Wherever student meets technology, there exists a potential for learning. With the ability to access material from the web, mobile phones, tablet PCs, using media such as apps, podcasts, and video, educators can leverage these technologies to extend their teaching through multiple modes of information dispersal.
This mix of learning across a combination of media and devices is known as blended learning. With the right combination, an innovative learning experience can be designed to enable students to learn more effectively.
According to Larry Ragan , “Best Practices in Online Teaching”, a blended learning course’s aim (from a pedagogical perspective), is to combine the best of classroom face-to-face learning with online learning experiences, enabling:
- An increase is learning outcome measures and lowering of attrition rates vs. fully online courses (Dziuban, Hartman & Moskal, 2004).
- An opportunity for students to practice technology skills in navigating online course materials and possibility creating digital content for assignments.
- An increase in student-instructor and student-student interaction through the use of course-communication tools like, discussion forums.
- The ability to reserve face-to-face time for interactive activities, such as higher-level discussions, small group work, debates, demonstrations, or lab activities.
From a student perspective, the appeal of blended learning includes:
- Flexibility of schedule: learn any time, anywhere.
- Control: students have some level of control over the pacing of their learning. Difficult concepts can be reviewed as often as necessary.
- Convenience of an online class with many of the social aspects of a face-to-face class.
Blended learning gives learners and teachers a potential environment to achieve more, through a greater reach and accessibility of educational material.
Success in blended learning courses also relies on integrating digital content across the right combination of media delivery types to make learning more effective. It can help address learning issues like scaling, speed of delivery and impact, while utilizing e-learning material where required.
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