From Hybrid to Blended Learning: Using Tech to Improve Students’ Experience
Blended learning is not a new phenomenon, as many teachers knew it even before the pandemic. There were several instances of teachers trying to integrate the model into their classroom teaching. For example, some teachers were using digital tools and web-based resources in their pedagogy and curriculum.
Nevertheless, blended learning never seemed like a necessity for different levels of learning. But, recent developments in educational technology have inspired changes. Additionally, the pandemic has forced teachers to use this model in the past 18 months. As a result, experts argue that the education system will not go back to what it used to be.
What’s The Difference between Hybrid Learning and Blended Learning?
Many schools adopted a hybrid learning model in response to the pandemic. But, many people have often confused hybrid learning and blended learning because both use educational technology to work effectively.
What Is Hybrid Learning?
Hybrid learning is a learning approach in which some learners attend class in-person while others join the class virtually from home. In this model, the teachers teach in-person and remote students simultaneously using educational technology tools like video conferencing.
In other instances, hybrid learning entails asynchronous learning. Here, the learning involves elements such as online exercises and pre-recorded video instructions to support in-person classroom sessions. Well-structured hybrid classes usually combine the best online and in-person learning elements, even as it makes education more accessible to many learners.
If you have attempted to learn Spanish online, you must have encountered this learning model. Some websites provide Spanish tutors for beginners who use various approaches to make your learning experience unmatched.
What Is Blended Learning?
Blended learning is an educational approach that amalgamates online educational materials and opportunities for interaction online with standard location-based classroom approaches. This learning approach requires the physical presence of the learner and the teacher. Additionally, it entails some elements of student control over place and time.
However, since blended learning depends on circumstances, there is no universal, all-inclusive definition. For instance, in cases of eLearning, the location-based classroom methods can be replaced by webinars making the learning process more convenient and personalized.
As a result, experts claim that blended learning fosters personalization of the eLearning process by integrating the best features of in-person learning and eLearning methods. For example, it broadens the learner’s experience by encouraging anytime, anywhere learning, redefining the tutor’s role.
When you apply blended learning to eLearning, it is circumstance based but involves the following:
- Part of the learning takes place online. Here, the student manages the pace at which they learn.
- The other portion is instructor-led learning. This part is conducted through webinars allowing learners to engage remotely.
In the end, blended learning creates a platform for online and instructor-led learning to complement each other in an integrated learning environment.
Why Blended Learning?
The benefits associated with blended learning have inspired the shift towards blended learning. This learning approach has also benefited significantly from educational, technological innovations.
Here are some notable benefits of blended learning for learners and teaching organizations:
- Blended learning offers the learners a flexible and convenient learning environment. For example, it allows learners to control their learning pace and lets them attend classes remotely.
- According to studies, blended learning allows learners to get a more wide-ranging understanding of the course content.
- It also supports social learning as it leaves room for learners to interact with teachers and fellow learners.
- Blended learning helps to reduce the costs associated with face-to-face learning. For example, students learning Spanish online don’t have to worry about accommodation and travel costs.
- Teachers have more teaching tools to choose from. For instance, they can take advantage of eLearning methods such as gamification and webinars to make their classes more effective.
- It is easier to track students that have not completed their training.
Some Drawbacks to Avoid When Using Blended Learning
Most learning institutions have embraced blended learning during the pandemic. Studies have confirmed that most of these institutions will continue using this learning method in the future.
However, there are some drawbacks they should be aware of going forward:
- The most significant challenge institutions should avoid is investing in a Learning Management System that does not meet their needs.
- They should also remember that courses that run flawlessly in in-person classrooms might not automatically work in an online learning environment.
- If you are switching from exclusively face-to-face learning, you should take your time when introducing blended learning into your learning. Start slow and assess your strengths and weaknesses as you grow. It is also essential to give your learners time to adjust to the new way of learning.
Technologies and Tools Used In Blended Learning
When planning your blended learning program, there are various technologies you should consider. They include:
- Simulations, virtual worlds, and games
- Social bookmarking
- Digital storytelling
- Blogs and Wikis
- Digital Textbooks
- Web Conferencing
The critical thing to remember is that blended learning utilizes the strengths of traditional and online learning approaches to give learners a more immersive experience.