We get a lot of questions regarding blended learning, so much so, that we have decided to write an article about it.
Let’s dive right in and ask ourselves… what’s the buzz about blended learning? Why is it becoming so popular?
Let’s start with the basics:
What exactly is blended learning?
Whether you know it as blended, mixed, or hybrid learning, there is no definite answer out there.
This is because blended learning can mean different things to different people.
But since we want to provide a somewhat reasonable answer to this question, we went ahead and dug deeper until we found a definition from UW-Madison that we think can be pretty descriptive and representative. It goes like this:
Blended learning courses are instructor-designed and supervised environments that use face-to-face and technology-mediated channels to enhance interactive, engaging learning experiences to improve student learning outcomes.
I know… That is a lot to process.
Let’s try to simplify it saying that, blended learning, it’s a technique that allows teachers and language centers to use both face-to-face instruction builds, combined with the convenience, independence and personalization that online learning provides.
In other words… It “blends” traditional face-to-face education with online education.
So, now that we have a grasp of what it is. How do we know if blended learning is right for us?
Let’s go over the most frequent questions and answers to see if your language center can take advantage of this new learning method.
Are blended learning and online learning methods the same?
No. With Blended Learning, you typically study content in class with the teacher and then continue it at home. Online learning, on the other hand, is given online on its entirety, even the “face to face” class, which occurs via video call or telephone.
Is blended learning effective for language education?
More and more research is being done to help measure the overall effectiveness of blended learning in language education.
These 12 case studies of how traditional school districts improved student learning outcomes after implementing blended learning is a perfect example:
I want to begin using blended learning strategies in my classroom, where should I start?
Creating a blended learning environment can initially be overwhelming.
We recommend between these two options:
- You can either use a backward design process to determine coherent program goals/success metrics. Then continue looking at your available technology resources (Tablets, laptops, computers…), your available space, and which content you anticipate using in your blended learning environment. And once you have established your resources, you can begin looking at which blended learning models may be a good fit for you and your students.
- Or you can use a finished platform, designed specifically for language centers to create their own unique methodology that provides interactive content creation, management of classes and tutors online. As an example, tools like Verxact would be a perfect intro level tool for blended learning as well as very easy and manageable resources to use.
Can I do blended learning in my traditional classroom?
Yes. There are many ways you can do blended learning. And although you don’t need a high-tech classroom, there are plenty of solutions that will help you transform your traditional classroom into a complete blended learning experience.
Check out all the available options here
Is blended learning good for large intro classes?
In large introductory classes, forms of blended learning integrated with active learning can support students who don’t do well with the traditional lecture and test format. The technology in blended learning allows for efficient tracking of student outcomes. Rather than take only two or three exams, students can engage in online exercises, take online quizzes, and do other activities that provide frequent feedback without the necessity of hand-grading.
Is blended learning good for small advanced classes?
In small advanced classes, the connection between blended learning and active learning can be powerful, as online interactions among students (and students and instructors) can enhance, and be enhanced by, face to face interactions in the classroom.
Blended Learning is a tool that helps homogenize different levels, making it perfect for any class level and size.
Can different blended learning technologies serve different purposes?
Although there is no research establishing that certain technologies serve certain types of learning, we can hypothesize that, for example, technologies like videos might support the development of foundational knowledge, while on-line interactive scenarios might support application learning. Or forums might be good for integration.
Does blended learning require a lot of technical expertise?
No. The more expertise you have, the more possibilities you can imagine. But at the end of the day, it is up to you to choose how to use the technology in your favor. Use the ones that make you feel comfortable and that you already know how to use, or just purchase a finished tool like Verxact, that has been designed specifically to support every aspect of blended learning while staying simple and easy to use.
Where can I get training in blended learning?
We suggest taking a look at different blogs and educational websites to gather information on the subject. This Verxact’s blog post, for example, is full of tips, tricks and valuable information for you to read and prepare to switch from traditional classes to blended learning education.
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