Blended learning combines classroom and technological instruction to promote learning. Students are sometimes exposed to web-based and computer-based instruction, as well as instructional multimedia such as videos or educational software. Multiple methods of delivery allow the information to be processed by the student in different ways and help to engage their interest.
Interest in blended learning will continue to increase as technological advancements develop and provide more options in the classroom. New programs and methods are constantly being designed to promote more effective learning, and schools are investing in them. Research also suggests that students exposed to blended learning instruction perform better than students in traditional classroom settings.
Blended learning is an evolution of the learning process. Blended learning modules often make use of the latest software and technology to engage students. As more students immerse themselves in social networks to communicate with their peers, technology will continue to be an important tool to peak their interest.
There are advantages to blended learning for both students and teachers. Students benefit from traditional teaching methods and the ability to work at their own pace in the technological modules. They are also able to apply their knowledge of the subject being taught in creative ways instead of simply recording information. Instructors may share teaching responsibility with others in blended learning classrooms to more effectively present the technological instruction, and they are able to work with students on a more personal level.
Teachers and eLearning professionals should definitely care about blended learning techniques. The use of technological instruction will help teachers to interact with their students on a deeper level and promote more effective learning. Also, students that may not participate in a traditional classroom setting may feel more comfortable communicating in a hybrid course, ensuring that instructors reach all of their students and not just a few.
(CBT - Computer-based Training, WBT - Web-based Training)
This chart shows how students are able to work at their own pace in a blended learning environment.
Found on the Blended Learning Toolkit and used by Robyn Smith in her post.
University of Central Florida professor Steven Lytle used the acronym to explain that it is sometimes better for both the students and the instructors to only use a few tools or simple ones in blended courses. Complicated technology can overwhelm students and can be hard to instructors to set up, and outside help might be needed. He suggests working up to more complex programs or tools after a few semesters instead of using them all at the beginning of the course.
Blended learning is an emerging style of instruction that allows teachers to more effectively interact with their students. Many schools from the elementary to university levels have invested in blended learning programs and methods in recent years to help their students, and studies have found that blended instruction can be more effective in the classroom than traditional teaching methods. Technological advances will only further improve blended and hybrid learning environments for students.
Education Elements is a company that helps schools implement blended learning courses and programs. Their site explains their approach and understanding of blended learning, and the blog feature shows successes at some of the schools that they have helped.
This is Cornell University’s Center for Teacher Excellence page. The site provides links within the text to other useful information on course design and instructional technology, as well as a good explanation of blended learning.
This is a great resource that explains blended learning in terms of learning architectures and instruction methods. The website has a number of charts and graphics that help to explain the blended learning concepts discussed.
This site features a good explanation of blended learning and a helpful chart that compares approaches to blended instruction. The site also features links to articles about blended learning and a selected bibliography on the topic.