If you work in the field of education, chances are you were hearing a lot about blended learning long before the COVID-19 pandemic left students and educators stuck at home for
the foreseeable future.
Now is the time to take advantage of the golden age of blended learning by finding out how it can be used in your classroom – so read on for our guide to why blended learning could be the future of education.
What is Blended Learning?
Blended learning has been a rising topic among educators over the past decade. It has changed how the learning environment looks in many settings; from university lecture halls to corporate training retreats.
Essentially, blended learning is the marriage of traditional face-to-face teaching with online methods. There is no perfect balance to be found between the two, and neither is presumed to be superior to the other. However, blended learning is commonly associated with these key benefits.
- Students have fundamentally different learning styles. Blended learning allows students to learn differently depending on which method is best for them.
- Gamification and other engagement tools offer useful data for instructors. This data can be used to give educators better insights into their student’s performance. This means that knowledge gaps among large groups can be identified easier, leading to better-designed courses and teaching methods.
- In-person learning can be costly. Blended learning can mean that the majority of a corporate training program takes place online, saving money on travel, accommodation, and time lost from the workday.
There are six key models of blended learning that are commonly used in today’s educational environment. These are face-to-face, rotation, flex, online lab, self-blend, and online driver models.
Flipped learning is a part of the rotation mode, and has become one of the most popular methods today. A “flipped” classroom is where students learn what they would normally learn in a lecture-style class online first. They are expected to bring their knowledge to the class, then reinforce and apply it through group discussion and activities that are run by the educator.
If you are considering implementing blended learning into your online course or corporate training, you will likely be able to find cases where other educators in your niche have already done this successfully.
Challenges in Blended Learning
Even with the optimism surrounding the blended learning movement, there are still serious obstacles to consider.
When you are introducing blending learning for the first time, it can represent a large time and financial investment for the instructor and administration. Just like many professors experienced as the onset of COVID-19 kept their students at home, putting together hours worth of pre-recorded lectures can seem like an enormous task.
However, the benefit comes once the front-end work has been completed. Once you have created a bank of learning content, it frees up more time in the long run. This is why online courses have become such a popular method of making money online in recent years since a well-made online course is considered passive income once the initial work is done.
How to Implement Blended Learning
If you are an educator, then there is a good chance that you are already using some form of blended learning. But, if you are looking to take your first steps to bring more of your classroom experience online, here are some actions that you can take.
Find the Perfect Online Learning Tool
Blended learning is only as effective as the tool that you use to bring your classroom online, and this means that you will have to find the right Learning Management System (LMS), and use it in tandem with other applications.
We recently released an article covering our Top 5 Online Teaching Platforms, which features some effective “whiteboarding”, gamification, and workspace tools. When looking for the right tools, look out for tools that adapt to different student abilities, meaning they are just as effective for “advanced” students, as they are for those who are lagging behind.
Also, keep in mind that blended learning is heavily promoted for high school and post-secondary education, where there are large class sizes with students of varying abilities. In contrast, if you are running an intermediate Spanish language course where most of your students have similar skills, you might not need the in-depth tools that some LMS’s have.
If you are confident with your existing curriculum, a tool like DaDesktop might be better for you. DaDesktop is all about simplicity – with limited set up and ease of sharing courses between platforms. Since it is a remote learning-focused platform, the screen-sharing and breakout room functions are optimized for both you and your student’s experience.
Introduce Game-Based Learning
Games are one of the most effective ways to improve information retention and engagement with students. Tools like Kahoot and Quizlet have become popular for this reason, and they are extremely easy to use for the first time.
You can create class-wide competitions with real rewards, whether this means better grades or something as inexpensive as a Starbucks gift card. Just remember, gamification works best when it builds on your student’s intrinsic motivation, instead of purely extrinsic factors like over-the-top rewards.
The Future of Blended Education
Now that you know the basics of blended learning, we hope you realize that the question you should be asking isn’t “how can I implement blended learning into my classroom”, but instead “how can I make my classroom work for blended learning”.
Learning in the online world is the future of education, and you should be designing your curriculum to work online first – then take advantage of the benefits of in-person instruction. If you don’t think about education from this perspective, you risk getting left in the dust.
Remote learning is evolving every day. Stay tuned for the next edition of the DaDesktop blog to learn more about how to optimize your remote learning experience.
With unlimited slide and screen sharing, breakout rooms, and text communication, DaDesktop takes care of an educator’s largest needs. On top of that, setup is painless and you can access an extensive library of video tutorials and resources to take full advantage of the platform.
- Built-in video, audio, group texting, notifications, screen sharing, breakout rooms and more!
- The ULTIMATE in long distance remote classroom instruction!
- NO TECHNICAL KNOWLEDGE NEEDED!
- Record your classroom for review or to share later!
- Add as many instructors as you want for your live teaching sessions!
- FREE Unlimited course storage. Set it and forget it!
- Set up in minutes, not hours or days.
- ABSOLUTELY FREE set up. Pay ONLY when you use our system for live teaching/training!
- One machine, unlimited users and students!
- Create up to 10 break out rooms for individual group learning or tutoring!
- Upload and control any curriculum with the click of a button!
- Connect with your entire classroom whether remote or in person, no limits!
- Reach students across the globe to any learning base on any type of computer!
- Connect with seamless precision, no down time and no lag time!
- Lecture and ask/answer questions in real time via chat or video!
- Pricing that beats the competition!
- Also great for “blended” teaching environments. Teaching both in person and online simultaneously!