across the educational space by designers, trainers, and teachers alike.
With a myriad of eclectic BL tools and instructional designs to choose from, the users regulate, fine-tune, edit, and conceptualize them as per the experience of the learners or the kind of experience they plan to deliver.
Blended Learning : Misunderstood Definitions Debunked
- Blended learning is any activity where the teacher makes the use of internet or a computer or projector to show videos and pictures in the class. No!
- Blended learning is when students bring their own devices (BYODs) to the classroom and work together. No! Not exactly.
- Blended learning is having access to cutting-edge technology that are designed with the concept of IoT in the classroom. No!
So, What is Blended Learning?
BL surely does involve computers, internet, learnersâ€™ devices and cutting-edge technologies, but it doesnâ€™t stop there, but it is just the beginning. As introduced in the blog, BL is what its name suggestsâ€”â€˜blendingâ€™ of â€˜learningâ€™ experiences carefully crafted using teaching methodologies and pedagogies that needs to be designed idiosyncratic to the learnersâ€™ needs.
Therefore, BL must not include the use of a technologically advanced option alone, but should be a blend of face-to-face and online activities because the web must be used for what it does best and the class time must be used for what it does best.
Using the Right Tool, For the Right Problem
Providing your users with a plethora of tools to choose from and ensuring that they use them all, is not the right way to approach a problem. Today, you take any EdTech tool for integration, they come with multiple features and not all the features fit the clientâ€™s interest. As an EdTech expert or trainer understanding the gaps in their needs and the gaps of that of the learnersâ€™ will help gauge the requirement of the kinds of tools. This will help not only save time but also save the extra efforts that go in training unwanted features of an EdTech tool.
Blending Their Learning
Not every BL design or approach can be the same, depending the cases, requirement and resources available, the blended learning techniques and the EdTech tools used may have different set of reasons of implementation.
For example, assuming the school has lack of resources (just projectors and smart classes) and do not conceptualize BYODs, a BL approach can still be adopted. A Math teacher can teach the topic â€˜Solid Shapesâ€™ using virtual reality in the class (Computer-based Technology) and explain the concept using a face-to-face approach. But then, she can provide practicing the same topic using online tools available on NCTM or practice sheets available on the school LMS (learning management system) as homework.
Every school or educational institute will have champion teachers. Culling the right talent and training them first helps divide and conquer. Lastly, blending must not be with the instructional mode alone, there must be a freedom for the learners to choose how they want to learn a concept as well. Training the students to use an EdTech tool also helps fill a lacuna that exists in todayâ€™s classroom scenario.