Blended learning is a style of education in which students learn via electronic and online media as well as traditional face-to-face teaching. It is a method of teaching that integrates technology and digital media with traditional instructor-led classroom activities, giving students more flexibility to customize their learning experiences. Blended learning provides students with the tools they need to become autonomous learners and prepare themselves for a lifelong education and a successful future.
As schools adapted to the biggest enforced changes in living memory, the question which comes to everybody’s mind is blended learning the answer i.e. whether blended learning is the future? Research says blended learning is the most engaging and effective model for student engagement and success.
The world is a classroom for students
It is important to note that with blended learning, the content of education changes as much as the mode of communication through which it is conveyed. With mobile devices that can quite literally let students’ carry their classroom in their pocket and the vastness of the Internet as an alternative to textbooks, Blended learning teaches students three key lessons:
- It is impossible to memorize all of the available human knowledge, so education is no longer about memorizing facts and answering test questions, but about applying knowledge to real-life situations and knowing where to find reliable information.
- The teacher may not have all the answers: teachers in a blended learning environment are there to provide guidance and support, act as discussion moderators, and give direction and feedback to student projects, but are no longer the only source of knowledge.
- School is not the only place where they can learn, nor will they stop learning once they have graduated: educating oneself is a continuous process that follows one everywhere.
That is why blended learning is the ideal way to prepare students for a world where knowledge is not a fixed set of facts one can easily divide into self-contained subjects, but a constantly increasing, self-updating, interconnected whole that requires a high degree of independence, flexibility, and willingness to learn and improve well beyond one’s school years, as well as the IT skills that modern life is making as necessary as basic literacy in order to be a productive member of society.
Let us see how blended learning has become the crying need for the educational institutions:
Keeps students focused for longer: The use of computers to look up information & data is a tremendous lifesaver, combined with access to resources such as the internet to conduct research. This engagement and interaction with the resources keeps students focused for longer periods than they would be with books or paper resources. This engagement also helps develop learning through exploration and research.
Differential Learning can be followed: Learner’s needs and circumstances are different for each individual, hence teaching methods should also be different. But with the incremental size of the class, it becomes difficult for teachers to cater to the needs of each individual. By using technology, a teacher can provide different learning aids as per the needs of individual students. Teacher can share videos, images, worksheets, links, audio etc. as per the student’s requirements which can be retrieved at a later stage by the students whenever they feel the need to go through the important topics. Thus technology makes storing information and retrieving it much easier for the students as well as teachers. Teachers can also provide more scaffolding to the students needing additional support to get them on the same level where others are. This will maintain the pace in the classroom and provide the required assistance to the students.
Prepares students for the future: Blended learning offers a multitude of real-world skills that directly translate into life skills such as: Research skills, Self-learning, Self-engagement, Helps to develop a ‘self-driving force’, Better decision making, Offers a larger sense of responsibility and Computer literacy.
Instills self advocacy in students: The use of e- learning material increases students’ ability to set appropriate learning goals and take charge of their learning. Students become self-driven and responsible, tracking their individual achievements which help them develop the ability to find the resources or get the help they need.
All students no matter their age learn differently and teaching methods should reflect this, by designing teaching programs in a way that reaches visual, auditory, and kinetic learners alike. With integration of technology, we are able to improve teaching, information retention, engagement, responsibility and enjoyment. Students never outgrow their learning styles, meaning blended learning is more important than ever, no matter what the industry is, from schools to corporations, from all walks of life.