It is said that the future of education lies in Blended Learning. I think that this assumption ignores the efforts of a lot of teachers: in my opinion, Blended Learning is the learning of the present. Whether we like it or not, most of our students already learn in a blended way: They look for instruction videos on YouTube and use social media to reach out to peers for assistance.
Sadly, we teachers fail to adapt ourselves to this.
“Whether we like it or not, most of our students already learn in a blended way.”
To understand Blended Learning, I’d like to introduce the topic properly.
What is the blend? To blend anything, you need at least two components. Many people think these are the old, traditional way of teaching and a newer way of teaching supported by technology. I think this is wrong: this vision consists of a polarised view on the traditional way of teaching that is of lesser value than the newer more innovative teaching supported by IT. This metaphorically may refer to a blended whiskey that is of lower quality than the supreme Single Malt, the digital learning. Wrong, wrong, WRONG!
In my opinion, Blended Learning is a mix of teaching and learning methods that varies according to the needs of the learner. Whether these methods use technology or not, is irrelevant.
When discussing Blende Learning, new teaching and learning methods that use technology arise. The creation of a good blend from these new methods and traditional face-to-face methods can make Blended Learning interesting. Where previously a teacher would transfer his knowledge to his students, a flipped environment (that uses web resources, video, podcasts, MOOCs) can free up time for the teacher so he can be more a coach for a students learning process.
This really exposes the major added value of Blended Learning: this new teaching method gives a student more control of his own learning.
“Where previously a teacher would transfer his knowledge to his students, a flipped environment can free up time for the teacher so he can be more a coach for a students learning process.”
The teachers role is therefore not substituted by a computer, tablet or smartphone: technology transforms the teachers role. Even more than before, he is a trusted and experienced guide on the learning pathway of the student.
Reference: “Can ‘Blended Learning’ be redeemed”, Oliver & Trigwell, E-Learning and Digital Media March 2005 vol. 2 no. 1 17-26