Blended Learning: What is it, and why is it the future?

Article by Peter Merrigan

Blended Learning: What is it, and why is it the future?

Blended learning is not the same as e-learning, although it can be mistaken. We've created the infographic below to help people to understand the concept. Blended learning has been with us for a few years now, but advances in delivery methods are likely to accelerate in the future alongside technology.

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A visual graphic describing and explaining blended learning.

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Blended learning takes a two-pronged approach to active learning. It combines traditional classroom-based group learning sessions with individual study at the learner’s own pace. Modern technology means learners can progress as quickly as they like while keeping on top of their normal daily tasks.

As an alternative to classroom-based study, technology allowed for self-learning back in the 1960s on mainframes and computers. And we’ve come a long way since then; we’ve bypassed floppy discs, CD-ROMs and HTML forms to enter a connected world of cloud-based technology.*

ANYWHERE, ANY TIME

With a reduced need for travelling to and from a brick-and-mortar location, blended learning allows students to progress wherever they have access to the internet. Submit your assessment while you’re on the train; start a new module on your iPad in the breakroom; or check your feedback while walking the dog.

POCKET LEARNING

With the advances in mobile technology, learners now have an entire classroom in their pocket.

Blended learning reduces the need for classroom gatherings, which might otherwise increase the infection rate of a global pandemic# (if you’re reading this after 2020, congratulations on making it to the other side!).

BENEFITS OF BLENDED LEARNING

Learn anywhere, any time. Overcome the limitations of location-based training, and reach learners who cannot otherwise attend, based on geography or ability.

A blended learning environment enables tutors and trainers to interact with learners and provide instant feedback, accessing course materials on the go and create on-the-job training that garners instant rewards.

Blended learning has been shown to generate higher pass rates among STEM students than traditional brick-and-mortar learning (http://www.pnas.org/content/111/23/8410.abstract).

BLENDED LEARNING FOR THE FUTURE

94% of British universities and colleges believe that blended learning is more effective than face-to-face learning alone.+

Learners experience a higher level of self-achievement than from traditional learning models, resulting in a more pro-active approach to job-based learning.

Blended learning facilitates a learner’s desire to increase their knowledge while continuing daily functions and tasks. Combining face-to-face training with self-led study aids personal advancement and achievement.

Less time travelling = more time working = greater financial gain

REFERENCES: *Bersin, Josh (2004) Blended Learning: Best Practices, Proven Methodologies, and Lessons Learned; #Su, F (2020) ‘Blended Learning Pedagogy in Higher Education’ in Encyclopedia of Educational Innovation, Peters & Heraud. +Prof. Ansie Harding.

Article by Peter Merrigan

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