BLENDED LEARNING

Blended or Hybrid Learning method  usually is defined as  the strategic combination of in-person or face to face and virtual or electronic learning methods (Jackson, 2014).

Technological advances have brought us  new horizons of lives and has changed the  lifestyle of individuals especially  for new generations. From educational  view, teaching from a teacher-centered and product-based activity has shifted to a  student-centered, process-based activity by implementing new electronic approaches. This strategy inspires students to be active instead of being passive learners (Makhdoom et al, 2013). According to Ford (as cited in Makhdoom et al, 2013) “integrating teaching, learning and technology are a mandate, not an option and doing any less would border in professional irresponsibility (p. 13).

Related research results show that  both in the medical and non-medical fields, students are satisfied with e-learning, however, they do not believe that e-learning  could be replacing traditional instructor-led teaching, but as a counterpart, forming part of a blended learning strategy. Besides, it was found that this strategy would be effective  to enhance learning, information spreading, creation of learners’ communities and networking as well as to support learners in choosing the ideal content (Makhdoom et al, 2013). In fact, this approach has created a new paradigm in education and has provided the opportunity of learning in anything, for everyone, anytime and everywhere  in an everlasting manner.

References:
Dreambox Learning Inc.(2014).Blended Learning Innovations: 10 Major Trends. Retrieved January 14, 2015, from file:///C:/Users/HP/Downloads/wp_blended_learning_innovations.pdf
Jackson, B. (2014, November 6). TNTP re -imagine teaching [Web log post). Retrieved January 14, 2015, from http://tntp.org/blog/post/what-blended-learning-really-means-for-teachers
Makhdoom, N., Khoshhal, K., Algaidi, S., Heissam, K., & Zolaly, M. (2013). ‘Blended learning’ as an effective teaching and learning strategy in clinical medicine: A comparative cross-sectional university-based study. Journal of Taibah University Medical Sciences, 8 (1), 12-17.

What are the trends in Blended Learning?images

Undoubtedly, technology has spread everywhere  and every time in our life. We  can no longer ignore it and must to welcome it into our learning activities. There are strong evidence that replacing traditional teacher-centered methods like lecturing, memorization and repetition by student-centered active learning strategies, improves learning, supports knowledge retention and raises achievement. It’s clear that the  ultimate goal of current advances and improvements in student-centered blended learning is to arrange students for achievement in a rapidly growing, globalized world which has determined by information technology. (Dreambox Learning, 2014)

The followings list some of  the major trends in blended learning environments:

-Establishing an actual student-centered learning experience

The collaboration between students and educators allows  a deep and an active learning experience. Instead of lecturing, educators focus on individualized learning requirements of each student by the use of various technology techniques. In this regard, each student has certain needs and backgrounds and educators try to motivate students to meet  their learning goals.

-Increasing numbers of Electronic –based learners

There is an estimation that shows the  users of online classes have  increased to 10 million up to 2014. Interestingly, these numbers will soar considerably with the proliferation of free

e-learning classes such as Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Many from high ranking universities in the world like MIT and Michigan are pioneers to offer these courses.

Improvement of  Higher- Order Thinking abilities

In this regard, students in each area of study require to demonstrate  deep understanding of core standards. Also, their progression should be followed by educators. Based on Bloom’s cognitive classification, students will progress from lower-order thinking skills, remembering or understanding, to Higher-order ones such as Creating.

-Productive Gamification

Gamification means using games to promote learning. Although it seems that it would be more beneficial in children learning, but it also works in adult education. In fact, it has become one of the most important education trends of this decade. Notably, gamification and game-based learning is different. Gamification  is defined as  a system of points is  planned  to motivate  students’ engagement in the class, whereas game- based learning is the way that teachers use games and play to mean content.

Raph Koster states that “ We can learn a lot from our favorite games about improving education outcomes. Well –constructed and applied, learning games and gaming-based strategies hold the potential to boost motivation, extend persistence, and deepen learning. There are some principles of productive gamification including conceptual challenges, productive failure, careful calibration, boost persistence, build confidence, enhance intrinsic motivation, accessibility, and deeper learning.

-The today world is the mobile world

In 2013, a national research  survey showed that even very young students have access to the internet by use of  mobile devices. Also, there is a deep tendency in students to work more personalized and fluid learning via a virtual environment to gain knowledge, instead of  interaction with teachers and their friends. Apple’s iPads and Google’s Chromebooks are kinds of tablet that are used by students at every educational level. The truth is the number of apps and software packages are flourishing. The boards of many schools are expected to allow students to bring their own technology (device) in the class what is known as BYOT or BYOD in our educational system (Dreambox Learning, 2014).

-Establishing flipped model classrooms:

Extracted from Wikipedia “Flipped model classroom” is a form of blended learning in which students  are assigned to watch the  online video as the form of lecture  related to  the course content ,usually at home, and homework is done in class with teachers .In the class  students discuss and solve questions. Therefore, teacher interaction with students is more personalized – guidance . Since the pattern of lecturing and assign of students is reversed with traditional classroom model, this is also known as backwards classroom or   reverse teaching. The online video lessons usually  could be prepared by the teacher or third parties. The teacher instructs the students when they become stuck and have a problem. Students can also help each other, a process that could be beneficial for them. . Flipping changes teachers from “sage on the stage” to “guide on the side”. (“Flipped Classroom”, 2014)

Enhance Learning by LECTURETOOL

Recently, the Echo360 Active Learning Company has announced a powerful lecture engagement system called LECTURETOOL. It is a web-based student response and learning environment that facilitates in-class communication between instructors and students with laptops and mobile phones. This  wonderful combination of face to face and e-learning in  a blended learning model especially in adult learning. The university of Michigan began LectureTool. Researchers have since shown that this technology  improves student engagement and concentration in large classes and it would be practical for all  the subjects (www.Lecturetools.com).

References:
Dreambox Learning Inc.(2014).Blended Learning Innovations: 10 Major Trends. Retrieved January 14, 2015, from file:///C:/Users/HP/Downloads/wp_blended_learning_innovations.pdf
Flipped Classroom. (2014, December 1).In Wikipedia. Retrieved January 15, 2015, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flipped_classroom

What are the roles of educators in  a Blended learning environment?

As blended  learning continues to grow, the role of the educator will undoubtedly continue to evolve as well. It’s crystal clear that, teachers consider as the most critical resources in education. In order to design and implement an effective blended learning some crucial decisions to be made. Role of educator will be very important, from selecting the right technology to choosing a quality curriculum to reinforce the learning procedure.

In traditional methods, teachers had a uniform role and their responsibilities were contracted to the completeness of  the instruction, but in blended learning they play a more fluid role.

Shifting from a traditional learning toward  a blended learning environment needs some changes both for educators and learners.  Blended learning will provide an opportunity for educators to use online programs and enhance their capabilities. Certainly,  the selection process for choosing the educators will be changed  and recruitment should look for persons who have competencies in planning, classroom management, data usage, content expertise, collaboration and risk taking.

The teachers ought to keep pace with students who live in  a mobile world where information and communication are accessed 24/7 through smartphones and laptops.

Some of  the basic shifts should be done by educators from traditional learning to blended learning are from lecturer to facilitator, from using fixed groupings to dynamic grouping strategies, from explain to interpret, from focusing on content to focus on content,skills,and mindset, and from generalist to specialist. (Khan Academy, 2014)

Technology provides extensive creativity in how classrooms are designed and managed. Also, it allows teams of teachers to release from the traditional one-teacher –must-do-all-models. The role of the  traditional teacher is being replaced by teams of educators who individually adopt the responsibilities as a Researcher & Developer, Integrator, and Guide.

Researcher & Developer: In blended learning, educator investigates new approaches and tools to establish a personalized learning. Furthermore, educator should design, examine and refine curriculum according to students’ needs. It would be the responsibility of educating to identify strengths, weaknesses and suitability of  technology tools.

Integrator: After taking the existing instructional strategy and creating best-fit learning pathway, he/she should share the results with colleagues.

 Guide: Educator executes an instructional approach and uses data to adjust students” learning pathway (TNTP reimagine teaching, 2014, Nov).

Reference:
Khan Academy. (2014, May8). Teaching in a blended learning environment – rethinking the role of the teacher. Retrieved January 14, 2015, from  https://www.khanacademy.org/partner-content/ssf-cci/sscc-teaching-blended-learning
TNTP reimagine teaching. (2014, Nov). Reimagining teaching in a blended classroom. Retrieved from: http://tntp.org/assets/documents/TNTP_Blended_Learning_WorkingPaper_2014.pdf

Reflection on Skype-discussion

Using Skype with my learning partner, Kimberley, was an interesting practice for me. I didn’t have any experience of online courses before. I knew that it’s not necessary for students in an online-learning environment to know and discuss each other around course issues unlike what are happening in traditional classrooms.

In the first session of discussion, we chose “Blended Learning” as a well-known and interesting topic that both of us had some familiarity with that. Besides, since I did not have any experience of studying in an English –language country, I asked her some questions due to terminology of specific words such as  reflection or trends in this assignment.

In  the second session, Kimberley and I discussed resources that we had found in our research due to the topic. Many of  our findings focused on blended learning in children educational levels. Given results show that the basic concepts of learning don’t have significant differences between adults and lower-age individuals (Merriam, 2014), so we decided  to apply comprehensive rules and principles regarding to blended learning for all age ranges. We shared some experiences of our studying period at school as well as our teaching experience in the workplace. For example, I remember, one of the my biggest concern in my first year of my work history was the time when I had to explain the septum formation in  the heart. I did not know  how clear and understandable, I could describe this complex and multi -steps phenomenon for my students. I had colored chalks, board, various types of projectors, but they were not sufficient. Sometimes I tried to make handicraft  such as muraliums or sculptures to make a real picture of the process. Despite using all these equipment, I knew that students need to observe a real picture of what they should imagine in this lesson. Fortunately, several years later, my problem was solved by implementation of web-based technology and establishment of blended-learning in our educational system. Today, there are a lot of  three- dimensional cinematographies and animations on the web that educators and students could use them in a convenient and easy way.

Besides, since Kimberly works with volunteers in various ranges of ages and educational levels, will be able to apply blended learning environment in her instructional strategy because this method allows her to teach in a personalized and learner-centered strategy based on her learners’ background.

We realized that blended learning should be considered as a positive reform in education both for children and adults. This learning method will enhance the educators and students’ performance and consolidate their learning permanently.

 

 

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This entry was posted in PIDP 3100- Adult Learning and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to BLENDED LEARNING

  1. Maryam says:

    It was fantastic. I learned a lot. Could you please inform me about your future articles? Thank you.

    Like

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