January 25, 2016 by HCDE-Texas
If you look up blended learning, you’ll find many definitions. However, there is one thing that blended learning is not: replacing teachers with technology. Blended learning focuses on replacing a portion of the traditional face-to-face instruction with a technology-rich learning environment that allows more personalized learning for each student. With the help of technology, teachers are able optimize learning for each individual student.
As adults, we know the overwhelming importance of technology in our lives. Blended learning provides real-life learning opportunities and helps prepare students for the technology-rich workplace and post-secondary education they will soon be a part of. The benefits of blended learning include allowing for multiple learning styles, student engagement, maximization of time for students to work at their own pace, more student data availability and money-savings. Blended learning also acclimates students to the skills needed to make use of technology in their day-to-day lives.
A benchmark study conducted in 2015 by Fuel Education (FuelEd) provides some insight on why schools believe in the importance of blended learning. Out of 91 total educators surveyed, 79 percent say the primary factor for implementing a blended program is to provide an alternative for students who are not succeeding in the traditional brick-and-mortar learning environment.
Other factors the study reveals include:
• Providing students with access to courses not available at their schools
• Giving students more flexibility for when and where they can access courses
• Providing personalized learning experiences
• Desire to retain students and improve graduation rates
While many examples of successful blended learning are available, some staff find the preparation time too consuming. Also, supporting the technology may be prone to failure.
However, a successful program can be implemented with a common goal and the support of fellow teachers and administration. Other things to consider when starting a blended learning program include:
• Funding and resources available
• Training and professional development for teachers
• Choice and quality of curriculum
• Needs of students
With motivated educators, proper student training on use and etiquette of the resources and online safety, both teachers and students can soar with a successful blended learning program.
About the Blogger:
Lynnice Hockaday is a technology analyst for the Teacher and Learning Center at HCDE. For the past 20 years, Lynnice has been an educator, curriculum specialist, technology coach and online instructor, and loves helping students and teachers reach outside the classroom walls by engaging and collaborating worldwide through online learning. Lynnice stays very busy outside of work with three active kids and enjoys hiking and biking in her spare time.