March 20, 2019

Blended Learning 101

If you’re familiar with or work in the education industry, you might have come across the terms of blended learning or personalized learning. Even if you’re not familiar with it, chances are, you’ve probably heard the terms somewhere.

 

So, what exactly is ‘blended learning’?

The Oxford Dictionary defines blended learning as:

A style of education in which students learn via electronic and online media as well as traditional face-to-face teaching.

Additionally, in this era, blended learning doesn’t only include just online and face-to-face learning, it also now integrates social learning such as networking and workshop activities.

Blended learning is also known by other names such as personalized learning and hybrid learning, and they all pretty much mean the same. It’s a learning approach that is neither this nor that, rather, it combines different learning approaches to match the needs of the learner.

 

Why would blended learning be difficult?

Here’s the thing – blended learning may sound interesting but it is quite difficult to implement as an organization, and even as an individual. There are so many things to consider, even more, if you’re in a team or organization.

  • The biggest downside is that blended learning is time-consuming.

Integrating blended learning itself is time-consuming, but what takes the most time is developing the right blended learning approach for your organization or yourself. We must consider so many elements such as the learning needs, the goals and what type of learning we need.

  • It requires resources – which some of us might not have!

Whether you’re creating a plan to integrate blended learning for yourself or getting into a platform or school that already provides this service, it does take up resources that many of us cannot afford, such as time and money.

  • Blended learning might require you to revamp your learning approach

You’ll have to get out of your comfort zone or your usual way of learning to implement blended learning. Some elements may stay the same, but you’ll have to test out different learning approaches to understand what is truly effective for you.

 

Do we still need blended learning?

Yes, if we want to bring out the best in our learning. Blended learning is a great approach to nurturing lifelong learning – here are the reasons why:

  • You can mix and match different types of learning according to your own preferences

This means that you’ll be more engaged with the learning content because it’s not fixed to one approach. You’re actively engaging in different types of learning and this is great for better engagement and also recalling learning content.

  • Learning becomes more accessible

With blended learning, you can access learning anywhere and at any time. This is especially convenient since we all don’t always have the time and money to spend on learning.

  • Blended learning builds better collaborative learning

Unlike traditional classroom settings, blended learning calls for different learning approaches – this means that there are more interactive learning among the learners whether it’s online or in-class sessions.

 

How do we start?

Blended learning is quite difficult to implement, especially at a larger scale. The good news is, you may have already integrated blended learning into your life but just haven’t noticed it or seen it in a more structured way. Here are steps that can kick start your journey with blended learning:

  • Clarify your effective learning approaches

There are many different types of ways to learn, different types more effective than others depending on your learning preference and the learning content.

  • Define your learning goals

List down the goals you want to achieve through your learning. This way, you’re able to keep track for later and also be able to assign the type of learning for those goals. For example, if I wanted to get better at speaking English, the best way to learn would be practicing face-to-face with a native speaker, rather than simply reading a book about it.

  • Set the time and budget

Some of us may have time to spare while others may not, so assigning some time in a week and scheduling what you should learn to achieve your goals is key to keeping up and creating that habit for learning. Additionally, not all learning is free, so assigning some spending money on learning could be beneficial for you and/or the learners.

  • Measure and adapt

Always refer back to your goals and measure your progress. The great thing about blended learning is that some aspects of it could be online and that means it can automatically track your performance.

 

The bottom line

Blended learning could be a crucial part of our future very soon. But like anything else in our world, it does its downsides. At the end of the day, blended learning is effective because everyone has different learning styles. If you put your time and effort into it, it’ll become an effective tool to keep you ahead of change.


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