Blended learning is a combination of e-learning and the traditional on-site learning in a classroom. Learners have more or less fixed schedule to attend some of the classes at the educational institution and for the rest; they can make their own schedule. Students can attend the rest of the classes and complete their assignments online.
It is a student-centered approach which builds up a productive learning experience for learners who can interact with the instructors, students, and with content through integration of face-to-face and online environments (Garrison & Kanuka, 2004). It incorporates, builds and creates new materials, content, and activities in the classroom by a variety of modes such as traditional lectures and online tutorials. Blended learning can come in numerous shapes and sizes. According to Masie (2002), blended learning can be of different models such as:
- Online: Instruction occurs via an online platform, with periodic face-to-face meetings.
- Rotation: Student rotates between self-paced online learning and face-to-face instruction.
- Flex: Most instruction is delivered online, with teachers providing as needed support in small-group settings.
- Personalized blend: Teacher designs face-to-face learning options. Learning is the constant and time is the variable.
- Online lab: Instructions takes place in a lab. Delivered by an online teacher.
- Self-blend: Students take online courses to supplement their tradition schools face to face course catalogue.
- Face-to-face: Teacher face-to-face instruction, supplemented with technology in the classroom or computer lab.
These multiple modals of blended learning in contrast to teacher-centered approach, provide different ways to access content. A blended approach gives learners the opportunity to become more responsible for their learning, which creates a meaningful learning on an individual level. Learners construct knowledge through personal efforts, demonstrate a thorough understanding beyond memorization, and transfer what they have learnt to new settings (Massie, 2002). Blended learning clearly brings more engaged students, motivates students for a deeper learning, and finally extends time for learning new knowledge.
What do you think of blended learning?
Garrison, D. R., & Kanuka, H. (2004). Blended learning: Uncovering its transformative potential in higher education. The internet and higher education, 7(2), 95-105.
Masie, E. Blended Learning: the magic is in the mix. The ASTD E-Learning Handbook. Edited by: Rossett A. 2002.