Blended learning is a combination of offline (face-to-face, traditional classroom methods) and online technology based elearning, both integrated together so that one compliments the other, creating a new, hybrid method of teaching.
Blended learning is composed of self-pacing and live training. So, for example, a student might engage in learning within a real-world classroom setting, while also later completing online multimedia coursework to supplement the lesson. This is highly convenient as the learner is able to work at their own pace outside the classroom and only has to physically attend class for a limited time. It has been suggested that students who complete online coursework followed by interactive, face-to-face class activities have an enhanced learning experience.
Blended learning is often also referred to as ‘hybrid’ learning, and it can include many forms of online education environments. Tools and platforms that complement blended learning include LMSs and mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones. Some organisations use blended learning as their primary method of teaching, while some may only use it on rare occasions.
Instances of Blended Learning are usually made up of around three components:
- Traditional in-person, offline methods facilitated by an educator
- Online methods and learning materials, including pre-recorded material from an educator
- Independent study issued to build upon skills
While traditional education tends to mainly deliver material through lectures, blended learning lectures can be filmed ahead of time, so the student can watch on their own time at their own pace.
Examples of Blended Learning
One of the major benefits of blended learning is the ability to create an online resource within your LMS (learning management system) that learners can refer to before and after live training sessions.
Completing online learning activities before live training can help learners prepare, as such activities will introduce the content, and could include reference reading, watching videos or answering a pre-course questionnaire to assess the learner’s abilities.
Based off these activities, instructors can identify areas that need to be focused on during the classroom-based training session, or in other areas of the course, allowing the educator to tailor it to the learners’ needs.
This also ensures that learners will enter live training sessions with the same knowledge level on a topic, meaning that the instructor will not have to cover the basics, therefore saving time.
Learners can also complete exams or quizzes, and submit assignments for the course instructor to assess, aswell as being able to give feedback online via the course.
Additionally, online group chats can encourage learners to discuss the content of the course – forums are also a great way for learners to discuss any live sessions.