In the simplest manner Blended Learning can be defined as an approach where online education gets merged with the traditional face-to-face classroom learning. It involves interactive live sessions conducted between teachers and students with the use of technology.
Why has Blended Learning surpassed other learning methods?
Let us now take a look at the advantages of Blended Learning that makes it unique and the first choice of numerous learners around the globe.
- Flexibility: Gives a learner the opportunity to learn and upgrade without coinciding with their daily schedule
- Personalized Learning: Learners can decide while learning where to put more stress in order to develop areas that needs more attention. In order to do so they can also use learning aids beyond the study materials provided to them.
- Interactive: Learners can experience an interactive environment from the comfort of their home/work stations. Learners experience face-to-face learning with instant feedbacks from their trainers as well as ease and comfort at the same time.
- Hassle-free learning: No need to travel on regular basis. Learners can have doubt clearing sessions or communicate with their trainers instantly. Saves time and energy!
- E-Learning / Frontage to digitalization: Learners are introduced to digital platforms and gadgets or devices that drifts the process. This in turn makes them industry ready with sound knowledge in technology-based learning.
- Effective / Better learning experience: Blended learning ensures that the learner is well involved and is motoring his own learning so as to achieve his education goals.
What are the popular methods of Blended Learning?
Blended learning can actually have a number of combination of methods for studying. However categorically we can enlist them under the following heads.
- Rotation: Here learners rotate on a fixed schedule interchanging between learning methods. Learning methods here can include group activities, research, written / online assignments or self tutoring. This involves more of classroom learning.
This can be further classified into Station Rotation / Lab Rotation / Enriched Virtual / Flipped Classroom or Individual Rotation based on the process.
Station Rotation is common in elementary schools while Lab Rotation enables schools to make good use of existing computer labs.
In Enriched Virtual blended learning, the focus is more on completing online coursework while interacting with the teacher intermittently unlike Flipped classroom where teachers are available online daily.
- Flex: As the name suggests this involves more of flexible learning online or offline where the learner is free to decide on their schedule. The ratio of face-to- face learning VS online or offline learning is not pre-determined.
- A La Carte:This is when a learner chooses to take up an online mode of learning in support of an ongoing face-to-face classroom learning. This can be in order to develop a skill which needs more practice beyond the classroom learning.
- Virtual: This involves a scheduled face-to-face learning or classroom based, followed by an online course framework which can be completed over a due time period. Learners here need to attend the scheduled sessions and are free to complete the rest of the course at their discretion.
- Project Based: An activity-based learning method where learners gain insight into a topic by exploring real-life situations and solutions to it. This can also be categorized as inquiry-based learning.
- Self-Directed: As evident from the name, this method makes a learner to take complete charge and accelerate the learning process. Involves both online and face-to-face learning where the learner is the driving force behind completion of the program.
- Inside-Out: This method of learning often starts within the classroom and get accomplished outside the usual classroom. The learning pattern is ‘outward,’ and this method also involves both online and face-to-face learning. Project-Based blended learning is the best example of the Inside-Out model.
- Outside-In: This method can be considered the altered version of Inside – Out blended learning. Here the learning process starts outside the classroom but gets completed face-to-face. This method also involves both online and face-to-face learning.
- Supplemental: Here in this method only one mode of study is chosen by the learner. Either the program is done completely in online mode or done in in-class mode.
- Mastery-Based: This method is a combination of all the aspects of blended learning. It involves learning online as well as face-to-face, includes field work, outside learning as well as classroom learning.
Finally, to sum up we can surely say that whether it’s basic or a professional learning need, if we are committed towards our education, wish to upgrade and are serious about our career, the only way to get the better of time and opportunities available and to make the most out of it is through - Blended Education.