Blended learning is currently being touted as one of the best new teaching methods around, but what does it actually mean? The most commonly used definition is a formal education program in which a student learns, at least in part, through online delivery of content and instruction, with some element of student control over time, place, path and pace. So it is basically a mix of online and offline learning where the student has some control. travelguidebook There is no getting around the fact that blended learning is grabbing headlines and taking the teaching profession by storm. But just how effective is blended learning?
Blended learning is redefining the way classrooms are used and how teachers interact with students. With a huge amount of different ways in which it can be implemented, it is no surprise to find that it can sometimes be hard to get solid results on how effective blended learning is. One thing that is certain, though, is that there is no stopping it happening, as students are more and more inclined to use technology in their everyday lives. This means that teachers will have to adapt to engage with students and to take advantage of the huge potential of what technology can offer. One example of blended learning I particularly like is an example in Cape Town, South Africa, where the teacher used Xbox’s Kinect Sports in a maths lesson. Now you may be thinking ‘how does any of that have any relevance to maths?’ Well, the main focus of the lesson was teach concepts such as time and distance, so students had to work out distances of different events and then the times it took to do each one. It also had the added benefit of physical exercise and was lots of fun. Not bad for a math lesson.
The important question is does this teaching method work? The answer is a difficult one but ultimately it won’t work for everyone. A class is full of different learning types, from auditory and visual and kinetic learners, and they will all react differently to different teaching methods. But don’t see this as a downside. See this as a benefit, because blended learning has the opportunity to reach out to many more different learners than the more traditional teaching methods would. So although it may not work for every student, the vast majority will benefit as blended learning takes in so many more different learning styles than more traditional teaching methods ever did.
Overall I think it is fair to say that we are still in the early stages and that there is still a lot to learn. Importantly though, as blended learning becomes more common schools and teachers will be more likely to understand it and to implement it better. Blended learning is already showing its huge potential.
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