What Is Blended Learning? A Complete Guide

22 Feb 2023
Blended Learning

If anything the past few years has taught us is that the education system cannot be stagnant; on the contrary, it is subject to sociocultural changes. Hence, schools and colleges adopt the necessary mechanisms to facilitate continuous learning. Furthermore, one of the most common strategies has been the incorporation of technology.

Therefore, it did not take long to change the status quo of in-class activities as the teachers shifted from the traditional teaching methods. At the same time, institutes encourage tech-assisted classroom sessions with the help of techniques such as blended learning. Consequently, it allows the faculty to utilize different ways to deliver content and enables students to engage with various mediums of learning materials.

What is Blended Learning?

Blended learning is a unique approach that combines face-to-face classes with digital activities, enabling teachers to create an interactive and engaging classroom experience. The faculty carries most of the teaching and uses digital technology, including computers, laptops and appropriate learning applications.

For instance, they use 3D simulations to explain the functions of hi-tech machines or use video presentations to explain a topic more elaborately. Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning(AI and ML) are the top two technological applications used by teachers to understand varying student learning patterns. Besides, one might notice the growing trend of blended learning in the Philippines as institutes have started integrating modern educational practices.

Furthermore, experts have estimated that the blended-learning market will grow at a CAGR of 17.55% between 2022 and 2027. However, a lot of factors contribute to the increasing demand for this instruction model, such as the need for a cost-effective teaching model, the need for SCORM-compliant content, and the need for effective content development technology.

What is the Difference Between Blended and Hybrid Learning?

In the last couple of years, the educational system has been completely upended, compelling schools and higher educational institutes to look for viable solutions. Besides, digitalization has helped to automate most administrative activities; it was only about time that it helped institutes revolutionize their instructional methods.

And that is where hybrid learning came in; a well-thought-out system that allows students to choose in-person and online classes at their convenience. Consequently, it helps working professionals to continue their education despite a busy schedule.

But is there a difference between both?

Both blended and hybrid learning are terms that people often use interchangeably, but one must note a crucial distinction between them. The distinction lies in the mode of implementation; the former aims to establish a balance through appropriate learning techniques. On the other hand, the blended learning modality functions on a split model via offline and online classes.

Blended Learning Models to Implement in the Class

Blended Learning

1. Station Rotation

Station Rotation is a unique teaching system that guides instructors to teach students in small groups; instead of providing lessons to all students at the same time, the class is divided into small groups of five or six. Besides, according to the learning needs of the students, teachers can create a four-station rotation which is as follows:

  • Teacher Station - This is the first step in which teachers plan and differentiate the content depending on students’ learning levels. The lower-performing group must take priority, and the higher-performing peers can participate in the practice sessions. After individual station rotations, whole class groups session must follow. Finally, assessments must be conducted to identify crucial problems faced by student groups.
  • Tech Station - Teachers can use plenty of learning tools and applications to create activities that will help students engage with the learning process. For instance, they can work on math station rotation to solve a sum by using correct formulas and procedures. Teachers can assign projects that will encourage students to focus on specific skills and concepts. Also, they can create personalized content, helping to lessen students’ learning gaps.
  • Independent Practice - During the practice sessions, teachers must conduct assessments such as worksheets or project works. The goal is to help them utilize their skills and solve the questions or problems. For example, these activities can include gamified content.
  • Group/partner Practice - This is an important part of the station rotation and involves classmates working together within a group. In fact, this is a great opportunity for students to interact, work and learn from each other.
  • It is noteworthy to mention that the success of the rotation station depends on pre-assessment; teachers need to identify individual students’ skills and then create groups on the basis of their capabilities.

2. Flipped Classroom

The flipped classroom is a popular blended learning example that inverts the traditional teaching and learning system. In this approach, students consume the instructional content at home and work on problems during the class. Teachers prepare study material about subject topics and core concepts through videos, presentations, images, and digital files.

Students go through the materials at home, try to understand and discuss them elaborately during the class. The biggest advantage of this learning model is that it helps teachers focus on students’ problems; it helps to create an individualized learning environment. Also, it is an innovative technique to boost self-directed learning, allowing students to engage in class activities.

3. Individual Rotation

Individual rotation comes under the rotation model and consists of students rotating between different stations, allowing them to learn through different lesson blocks. However, it is different from other models because, according to this particular model, students don’t go through every other station.

On the contrary, teachers develop personalized activities, and students complete these activities depending on the pre-established schedules and modalities. Furthermore, the individual rotation model caters to learners’ needs and interests, allowing them to gain customized blended learning experiences.

4. A-B-A-B Model

As the title suggests, the A-B-A-B model allows students to learn between the two platforms; they can learn from the whole-class learning session as well as through small groups. For instance, teachers might give an in-class assignment on writing an essay on a historical event and then have them work on a similar online assignment. Then, the following day they can do the reverse.

Blended Learning Advantages

  • Teachers can customize and personalize learning, enabling students to learn at their own pace. Besides, it will allow identifying the areas which require guidance and gradually improving their overall academic performance.
  • It facilitates greater flexibility in comparison to the traditional educational system; learners can learn and access course materials anywhere and anytime.
  • One of the most noteworthy blended learning advantages is that with the help of integrated tools, teachers can keep track of the student's progress.

In Conclusion,

Blended learning is a modern approach that helps to boost student learning and enhance instructional methodologies. However, it is pivotal for teachers to determine individual learning and skill levels before implementing any blended learning modules.

Gaurav Somani Author :

Gaurav Somani,

Academic Consultant

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