Customize student workloads, meet diverse learning abilities, and support students at home or in the classroom: these are just a few of the things that a blended learning approach enables you to accomplish. As a teacher, you must effectively address a range of learning styles in a variety of settings and situations. Blended learning can help personalize education for each of the unique students you teach, while making lessons more effective.
If you’re like most teachers, your students are already doing some form of blended learning (for example, by using a computer to complete an assignment), so they’ve already been introduced to the concept of blended learning. Many of your students are probably also familiar with tablets, smartphones, and other forms of technology, which they may be using for non-school purposes. By bringing these tools into an educational setting (whether in the classroom, a hybrid setting, or distance learning) it’s possible these students can learn even more effectively.
What Is Blended Learning?
Blended learning is an educational methodology that blends online or digital components with face-to-face instruction. Including technology in education helps set students up for success later in life, because computers and other connected devices are so integral to communication and business today. When students learn in a blended learning setting, they do more than master the subject they’re learning; they also master the use of technology.
In-person instruction from a teacher is essential to the blended learning approach. Developing listening skills in addition to visual and kinesthetic skills is important for student development.
What Is the Purpose of Blended Learning?
By making in-person and online learning complementary, blended learning creates a truly integrated classroom where the needs of all types of learners can be met. Keeping students engaged, stimulated, and motivated also helps teachers to be more effective and make greater gains with their students.
Allowing learners of all abilities the opportunity to advance their studies at the rate that works for them, blended learning enables fast learners to advance more quickly, while struggling students can move at their own pace and get customized support where they’re stuck. In a traditional classroom learning environment where all students are trained at the same level and speed, gifted students can easily get bored and students who need extra help can be left behind. Because blended learning is scalable, instruction remains effective every step of the way, setting all your students up for success as they acquire the 21st century skills they need to shine.
With digitally delivered resources from Learning A-Z, students can access an enormous library of developmentally appropriate learning materials anywhere they have an internet connection or access to a mobile device. That means students can keep learning on school vacation, on weekends, wherever they are, as much as they want. Caregivers can help their children learn at home, too.
What Are the Different Types of Blended Learning?
You can practice blended learning in an infinite number of ways! The options are endless. You know your students best, so you can customize the content, technology, and instruction methods you use based on what’s best for each of your students. You can introduce new methods, try different blended learning styles, and tweak how you’re using blended learning to continually make education more effective for your students.
Here are few blended learning tools to start building your toolbox:
- Assign online coursework and have students complete and submit their assignments online, all based on your in-person instruction.
- Utilize learning management systems that students and teachers can easily access anytime.
- Engage students in online instruction, often through video instruction, with flexible face-to-face support in the classroom.
- Try station rotation with online learning stations set up in the classroom.
- Project-based online learning can culminate in classroom discussions and enhanced activities.
- Support computer lab instruction with in-person instruction.
- In-class digital learning response systems enable teachers to respond to student work in real time.
- Through online coursework completion with video recordings, teachers can effectively evaluate student performance remotely.
Some instructors may guide a classroom of students sitting at computers or using tablets through the assignments they’ll complete on their devices. Other blended learning educators may teach a lesson in person, then send an assignment online, which students complete and submit digitally. In some classrooms, teachers upload lectures online for students to watch at home; back in class, students complete exercises based on the lecture, with the teacher’s supervision.
As you can see, blended learning takes endless forms and can be customized for any learning method. What you choose to pursue in your own classroom will depend in part on the technology available at your school and the devices your students have access to at home.
Who Benefits From Blended Learning?
Blended learning benefits both students and teachers. Because all students live in a technology-driven world, blended learning can be helpful to every student. Mobile access means teachers can easily schedule assignments, score student submissions, and track student progress through an online teacher management hub, day or night. Blended learning helps teachers stay organized and connect in more meaningful ways with their students. Blended learning is also flexible: blended learning methods can be integrated into almost any classroom.
How Do I Get Started with Blended Learning?
- Think about what type of blended learning method you want to use. Blended learning requires complementary online and in-person learning.
- Ensure that all your students have the technology they’ll need. If students don’t have access to computers or mobile devices at home, consider bringing technology into the classroom.
- Make sure students know how to use the technology required. Set up sample lessons in the classroom so you can supervise. If you’re using blended learning at home, provide guidance.
- Test one method first to gauge its effectiveness. As your students have different learning styles, they also have varying levels of experience with technology. Experiment with your methods to see what resonates with your students.