Blended learning is a perfect and delicate mix of online and face-to-face learning. The advantages of doing a hybrid class varies from logistics to instruction.
Listed are 5 learning benefits of conducting a blended class.
1. Strategic planning allows the teacher to give more time for discussions and high-order thinking activities during face-to-face interaction. The teacher may provide introductory videos or materials online, then go deeper into the topic during face-to-face meeting.
This may also allow the teacher to go shortly on the topic’s motivation and start immediately with an engaging discussion about the introductory concepts. In terms of assessment, the teacher could help the students remember the basic concepts through online quizzes and further build and test their higher thinking skills. For instance, I can create an online quiz that could help my students remember the basic rules of programming and different options in syntax, while I focus on building programs for solving problems during face-to-face meetings.
2.Online tools enable the teachers to personalize instruction for handling different paces/styles of learning. The online environment usually hosts various types of files. Uploading various types of materials from ebooks to vodcasts helps in personalizing learning, in the sense that the student could pick the best material that fits his/her learning style. Also, students learns at their own pace in an online environment. They can pause videos when they have to take notes. They can playback if something’s not clear. They can answer quizzes whenever they feel ready. Moreover, they can always assess themselves whenever necessary.
3. Multiple communication platforms give students more interaction opportunities with the teacher and other students. We should recognize that some of our students are not comfortable in speaking in a face-to-face meeting. Teachers commonly encounter few highly enthusiastic students, who can easily swallow all the class attention. This may unintentionally silence some of the students. But, teachers could gain better feedback by allowing various opportunities to connect with the teacher or other students. This also appeals to the different levels of intro/extroversion of students. Some students just prefer thinking through topics by themselves and let time give them the motivation to interact. Hence, asynchronous modes of interaction, such as forums, may help in encouraging introvert students to comfortably speak out his/her mind.
Of course, it is a totally different scenario, when the subject is about speech communication. (hehe.)
4. Collaborative learning is enhanced by allowing students to exchange and contribute resources in the online environment. Collaborative learning is very much emphasized these days. Web tools, such as blogging communities, peer evaluation systems, WIKI pages etc., allow collaboration of ideas whenever and wherever. This also strengthens the sense of community within learners, which leads on a much fulfilling learning experience. Community driven ideas may result to new resources and improved content. It is only in a blended learning environment, where everyone (teachers and students) is in control of learning.
5. Learning becomes more interesting and mobile through the internet and multiple delivery platforms. This helps in gaining the attention of 21st century learners. 21st century learners are fast-moving and information-driven learners. They want fast and interactive ways of finding solutions to their problems. It’s the “google search” mentality of finding answers. We, teachers, should accept the idea that the internet opened sources of information other than us. Hence, we should acknowledge these other sources of information to support the content we bring in a face-to-face meeting. Moreover, use the blended environment to gain more time for learning applications. This way, we are making learning more relevant and interesting to 21st century learners.