How to Make Blended Learning Programs Succeed

Association of Educators
February 17, 2014 — 855 views  

Blended learning programs are shaping into the Holy Grail of academic learning principles. With a growing number of institutions already regarding it as the next big thing in moving forward towards academic growth, has your institution looked into using blended learning programs yet? If not, you better get started.

What is Blended Learning?

The blended learning technique combines traditional teaching methods with those of a virtual classroom.  The changing educational system no doubt calls for advanced online learning techniques, but this does not mean we send our traditional classrooms packing. They are equally crucial in making education a wholesome experience. Teachers, in fact, should be actively taking part in designing these online programs, so the teaching tips are up to mark. Blended learning is often referred to as a “flipped classroom”, as it reverses the student's academic role at home and the classroom, by doing the studying at home and homework at school.

Pros and Cons of Blended Learning Programs

Blended learning gives students access to a wide range of content, across different platforms like text, video, photo, simulations and such. It is a lot more organized, due to tracking programs and feedback sessions that are employed. While these benefits come from the online classroom medium, a mix of conventional classroom brings in its fair share of benefits, too. Teachers, unlike computers, can pinpoint where exactly a student has gone wrong, rather than just saying their answer to a question is incorrect. Besides, we thrive on building relationships as humans, so it’s hard to manage interacting with a virtual teacher alone.

A blended learning program could go the wrong way if it isn't designed well. It could easily go downhill if the online curriculum is set up merely as a bunch of power points or recorded lectures without giving the teaching tips an appropriate flow. Another disadvantage is that these programs mean additional work for teachers as they have to juggle between traditional class lectures and designing online curriculum, which can get tedious.

How to Align your Blended Learning Programs to your Common Core Standards

  • Make the initial class one be face-to-face. This initial interaction can set the pace in terms of what is expected of the student, and that they're accountable to a real person, throughout the course.
  • When it comes to assessments, make sure they're in real-time, along with giving them a choice of online or face-to-face options. With big assessments, you can arrange for a lab where students can gather, or reserve a certain time frame for it.
  • While activities such as attending online lectures, reviewing tests, ongoing threads and feedback can occur asynchronously through the day, it’s a good idea to set a certain time frame where there can be a real-time interaction between the student and the teacher. This can be used to discuss the student's performance, and to see if they're being accountable.
  • Make discussion forums an integral part of your program so it will aid your content delivery system. Get any virtual meet tools you can on board.
  • Don't go overboard with the number of students you include, as this could affect the quality and individualization.

Association of Educators