“Teaching needs to be evolved. If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow.”- John Dewey
Adapting and changing the way we teach today’s generation is the need of the hour. Blended learning could be a much-needed shift. In the rapidly changing technological landscape, blended learning, the integration of teaching and technology, could pioneer a novel path of edutainment.
Blended learning is a type of education method, where the use of online tools, educational games, videos are combined with traditional classroom education. But blended learning is much more than just adding computers to classrooms. It is a fundamental change in the way teachers and students approach the learning experience. It an opportunity to enjoy the best of both the worlds, e-learning as well as traditional education.
For example, the student might take up classroom education for understanding the concepts, and supplement the lesson plans by completing multimedia coursework. In such a scenario, the student might have to physically attend the class only once in a week and would be free to complete the lesson plan at their own pace. This implements the feature of personalized learning in traditional education, and, thereby making learning educative and enjoyable.
Blended learning generally has three primary components:
- Classroom education: The activities conducted by a trained educator in the classroom environment.
- Online learning materials: The educational apps for students, educational games, pre-recorded lectures or educational videos are a few types of learning materials that could be used in blended learning.
- Independent study time: The study time is needed for the students to analyze the lessons they learned in the classroom, and to self-learn using online material.
Blended learning is also known as hybrid teaching, mixed teaching or interactive teaching.
How blended learning can improve teaching?
Blended learning keeps things interesting with numerous engaging variables such as graphical content, illustration, technology, educational apps, educational games, and online quizzes, etc.
- Diagnostics: In blended learning, e-learning apps could share the information with everyone involved in promoting the student’s growth. The type of real-time update about the students’ performance helps in understanding the need of the students, and, thereby improve the teaching.
- Analytics: A few educational apps allow teachers to assign math games as homework. The teachers can review the achievement dashboard too. This kind of shift from the printed curriculum to digital curriculum helps the teachers assess and monitor students’ progress
- Extended reach: With the aid of online learning, the teachers can reach out to more number of students compared to traditional classroom education.
- Dynamic Scheduling: The dynamic scheduling in the e-learning apps determine the right lesson, the right day for each student who is moving at their own pace. Blended learning also offers the students, teachers, and parents to stay updated about the students’ performance.
- Focus on higher-order skills: In an instance where the students spend about two hours each day building their skills online through educational apps for students, the teachers could spend time on critical thinking and problem-solving.
Advantages of blended learning to students:
- Increases student interest: Technology is evolving. The world of smartphones and tablets is widespread, interesting, and affordable. When technology is blended with school lessons, students would be more interested in it. The opportunity to explore the subjects and learn them through the various multimedia platform can keep the students excited about learning and hence increase the information retention rate.
- Increase in focus: Learning from books or paper resources for a longer period of time could be monotonous for the students, whereas studying through exploration and researching could be fascinating. In blended learning, the students are presented with an opportunity to conduct research and explore the subjects.
- Student autonomy: The e-learning apps or other online educational materials offer personalized learning. It helps the student to set appropriate learning goals and be in charge of their own learning. The blended learning encourages the students to be self-driven and responsible.
- Instant diagnostic information and student feedback: The best e-learning apps could offer the ability to rapidly analyze, review and immediately give feedback to the students. This allows the teachers to tailor his/her teaching in a way that could suit the students’ needs.
- Personalized learning: Blended learning is known to offer the advantage of flexibility along with face-to-face teaching, which neither traditional education nor the purely online education could offer. In blended learning, the students can study at their own pace.
- Prepares the students for the future: Blended learning teaches a multitude of real-world skills such as research skills, self-learning, self-engagement, etc.
Students, irrespective of their age, learn differently, and the teaching methods should be able to reflect this. In blended learning, the blend of technology and teaching can improve teaching, information retention, engagement, and entertainment. Hence, in all walks of life, blended learning could be an important method of learning.