Not only does technology better engage students, but using it also encourages them to be well-versed in technology for their future careers. Blended learning provides an opportunity to insert technology into the modern classroom to encourage better learning outcomes, help school districts save money, and improve overall assessment of student learning.
What Is Blended Learning?
Blended learning is a mode of instruction in the high school and college level that replaces a portion, but not all, of the face-to-face instruction time with web-based online learning. In general, blended learning is a course or class where 30 to 70 percent of the classroom instruction is delivered online, rather than through the in-person classroom instruction.
What Does the Blended Learning Classroom Look Like?
What does the typical blended learning classroom look like? This question is difficult to answer, because each instructor and each school will tackle the blended learning approach differently. For some, the blended learning classroom will present most, if not all, new instruction through an online environment, then use the classroom to dig deeper into the hands-on learning and discussion. Others use the technology component to complement what is being presented in class in a traditional manner. Yet others are offering a mix of both options, giving students the opportunity to learn the way that is best suited for them.
The only factor that is present in all blended learning classrooms is the strong focus on technology and a blended learning software program that makes this combination possible. In order to implement technology effectively into the modern classroom, educators must redesign their educational processes to truly engrain technology into the educational framework of the classroom.
How Does Blended Learning Benefit Schools and Students?
Blended learning provides significant benefits, not only to students, but also to the schools that embrace this style of learning and teaching. Some of these benefits include:
- Increased efficiency. Incorporating technology and digital instruction into the classroom makes the classroom experience more efficient. Students can get more done in less classroom time and have instruction tailored to individual learning styles to improve the speed at which they grasp crucial concepts.
- Enhanced personalization. Ask any teacher and you will hear that one of the biggest challenges of the modern classroom is reaching a large number of diverse learners. Blended learning allows for more personalization, because students can work at their own pace and take the time to fully understand concepts before moving to the next concept.
- More accurate data collection. While teachers may hate testing and analytics, data on students is crucial to measure the success of teaching strategies. The technology-based instruction used in a blended learning classroom allows for automatic collection of data. The software programs measure progress of the entire class as well as individual students, and instructors can use that data to tweak the in-classroom experience.
- Greater digital fluency. Common Core State Standards state a goal of creating students and learners with a high level of digital fluency. Integrating technology into different areas of the academic experience makes this happen naturally, and blended learning does just that.
- Better cost effectiveness. Online textbooks, adaptive learning software that takes the place of adaptive learning products, and access to top-notch educators via online learning experiences can lower the overall cost of instruction, particularly if the students are required to bring their own digital devices, which is often the case in a university or college classroom.
- Improved student outcomes. While blended learning studies are still in their infancy, early research has shown better student outcomes when students participate in both online and classroom-based learning in a blended environment.
In light of the technology available to the modern educator, it makes sense for today’s teachers and administrators to re-think the classroom environment. Through blended learning, technology can come to the forefront of the modern classroom to make it an effective place where learners of most styles can thrive.