Blended learning, also known as hybrid learning, is an approach to education that combines online educational materials and opportunities for interaction online with more traditional place-based classroom methods.
With the rise in popularity of online learning and home schooling, blended learning is becoming more important than ever before. Yet despite the term sounding like a modern concept, it was first used back in the late 1990s.
For the student, blended learning combines classroom-based learning with eLearning, mobile learning and face-to-face instruction. It draws on the strengths of both traditional and online learning methods in order to provide students with a more engaging learning experience. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to learning methods, and there are a number of blended learning models to consider. These include:
Where you take traditional classes but support this with online course work
Where your teacher provides instruction and supplements this with the aid of digital tools. This method helps students who demonstrate skills either below or above a grade level.
Where students work from remote locations such as their home, and receive all of their instruction via online platforms with occasional face-to-face check ins.
Schools that are almost entirely made up of computer labs with access to the internet. Students learn online in this mode.
Where students rotate from in-person learning to online learning as part of a set schedule often predetermined by a teacher.
Where online learning is the main mode of student learning, even if it directs students to offline activities on occasion.
Growing in popularity in recent times are the online-driver and flex models of blended learning, where a whole course is delivered digitally, with support provided by teachers on an ad-hoc basis.
It offers convenience and flexibility; giving you, the learner, the ability to control the pace of your learning.
Research suggests that it increases the effectiveness and efficiency of meaningful learning experiences.
It supports social learning; in that it allows learners to interact with instructors and fellow learners.
It’s fair to say that we’ve entered an era of blended learning with the different modes of learning we are using to fit our new norm. So if you are looking to embark on a course of study, considering how the course is delivered should be an important factor in your decision making. Make sure you choose a blended learning model that fits your personal learning style and preferences to maximise your chances of enjoying, and succeeding in, your studies.