The Power of Blended Learning
Blended learning is one of the newest ways to deliver education. Transforming the traditional classroom into a mixture of online interaction and direct instruction. Blended learning can be defined as the combination of traditional teaching methods with e-learning technology to enhance everyday delivery, teaching, and assessment. This combination of not just computers but virtual learning environments and learning management systems enables learners to interact with content in a completely new and engaging way. Blended learning consists of using online learning material, video and assessment to enhance learning beyond the classroom.
There are many reasons for using a blended learning approach to deliver and assess vocational programs. Some of these reasons include; updating students skills, saving time in marking work, the holistic development of resources, innovation in technology and gaining higher levels of learner engagement. The most powerful of these reasons is that learners of ’today’ day are addicted to having technology at their fingertips. The absence of e-learning within a qualification implies a missed opportunity for increasing the learning outcomes for students in an inclusive way. Learners learn best when they feel confident, and many teenagers and young adults are completely comfortable with online technology through the use of Twitter, YouTube, SnapChat and Facebook. Surprisingly, each one of these platforms develops a particular learning skill that can constitute to better academic and vocational performance in work and assessment.
Blended learning, as an inclusive resource is very powerful, not only because learners are accustomed to using technology every day, but because it can become highly personalised for every single learner in different ways. Online learning is powerful because learners can self-pace their progress in covering content, allowing them to take their own time in understanding context through short powerful videos and diagrams. This aspect of self-paced is lost in the traditional classroom as the teacher is often confined to flying with the fastest learners to make sure lessons are finished before lunch. Additionally, learners can pause, rewind and adjust volumes to suit their own learning needs online whilst in class there be unavoidable barriers to learning.
E-learning as a resource finely tunes what we know we are capable of as teachers but redelivers it in an inclusive way; accessible to learners with diverse needs. Another powerful aspect of why e-learning should be used is the power it has to give every learner instant feedback. How possible is that in the busy classroom? At best we may be capable of giving 35% of learners individual feedback in a lesson, with most one to one feedback taking place on a monthly basis.
Nevertheless, E-learning platforms give learners feedback instantly making this a powerful option to incorporate into our teaching. An example of this is the online quiz populates a learners score at the click of a button. This instant feedback can become addictive just like getting a like on Facebook or a thumbs up on YouTube. Therefore, the same mental reward of instant gratification is achieved.