What is blended learning?
Jisc locate blended learning in the mix of possible learning modes:
e-Learning can be defined as 'learning facilitated and supported through the use of information and communications technology'. It can cover a spectrum of activities from the use of technology to support learning as part of a ‘blended’ approach (a combination of traditional and e-learning approaches), to learning that is delivered entirely online. Whatever the technology, however, learning is the vital element.
Jisc e-learning definition from http://www.jisc.ac.uk/elearning
How does it work?
Success factors for blended learning have been well researched in a Higher Education Academy Review (Sharp et al 2006) and followed up in a number of subsequent publications including the ‘Rethinking pedagogy in a digital age’ (Beetham et al 2007), as well as subsequent presentations.
Key success factors
- Use the term blended learning
- Work with and within your own context
- Use blended learning as a driver for transformative course design - University of Glamorgan have a great model (Jones & Lau 2010)
- Help students develop their conceptions of the learning process (see JISC digital student work)
- Disseminate and communicate results of evaluations; network.
Blended learning has some key advantages, in that it offers tutors the opportunity to engage students in a variety of ways, thus enhancing the learning of all.
What is the value?
The Australian Blended Learning Conference in 2015 highlighted some key themes and showcased exemplary practice:
- Up-skilling and transforming teacher mindset to allow technology to enhance rather than replace their practice
- Improving communication between academics and educational developers to better understand and utilise existing resources and technology to its full potential
- Discovering the right balance of blended learning to improve student engagement and reduce cost
- The effectiveness of flipped classrooms, learning analytics, e-learning and mobile learning in increasing student engagement.
What are the challenges?
Staff: Teaching a hybrid course can be challenging, since it requires acquiring different teaching skills, redesigning a course to take into account new teaching and learning opportunities, managing the course content both online and in-class, and preparing students to work in a hybrid format.
Students: Negative feelings towards technology-assisted learning in the form of online classes, or partially online classes, tend to be generated by poorly designed courses. It takes a great deal of thought and careful planning to deliver a quality learning experience regardless of the mode of delivery.
See the Learning Technology Center, Hybrid Courses, UW-Milwaukee Learning Technology Center website for further information.
We need to share the responsibility of helping our learners learn in all of the different possible formats/contexts.
Bournemouth University Centre for Fusion Learning, Innovation and Excellence 2016
- Beetham Н, S., 2007. R. Rethinking Pedagogy for а Digital Age.
- Jisc Curriculum development
- Jones, N. & Lau, A. (2010) Blended Learning: widening participation in higher education, Innovations in Educational & Training International, 47(4),405-416
- Sharpe, R et al (2006) The undergraduate experience of blended e-learning: a review of UK literature and practice. Higher Education Academy: York
- Skild Rickard (2015)