Blended Learning : The Evolution of Online and Face-To-Face Education

May 30, 2017
Blended Learning

Blended learning might have many connotations for many individuals. It is essentially a hybrid approach with a combination of online delivery of content and the traditional live face-to-face based instruction. For some, the definition or understanding of blended learning so boards that any integrated use of technology into the learning experience might result in it being branded as blended intervention.

What is Blended Learning?

In the true sense, blended learning is more of a pedagogical approach in education which brings the best of socialisation opportunities of the classroom and marries it with the flexibility of technologically enhanced active learning possibilities of online teaching experience.

The teaching landscape has witnessed a great evolution over the last century, there has been a technology uprising especially in the last decade which has impacted the way people learn. The availability of smartphones, tablets, Kindle, accessibility of the internet almost everywhere on the planet has rapidly impacted the way we learn and the generations to come will. Technology will continue to integrate into our lives and education and learning and development portals have accepted this fact and are willing to embrace it for the advantages it brings. Thus one will see the uprising in the acceptance and usage of blended learning approaches.

Blended Learning Models are very segmented in nature and hence is gaining popularity in the education forums for its ability to personalisation to fit the individual’s learning needs. The course can be designed from the many available models, to suit the topic or audience, for example, instead a traditional mode of delivery, one can choose the online method, where face to face interactions are periodic or limited, or offer Rotation method where the participant rotates between self-paced online learning and personal instruction schedules which are fixed but flexible in nature. They can also take advantage of the Flex method which for its majority is online delivery and participants can get instructor interactions on request as a support.

Advantages of a Blended Learning Approach

In the true sense, this approach is a win-win situation for the Instructor, Participant and the Topic i.e. the teaching condition is conducive to the topic of learning.

The Blended Learning Approach is breaking the traditional wall in some sense and addressing issues of individuals rather than approaching it as the whole, where the needs of a few were neglected. With the currently available technology, courses can be personalised to individuals learning capabilities. The technological integration also breaks down the conventional issues like time, where the participant has the flexibility to learn at their pace around a time in the day which is most convenient to them.

Instructor gains access to global resources, and materials which match the students level of knowledge and interest. Teachers can offer personalised interactions in private through chat rooms, emails etc., in turn helping the learner me more effective. Due to online portals, students get availability to their learning graph, which reduces the stress from the teachers allowing them to focus on the areas of weaknesses and bridge the skills gap more efficiently. Teachers can use technology to introduce a variety of activities and engage students through different learning styles. Instructors with the help of technology can reach and motivate slow learners or hard to reach participants creating individualised professional development plans. It also offers to teach as a professional to people located in remote or low opportunity areas, thus creating more earning potential and activating dormant careers.

Participant stays focused when technology is introduced in a teaching set up, focus and excitement increase. Subsequently, the retention ability is also enhanced due to continuous reinforcement. With the access to the internet the availability of resources increases, where inquisitiveness is fuelled by research, guaranteeing consistent engagement of participants and students alike. It gives rise to student autonomy, making the participant in charge and responsibility in setting personalised goals and learning pace, instilling a sense of ownership. This is phenomenal as the participant is not only learning the subject or topic but is also getting prepared in real live skills, thus directly impacting the future skills, like decision-making, resilience, self-engagement, research skills.

Topics or scale of information, it’s penetration or reaches also increases. It reduces isolation, participants or students sitting across any location can take advantage of the wealth of information and opportunities which were only available to the select few of the cities in the past. Thus offering more collaboration and networking opportunities. This, in turn, leads to better student data making the path for professional growth.

With all of these interesting facts and things being stated here, Imarticus Learning has taken an uptake over the Blended learning and we have created courses best suited for the people interested in Banking, Finance and Analytics industry.

To conclude, it is important to note that each individual will have a different learning style, the instructional design should focus on the visual, auditory and kinetic learners alike while designing corporate courses or in education. Integrating technology effectively can improve the retention, engagement and enjoyment for participants. Increased availability of technology in learning or blended learning approaches thus becomes imperative in today’s time irrespective of the nature of education in schools or corporates alike.

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