To Blend or not to Blend?

To blend or not to blend learning was the question that cooked up a storm in the first week of Blended Learning Essentials: Getting Started but before we got there we first had to think what we mean by blended learning.  My first thoughts were that it means a mix of f2f classroom activities and online -out of the classroom- learning. A HUGE Padlet wall (more about that in a later post) and well over 1,000 comments later and maybe the answers to these questions are not so cut and dried.

What is blended learning?

This video defines blended learning as the use of technology to restructure the classroom to “increase student involvement, engagement and input” by flipping the classroom, for example.

Simples, then?  However, Diana Laurillard who is leading the course suggests otherwise in her summary of the first week:

“That is included in our definition, certainly, but it would be a shame to leave out the many productive ways of using technology within the classroom as well. Our case studies have looked at several examples of this, demonstrating the value of the mix of digital and conventional methods in class as well”.

This certainly provoked a lot of debate, particularly around some of the model answers to the quiz questions which concurred with Diana’s concept of blended learning and not that of a lot of the course participants, myself included.

To blend or not to blend?

A few reasons in favour:

  •  The UK FE sector doesn’t have an option: futures, funding, FELTAG and more;
  •  21stC learners’ expectations have changed;
  • it enables access and inclusivity;
  • Blended learning, implemented effectively, can improve the quality of teaching, learning and assessment.
  • and finally – I know that some may not agree with this in our beleaguered profession, but we teachers might enjoy it:

Find more education infographics on e-Learning Infographics

Coming up:

  • the barriers to implementing a blended learning strategy;
  • implementing blended learning, theory and practice;
  • some new apps I want to have a play with …

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