Times are changing, and that's a fact. Gone are the days of traditional education as we enter a new area where teaching methods and learners alike are adapting to an ever-changing world and where new methods of teaching are being created on a daily basis. Thus, blended learning was created.
Blended learning can be described as a mixture of different learning methods that incorporate various teaching models, most likely including the use of eLearning and the traditional face-to-face learning that is usually found within the classroom. Blended learning is the natural development of the educational system as the use of technology has vastly influenced how we use everyday teaching methods. Something like this was just bound to happen.
Blended learning comes in all shapes and sizes, where different types of blended learning models can help to fit the vast diversity that is usually also present between the students in a class. Here are just a few that are used throughout many classrooms and organizations around the world:
This model particularly has been used by teachers for many years, as it is easy to implement and use. The rotation model is based on the idea that students will have a set schedule, where they will rotate their time between being physically present in the classroom and spending their time online after the physical lessons have occurred.
The Flex model is a model that relies heavily on online instructions, where thereafter the teachers or professors will act as facilitators, rather than the primary deliverers of the content. Here the teachers will give the students a set of instructions and a set time period for them to complete the task. After the time period has ended, the teachers will then have a physical session where they will be able to inspect and provide feedback on the work that has been completed.
This is where a teacher uses the two ideas of face-to-face and online learning and creates one collective option that will fit with any student. Teachers design a program where students will have the option to either attend a classroom physically or virtually at the same time. For those who prefer a more hands on approach to learning, they will be able to sit in the classroom and learn, while those who prefer to work from home will be able to attend the class through a live virtual session, giving the students the option to learn their preferred way without having them feel left out.
Even though the physical classroom is sometimes missing, social learning is still a big benefit for learners in every model. Not a single learner has to miss out on socializing with others, as teachers still make it their priority to allow students to interact and socialize amongst their peers. Online discussions allow students to maintain their connections with each other even when they are off campus.
Not to mention, blended learning (due to the online factor) is very accessible and flexible. Students have access to their work 24/7, allowing the students to complete their work at their own pace and at their own time.
Blended learning also allows the students to improve upon various soft skills that will only benefit them in the future. Students have become more responsible and independent due to the fact that they are handling much more responsibility when it comes to online learning.
They need to make sure they are on the right track with their work, teaching them time management and confidence. This is a great opportunity for students to work more independently, which can only benefit them and prepare them for their future careers.
In the end, traditions are becoming a thing of the past. Our world is ever-evolving and luckily, we are evolving with it. Blended learning is just one way we have adapted to an ever-changing environment, using our creativity to find solutions that will only help us improve upon our education and improve upon the students themselves.
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Author: Izana Coetzee