Definition of Blended Learning
Blended learning means integration of online learning with traditional face-to-face classroom instruction in a pedagogically planned manner. It is also known as a “mixed,” or “hybrid mode” of learning, in which online learning replaces some aspects of face-to-face learning. Collaboration and communication are important functions of this form of learning. Through blended learning, students can learn more effectively than through traditional classroom activities. It reduces educational expenses, too.
Characteristics of Blended Learning
Blended learning has added technology to a traditional classroom. It has three important characteristics:
- It is part of a formal educational program with addition of e-learning system that provides students to have control over time, place, and pace of learning.
- A part of learning process happens in a properly supervised and brick-and-mortar location.
- This learning method integrates online tools and face-to-face instructions.
Types of Blended Learning
There are six types of blended learning:
- Face-to-Face Driver Model
This technique is like a school structure. In this approach, the trainer introduces online instruction based on steps. It means only certain students will take part in this type of a blended learning. It allows those students who are either struggling, or want high level grades, to learn at their own pace, using technology in classroom.
- Rotation Model
Through this approach, students rotate between various stations, either working online, or spending face-to-face time with their teachers at a specific time. This model is commonly used by elementary schools. Almost 80 percent of the elementary schools in California use this model.
- Flex Model
Schools that support a number of at-risk or non-traditional students often choose this approach. Material is delivered online through this method. Though teachers also provide on-site support when needed, this type of learning is self-guided primarily, because students learn independently and practice new ideas in a technologically-driven environment.
- Online Lab Model
Since schools face tighter resource restrictions, this strategy of blended learning has proved to be a feasible option for the students to complete their courses, especially those which are not provided at a school site. In such situation, students learn online, but they visit a computer lab for completion of their coursework. There are adults who manage the lab. Through this approach, schools offer courses and programs for which they have a shortage of teachers. Also, it allows students to focus on the subjects that better suit them without inferring into other students’ learning process.
- Self-Blend Model
Self-blend approach provides an opportunity to students to learn beyond any programs offered at their schools. While attending traditional school environment, these students can also choose to learn through online courses remotely. To make this method of learning successful, students need to be greatly self-motivated. This method is ideal for students who want to take an extra Advanced Placement courses, and those who have interest in the subject that is not taught in a traditional course catalog.
- Online Driver Model
Contrary to face-to-face driver, online driver is a form in which students learn remotely and get material through an online platform. Though face-to-face registrations are optional, students usually chat with their teachers online to ask any queries. This approach is ideal for those students who want to work independently with flexibility in their schedule. This method is becoming popular over period of time, each year many students participate in online driver model programs which increases by 15 percent.
Function of Blended Learning
Blended learning involves a number of content types, such as visually enhanced presentations, video, and audio that keep the learners engaged, and ensure all material is understood. It balances both types of environments and helps different types of learners to learn in various ways. This method allows improved feedback from home. Harvesting its benefits, a trainer can give it to trainees in a physical environment by using information in the form of automatically generated feedback.
The major function of this process and form of learning is to facilitate learning through every available channel even if it is digital channel. The students learn in a virtual environment, as well as a physical environment, and feel at home even if they are placed in a remote teaching setting. Learners feel at home devising their own learning plan.