Blended learning, sometimes synonymous with the flipped classroom or hybrid or mixed-mode courses, is defined by replacing a portion of face-to-face instruction with a web-based learning component.
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The blended learning approach has become popular among innovative teachers largely because many experts view it as a way to better maximize the value of face time.
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Blended learning can also be known as “technology-mediated instruction” or “web-enhanced instruction” and the terms are often used interchangeably. This approach has also been reported to be more effective than purely face-to-face or purely online classes.
By using a combination of digital instruction and one-on-one face time, students can work on their own with new concepts which frees teachers up to circulate and support individual students who may need individualized attention. It has also been reported to make for more engaged students.
Much like the flipped classroom, which relies more on video, both models focus on removing the lecture portion from the classroom and moving it into the homework sphere, thereby freeing up valuable classroom time for exercises. Both are about reversing Bloom’s Taxonomy.
“Take a concept that you are going to teach and break it down into the individual objectives. Then, categorize the objectives as easy or difficult to understand. The easy objectives are moved to the homework venue. The hard to understand concepts remain in the classroom where there is now ample time for the teacher to work one on one with the students,” says Lisa Johnson-Bowers who instructs teachers on how to use blended learning effectively.”
So how much time is devoted to online learning? It depends, say experts. The Online Learning Consortium (formerly, the Sloan Consortium, a professional organization dedicated to postsecondary online learning) defines blended learning as a course where 30%-70% of the instruction is delivered online.
The amount of classroom versus online time will vary greatly from classroom to classroom, say experts.
Although the concepts behind blended learning first developed in the 1960s, the formal terminology to describe it and the technology to push it forward did not take form until the late 1990s.
For teachers wishing to explore and learn more about creating a blended learning course, professional development certificate programs provide a unique opportunity to develop a personalized, high quality, blended learning classroom with the guidance of an experienced instructor.
Each component of the program is flexible and designed to effectively help the participant to develop best practices tailored specifically to his/her individual school setting. Courses are self-paced, yet instructor supported.
Call it blended learning for teachers.