Blended Learning is Not an Option Anymore
Blended learning is no longer optional for education today. It’s required.
The factory model upon which educational processes were founded during the industrial age has long ago faded from the workplace, so it makes sense that factory-style education should disappear from schools as well. Modern technology has changed the way we think about work and how we perform our jobs. This same technology has changed education for the better.
Blended learning has taken the place of factory-style education. This new educational model combines traditional face-to-face education with online learning opportunities in the form of e-courses and collaborative projects with peers and subject matter experts.
Advocates of blended learning say that it is less restrictive, more authentic, and offers greater flexibility.
Lending learning allows students to take advantage of their learning preferences. In traditional instructional environments, teachers taught a class of twenty-five students. The children sat in rows, and the teacher lectured when the start bell rang and stopped when the dismissal bell rang. Learning often stopped long before the second bell because students were expected to be passive consumers.
Not surprisingly, teachers had discipline problems.
Blended learning allows students to take responsibility for their education far beyond the classroom walls and bell schedules, anytime, anywhere.
Blended learning requires seamless technology integration. Technology serves as a versatile tool that helps students learn new material or reinforce what they have just learned.
Technology has permeated students’ lives outside the classroom, and it’s only natural that it would do so inside the classroom as well. Blended learning gives students the opportunity to take responsibility for their learning, and it provides more natural segues from subject to subject.
Students can engage in authentic discussions that have more substance and depth because they take responsibility for their own learning as they progress along personalized learning paths.
Students have many needs. In a single classroom, a teacher may need to provide differentiated instruction for ESL students, a child with Aspergerger’s Syndrome, special needs children who learn differently, and someone with acute asthma. Teachers must make sure they meet the individualized requirements outlined in IEPs and in high school graduation plans. Trying to teach to every level in the classroom can be nearly impossible for even expert-level teachers.
Blended learning, however, makes it possible for teachers to assist their students in orchestrating lessons that meet every need; blended learning addresses differentiation in a way that even the best teachers cannot.
There’s no one way to provide a blended learning experience. Blended learning requires the integration of multiple technology tools designed to meet specific instruction needs as well as acceptance that learning can occur in many forms beyond the school day.