Blended learning seems to be a natural fruit of technology development. It is a mix of traditional on-campus classes and online interaction. Some students use BL tools on a daily basis even without teachers’ instructions. Since young people are active social media users, and almost each of them has a smartphone or a tablet, introducing blended elements into the educational system was just a matter of time.
Over recent years, educators have been combining face-to-face and online learning systematically. This approach allows schools and universities to keep up with time, provide information in a form which students like and perceive with ease. Numerous experiments resulted in inventing models involving different spaces, activities, and experiences. Experts from Pro-Papers have outlined the most effective strategies below.
Face-to-face driver model
This model is very helpful if learners in one class are at different knowledge levels. Everyone is free to study at one’s own pace. Online materials may be used only by those young people who need extra support or want to find out more information on topics they like.
With the traditional educational system, some students submit assignments ahead of schedule and feel bored when sitting with their arms folded at the end of a lesson. Electronic content may be processed faster at home. The remaining academic time may be spent on something useful, for example, performing more assignments or proceeding to the next topic. Class leaders do not limit their growth, get opportunities for constant self-development and challenges appropriate to their skills.
Young people struggling with complex concepts may study them more profoundly, work at their own pace, use additional resources to fill in knowledge gaps and boost practical skills. For example, if it is difficult for a person to grasp all information considered in a class, one may watch a video tutorial with detailed explanations, make a pause to take notes and comprehend some nuances. With a variety of digital resources, everyone is free to compile one’s own strategy promoting better learning and content memorizing.
This model is already classical in the academic world since educators have been using it for years. Online classes are a part of a general curriculum. On teacher’s discretion, some material is elaborated in a classroom, while other concepts are studied at home. This format is suitable for professors who are comfortable with the traditional on-campus lessons but want to keep up with time and take advantage of technology.
As a rule, practical experiments are conducted face-to-face, while lectures are organized using video conferencing tools. Also, students may be divided into groups based on their skill levels. Those who know some discipline well may study it at home, while persons requiring extra support should attend personal meetings with a teacher.
In this case, information is mainly transmitted through online channels. Young people undertake responsibility for their academic activity, become more self-sufficient and responsible. Teachers act as facilitators rather than strict observers. Students are required to submit all assignments on time and pass exams well, may consult educators on challenging topics, but nobody controls their everyday actions.
This model is especially successful in colleges and universities, because in contrast to schoolchildren, adult learners are more conscientious and motivated to study at home. Working people not able to attend on-campus lessons get a unique opportunity to balance labor and learning responsibilities. They may watch video lectures and do homework in the evening or on weekends when there is no need to get distracted from office routine.
Also, flex model provides safety for at-risk students finding it uncomfortable to study in a traditional classroom. For example, these may be minority representatives bullied by peers or kids from dysfunctional families whose parents cannot pay for a uniform and textbooks.
This model involves extracurricular activities in digital space. There is a basic course consisting of core disciplines considered on campus. But everyone is free to study additional subjects. For example, it is possible to learn multiple languages. Engineers may expand horizons by studying philosophy, psychology, art, literature, etc. Apart from good tech specialists, they would become erudite persons able to think outside the box and look at standard tasks from an unusual perspective.
Also, self-blended format is suitable for extramural students. Fully independent and highly motivated persons may study disciplines usually considered at the next courses in order to get a diploma faster.
Project-based blended learning
Project-based model is popular in traditional academic environments, but digital elements make it even more effective. Students use both face-to-face and online tools. Professors may provide holistic courses or allow young people to choose educational methodologies single-handedly.
Anyway, learning is not limited to imparting theoretical information to listeners as this happens at usual lectures. Students collaborate, consider real-life cases and hypothetical problems, seek answers to interesting questions, learn to develop and improve projects, create knowledge and not only absorb it.
Supplemental blended learning
A professor chooses the main educational format (no matter online or face-to-face). The second format is used to complement basic academic activities. For example, if a person does not keep up with professor’s quick dictation in a class, one may watch a video lecture and take notes. Similarly, if a learner fails to study some topic remotely, one may consult an educator on campus.