Definition of blended learning

Blended learning is an English term that has been used since 2005 to describe a particular educational vision.  It can be defined in different ways, as noted by Oliver & Trigwell in 2015:

  • the integrated combination of traditional learning with web-based online approaches;
  • the combination of media and tools employed in an e-learning environment;
  • the combination of a number of pedagogic approaches, irrespective of learning technology use

The glossary of education reform states that the term blended learning – also called hybrid learning or mixed-mode learning – is generally applied to the practice of using both online and in-person learning experiences when teaching students. In a blended-learning course, for example, students might attend a class taught by a teacher in a traditional classroom setting, while also independently completing online components of the course outside of the classroom. In this case, in-class time may be either replaced or supplemented by online learning experiences, and students would learn about the same topics online as they do in class—i.e., the online and in-person learning experiences would parallel and complement one another.

This is just one example. Blended-learning experiences may vary widely in design and execution from school to school. It offers many potential advantages and disadvantages that will largely depend on the quality of the design and execution of a given blended-learning model.

Effects of blended learning

There is a lot of literature and studies on the effect of blended learning, but it all depends on the effect and implementation of a specific design. The teacher of lecturer remains an important factor in the design and can not be replaced by any technology. Technology should be a tool and not an end in itself.

Generally, research has found that blended learning results in improvement in student success and satisfaction as well as an improvement in students’ sense of community when compared with face-to-face courses (Dziuban, Graham and Moskal, 2018).

Blended learning is being recognised as a solution to the perceived weaknesses in both traditional learning and e-learning.   It represents a real opportunity to create learning experiences that can provide the right learning at the right time, in the right place and at the right level, for each and every individual, not just at work, but in schools, and universities. It can also be truly universal, crossing global boundaries and bringing groups of learners together through different cultures and time zones. In this context blended learning could become one of the most significant developments of the 21st century. (Hassana and Woodcock, 2014)

We can therefor conclude that without any doubt modern and attractive learning is blended learning.

Here is a nice video to illustrate the definition and models of blended learning

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3xMqJmMcME0?rel=0&start=29&w=560&h=315]

SOURCES & FURTHER READING

  • Oliver & Trigwell in 2015: Can ‘Blended Learning’ Be Redeemed? – here
  • Glossary of Education reform Blended learning – here
  • Dziuban, Graham and Moskal, 2018: Blended learning: the new normal and emerging technologies – here
  • Hassana & Woodcock, 2014: Blended learning: Issues and Concerns  – here