What is Blended Learning -Part II
The Secret to the Success of Blended Learning: Your Questions Answered
Part I: What is Blended Learning
“Blended learning is a purposeful mix of learning theories and models that use more than one delivery method and tool to accomplish the intended learning outcomes while ensuring an engaging learning experience.”
The idea of just putting out an eLearning course by itself is not something optimal for every situation. In some cases, it is the perfect solution by itself but in other cases, you really need to think about other ways of presenting material and getting learners engaged. In that sense, blended learning is about putting different elements together and have them do different things. It may not be all online or entirely eLearning. It may be about doing some research online and coming up with an answer. Blended learning basically includes different ways you can have learners learn.
- Each approach and media you choose should reinforce the others.
- The result should be a unified, seamless course.
- It should be meaningful and cohesive.
- Use any tools that can help support the curriculum.
- Consider an interplay of learning theories and models.
- Plan everything in advance.
A Purposeful Mix is the Key
Blended learning needs to be a purposeful mix of location and time, the delivery methods, the pedagogical approaches, and the tools/materials/artifacts. Additionally, how the learners and teachers are going to interact with each other, what are their roles, if there will be a mix of formal and informal learning needs to be thought about as well. Formal learning implies sitting in a classroom or an organization and opting for formal training. On the other hand, informal learning is that which you learn every day without having a set plan in place for that particular type of learning.
The other different ways that you can potentially have your audience learn in a better way or the types of things you can include are – discussion forums, MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), blogs (written by the instructors or by the learners on the specifics that they have learnt), internal Wikis, social media, digital storytelling tools, mobile apps, educational games, mind tools, life simulations, software simulations, case scenarios, roleplaying, eBooks, group discussions, situational learning, storytelling, student-recorded podcasts, spaced repetition, gamification, ePortfolios, and student-generated videos. As we mentioned in our previous blog in this series, the good thing about blended learning is that one can practically choose any type of media to deliver the content. The important point that instructors need to remember is to use these elements as long as they make sense for the curriculum.
Make the Right Choices
There is no one set recipe for a course. Every course is different and needs a different treatment. In fact, every learning context calls for a different kind of blend. Most crucial is that you must take into consideration the learner needs. Remember to use any tools that can help support the curriculum. These could be used in the end, with or without videos, etc. A good, blended course cannot have random things put together and hence, think about an interplay of different learning theories and models.
In the next blog, we will see the best practices for blended learning and the role of the facilitator.
Do share your ideas on blended learning with us at firstname.lastname@example.org We’ll be happy to hear.