In the past, students in classrooms learned completely from books and their teachers, without the aid of any digital sources like an LMS. But as you can imagine, as we’ve made huge advancements in technology, those things have slowly crept into the classroom.
In the 1980s, the computer became a more commonplace thing to have in households, and by default, the classroom. As a direct result of the Digital Revolution, the switch from analog to digital happened in all sorts of environments.
For educators, this resulted in something called blended learning. This kind of teaching has many advantages, and if you work in a classroom, your students can certainly reap these benefits.
But what exactly is blended learning? We’ll discuss what this is and how it can help your pupils.
What Is Blended Learning?
Blended learning is also known as “hybrid learning” or “blended education.” It sounds simple enough, but it’s actually quite complicated; there’s no one right definition of what it is.
In general, blended learning is where you integrate online teaching with traditional offline ways. But it’s not enough to just supplement small parts of your curriculum with online methods. It has to be enough so that it completely changes how things are usually taught.
This means if you only have your students turn in their work through an online portal, this isn’t enough for you to say that you’re using blended learning. The digital tools you use must be of some value that caters to the personal learning styles of your students.
In general, there are 4 types of blended learning:
- Rotation model: Students switch between different learning modalities; at least 1 will be online and the rest will be at a physical campus. Within this model, there’s station, lab, and individual rotation, as well as flipped classroom.
- Flex model: Most learning is done online and physical interactions with the teacher are supplemental. For example, they may provide individual or group tutoring.
- A la carte model: All learning is done online for one course, but for others, they’re on campus.
- Enriched virtual model: Students have minimal physical interaction with their teacher, but are required to have these meetings. They do the majority of their work online, where the teacher will offer support.
Why Blended Learning?
When you look at how technology bleeds into many areas of daily life, it makes sense to adopt digital resources like a K12 LMS for teaching. Here are some reasons why it’ll help your students.
It Makes Learning More Fun
Although some students love to read out of books, many don’t enjoy it at all. This can make learning very tedious, which means they won’t absorb new information as easily.
When you introduce digital ways of teaching, you can gamify your lessons. This can bring out the competitive sides of your students, which in turn, can make them more engaged with what you’re teaching. Even if it’s a harder, more “boring” subject like science or math, gamification can instantly make these subjects interesting!
Increase Your Students’ Focus
When students have to stick with one or two mediums (books and lectures), they can quickly lose their focus. The average human attention span is around 8 seconds. So you can bet that traditional lectures have your students yawning and their eyes glazing over.
Blended learning allows your students to look outside of just books and lectures to learn. When they have the internet at their fingertips, they can use forums, chatrooms, videos, and interactive sites to absorb information. Give your students more tools, and they’ll be able to find more suited ones for their personal learning styles.
Allow More Flexibility in the Pace of Learning
We touched upon this a little up above—blended learning caters to personal learning styles better. Because you have your curriculum online (course materials, homework, etc.), your students can go at their preferred paces. They won’t be stressed out that they’re not matching up with their classmates.
This is especially beneficial for adults who have gone back to higher education and are working as well. They may not be able to keep up with a rigorous traditional classroom, but will thrive in a blended learning environment. This is because the ball’s in their court when it comes to when, where, and how they learn.
There’s Better Communication
In a traditional classroom, it may be difficult to communicate effectively with all your students. This is especially true if you have a large classroom size and can’t devote equal attention to every individual.
But with the right learning management system technology, blended learning creates a significantly better environment for communication. You’ll be able to post assignments, make announcements, and give exam results back to every individual with no problem.
And you can focus more on your students as well. When there are no rigid classroom hours, they can email/chat with you at their leisure, and vice versa. This ensures that any questions and concerns are promptly addressed.
Facilitate More Student Collaboration
You’ll always get at least a few students who are too shy to participate in class discussions. This is a pity, as they’re missing out on extra learning experiences.
When you use online tools like message boards and chatroom available within a learning management system, it allows everyone to participate comfortably. It also gives your students an easy channel for peer feedback, which can help everyone learn more efficiently.
Give Blended Learning a Try
If you’re a modern-day teacher, especially if you’re a millennial, then you’re probably already utilizing the beginnings of blended learning in your classrooms. Whether it’s an online program to track assignments, a learning management system, or online portals to find educational articles, there are many ways to help your students along with blended learning.
Since students are incorporating more technology into their daily lives, by adding it into the classroom as well, you can help them learn in a more efficient and conducive way. Allow them to learn at their own paces and see them flourish.
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