We’ve seen a seismic shift in the way we learn. Online learning and technology have grown exponentially, making it easier than ever to access information when we need it. But what does this mean for teachers? How can they leverage the power of technology to help students succeed? Blended learning is one of the most effective ways to help students learn. It combines the best features of traditional and online learning, allowing teachers to use technology to create more engaging experiences for their students.
What is Blended Learning?
Blended learning is a combination of traditional face-to-face and online instruction. Technology allows the instructor to deliver content in different ways: live synchronous video, prerecorded video, interactive text and graphics, group discussions, peer reviews, and forums. Blended learning can also be used for supplemental materials like books or simulations.
Define Your Goals
One of the most important things to do before implementing a blended learning strategy is to define your goals. For example, if you want to lose weight, it’s not enough to say “I want to lose weight”. You need to be specific about what kind of weight loss you are aiming for and by when. Do you want to drop a dress size? Lose 5 pounds? And how much time do you have in mind? Are 6 months realistic or ambitious?
It may also be helpful to write down your goals and put them somewhere visible – perhaps on the fridge or inside a cupboard door that gets opened every day. Seeing them regularly will help remind you of why it is so important for us all (and especially parents) not just to set our minds on achieving certain outcomes but also to make sure that there are steps taken towards achieving success.
Determine Learning Modalities
Determining the learning modalities involves considering the learning objectives, learner characteristics and preferences, environmental factors, time available, and cost. The tools available must also be considered so that they can be properly integrated into your course design.
For example, if you have access to technology such as video conferencing or a synchronous distance communication system (e.g., webinar), then you should be able to schedule videoconferences or webinars with your learners instead of having them attend classroom sessions hosted by an instructor.
There are many ways to use technology to build student engagement. Here are a few examples:
Use gamification to motivate students. Gamification is the use of game-like elements in non-gaming contexts, such as education. Students can be motivated by points, badges, leaderboards, and other rewards that encourage them to complete tasks or achieve goals within a learning environment.
Use social media to build community. You can create an online community with your students using tools like Facebook Groups, LinkedIn Groups, and Google Hangouts that allow people of similar interests or backgrounds to connect with one another easily through their computers and mobile devices (e.g., laptops).
This type of platform is ideal if your course requires group work or collaboration between students because it allows them easy access when they’re away from campus without sacrificing time spent off-campus doing homework assignments at home.
Ensure Blended Learning is Right for You
Before you begin, it’s important to consider the time and effort required to implement a blended learning strategy. For example, how much time will you need to spend training teachers on the new method? How much support do your learners need in order to succeed in their coursework? Are there costs associated with developing and maintaining technology that can support your course delivery model? Think about these questions before diving into implementation.
Create a Blended Learning Framework
Before you begin to plan your blended learning strategy, it’s helpful to define what you want to achieve. The first step is to set a goal that aligns with your organization’s mission and values. For example, if your company wants to provide more training for employees, this could be considered a “strategic” goal. On the other hand, if the business’s primary focus is on revenue growth and customer satisfaction (and not so much on employee development), then investing in e-learning may not be aligned with that objective.
Develop a Team to Bring it all Together
Once you have a plan in place, it’s time to build a team that can bring it all together. You’ll want to make sure your team is made up of:
Experts in their field—if the learning strategy is going to be successful, the instructors will need knowledge and experience in teaching the subject matter.
Good communicators—the project manager should be able to communicate well with everyone on his or her team. They should also be able to communicate effectively with key stakeholders outside of their organization (like students).
Implementers—every member of this group should have experience implementing blended learning strategies before so they know what challenges may arise and how best to overcome them.
Choose Your Technology
When you’re looking at your technology options, keep the following in mind:
Choose the right technology for the job. Does your school have a specific learning management system (LMS) already in place? If so, you may want to stick with that LMS and add a new course or two online. Is there something better out there? If so, go for it! Just make sure that whatever platform you choose will work well with all the other platforms your teachers use in their classrooms.
Make it easy on yourself by choosing an easy-to-use tool with excellent functionality and user interfaces (UIs). For example, if one of your goals is engagement by allowing students to ask questions via chat or video chat during class time, then look for tools that enable this type of interaction easily without requiring teachers to spend hours setting up accounts or navigating complicated UI elements.
Choose an affordable option—and then find ways to reduce costs! Remember: Your goal isn’t just cheaper; it’s also more efficient and effective learning experiences through blended learning strategies that can expand access beyond traditional classroom walls while making improvements related to student achievement levels over time.
Benefits of Blended Learning
Blended learning is a combination of traditional classroom-based learning and self-paced online learning. Students can choose the way they learn, whether it’s with in-class lectures or the flexibility of their own time.
The benefits of blended learning are many: increased student engagement, improved retention, and increased student satisfaction and achievement.
01: Control the Pace of Learning
In blended learning, you control the pace of learning. You can work on your own schedule, at any time of day or night. In a traditional classroom, you may be forced to wait until everyone finishes their work before moving on with yours. With blended learning, there is no rush; everyone learns at their own pace and moves forward when they feel ready.
If you have a particularly busy week ahead of you, it’s possible that taking one class per week might not be enough for you to meet your goals by the end of the course—but this isn’t an issue with blended learning! When working through an online course with traditional textbooks, it can sometimes feel like there just isn’t enough time in each session: lectures are longer than they need to be (or should be) because professors want all students present at once—and in-person lectures are often the only way we learn from them!
But with online courses, we can listen through recordings anytime we want and take notes later if needed. This allows us more flexibility over how many hours per day we spend on our studies without sacrificing quality content or falling behind schedule!
02: Modular and Scalable
When you use modular learning, you’re able to easily add or remove topics. You can also customize your curriculum by adding modules that align with the specific needs of your students. For example, if a student is struggling with a particular skill, you can create an extra module that teaches him how to master it. Modular learning also allows you to create a flexible schedule so each student learns at their own pace.
When you use modular learning, you’re also able to easily track student progress. You can see how well each student is doing in each module and identify any areas where they may need extra help.
03: Reinforces Engagement, Learning, and Retention
The benefits of blended learning are many, and one of the biggest is that it can help reinforce learning. When you combine face-to-face with online learning, you’re able to provide more opportunities for your students to reinforce their knowledge.
For example, if you have a lecture on Wednesday morning and then an online video that covers the same material Thursday evening (and possibly during class time), students can go back over the material in both settings. This helps them learn in different ways and makes sure they remember what they’ve learned.
In addition, blended learning allows learners to engage with content in different ways than traditional approaches do. Traditional approaches often rely on passive listening and reading methods such as lectures or textbooks; blended learning allows learners to take part in active engagement activities such as problem-solving or role-playing scenarios so they grasp concepts better than by simply listening or reading about them.
Blended learning is a powerful tool for transforming your classroom, but it’s just the beginning. Once you’ve figured out how to use this approach in your own classroom and school, you can expand your reach by sharing what you’ve learned with others. If nothing else, remember that blended learning is about more than just technology—it’s about putting students first and making sure they get the most from their educational experience.