Blended learning, simply put, combines the best of personal instruction and online material to help the student learn better.
Balanced while flipping and rotating
All blended models incorporate online learning, whether in a classroom, school computer lab, or online away from the learning center, and face-to-face instruction with teacher interaction and group collaboration. In general, K-12 models use school computer labs as the primary mode of online instruction while college-level and workforce development programs rely on online education away from a campus.
K-12 blended learning typically use one or more of the Rotation models. These include the following
- Flipped classroom – the combination of at-home video with classroom discussion.
- Station Rotation Model – students move through learning stations (computers) within a classroom.
- Lab Rotation – in this model, students physically move between a classroom and a computer lab.
- Individual rotation model – student works on a personalized learning plan.
College-level and professional development programs typically use the Flex Model or Self-Blend. In a Flex model, instruction happens primarily online with an online instructor coordinating activities. Additional instruction takes place on campus in face-to-face classes. Self-Blend, also known as the a la carte model, lets the student supplement face-to-face classroom instruction with online materials
The data aren’t clear that any single model is best. Instead, we see that the adoption of one model or another has as much to do with school resources and student goals and preferences as it does with any specific pedagogical reasoning.
Types of digital products
The scope of digital material can range from a comprehensive, coherent curriculum to an ad hoc collection of individualized material instruction. Teachers and students can draw from resources as varied s Khan Academy videos, YouTube clips, MOOCs, and professional tutorials.
No teacher left behind
Successful implementation of blended learning depends on teacher preparedness. Nevertheless, most of the work on blended learning has focused on instructional design and related technology. BYU researchers report that little has been done to understand how teachers will bring these programs into their own classrooms.
Current teacher certification notes Barbara Kurshan, executive director of academic innovation at the University of Pennsylvania, rarely prepares teachers for online teaching. “They get a degree, and we put them in a classroom and they end up teaching something online,” she said.
Toward that end, Penn is starting a new training and certification program (all online), called Virtual Online Teaching (VOLT) that will prepare teachers for blended and fully online teaching.
Traditional values in a digital world
We should remember that online learning doesn’t displace critical thinking. If anything, observes Julia Freeland, the opportunities for meaningful student-teacher interaction are improved.
Personal interaction is essential. A decade ago, IBM observed that “to have the greatest impact on learning, even our hip, young, technology-infatuated workforce requires that your blend incorporate a face-to-face social learning component.”
Oil workers in the North Sea, healthcare workers in New York, public service employees in the US showed better outcomes with blended learning than online-only instruction. The human contact, with instructors and other students, led to improved retention and better performance at these critical tasks.
Keep it simple
As you review your options for blended learning, you’ll see bevy of buzzwords and newspeak that can be daunting and even silly (“surge this problem”). At Focus Eduvation, we can help you cut through the thickets and build solutions that work for you and your learning community.
For more information, please email me at email@example.com, and I do look forward to hearing from you.
Vik Aurora, Vice President – Strategic Partnerships