What is Blended Learning?
Many schools have begun to incorporate blended learning into their curriculums, but what is it? Blended learning, also known as blended education, flipping the classroom, or hybrid learning, is the integration of online lessons and face-to-face classroom learning to improve the learning process and personalize learning for each student.
Some schools use blended learning as a way for students to review lessons, track their in-class performance and review supporting materials for lessons. Websites like Blackboard and Moodle support these functions. Other blended learning software that incorporates personalized learning includes Knewton And DreamBox. The point is to incorporate more interactive learning materials to increase students’ retention and involvement. Blended learning can also be taught by splitting students into different groups and having them rotate through different methods of learning such as computer activities, written lessons and collaborative work.
“Flipping the Classroom”, a more significant departure from traditional pedagogy, involves changing the roles and schedules of a traditional learning environment. Normally, a teacher would use class time to teach a specific lesson and assign homework, which is to be completed at home on the student’s time. When flipping a classroom, lessons are watched at home, typically online through media presentations, and then reviewed the following day in the classroom with the teacher. Students have the ability to absorb lessons at their own pace, in their own way.
Traditional lectures, usually long and mostly spoken, are replaced with interactive quizzes, videos and more. However, since blended learning changes the roles of teacher and students, the faculty must understand what is expected and willing to adapt to such large changes. However, there is no denying the benefits that are offered by blended learning, such as allowing students to all learn at their own pace and using customized content on computer lessons to cater to each learning style.
In order to incorporate blended learning into schools, faculty must learn about its benefits and different ways to incorporate it into lesson plans. Some teachers are uncomfortable with the idea because they think it reduces their ability to teach and relies on technology to do most of the work. Although the ability to use a Personalized Learning Model is very helpful in teaching many different young minds, teachers are still essential for additional help, follow-through and guidance.
Harvard and MIT have called online learning, “The single biggest change in education since the printing press.” In a world where toddlers are using iPads and mobile phones to interact and learn with parent guidance, the time has surely come to thoughtfully incorporate the methodology that they are already using at home at the school.