India’s education fraternity is divided over the conflict between online and physical classrooms. The debate whether we should go back to physical classrooms or adopt the online learning practices seems to be never-ending!
Could blended learning be the adept solution to put these doubts at rest?
Well, research proves students exposed to blended education were more successful than the others learning through one of the modes – physical or online.
The current education system is plagued with several inherent drawbacks – with an unreasonable focus on ‘marks’ rather than core aptitude which makes one an adept problem solver. The online classes are criticized too – due to the absence of the key human element.
With the accelerated adoption of edtech in current times, blended learning is the ultimate resolution to fill these gaps of face-to-face and online modes of learning in India.
Blended learning benefits include greater productivity for teachers and better learning outcomes for students. Students receive the attention, support and resources they need and teachers can impart individualized, impactful blended learning experiences.
What really is blended learning?
There is a common misconception about blended learning definition : people misunderstand blended learning as simply incorporating technology into the school day.
The true blended learning meaning isn’t just mixing the F2F and online methods randomly! It is an elemental integration and thorough implementation of carefully chosen strategies so that the F2F and online truly ‘complement’ each other by using one’s strength to overcome the shortcomings of the other.
Blended learning classroom uses digital resources not to supplement – but to transform and improve the learning process.
Blended Learning Models
No blended learning approach is fitting for all. Finding and implementing the right blended learning strategies for your classroom is the key challenge.
1. Blended Learning Flipped Classroom
The most widely known version of blended learning – ‘flips’ the concept of a traditional classroom of listening to a teacher’s lecture in F2F class and doing follow-up activities, later at home.
Teachers use online media to provide content to students who review and understand these materials independently from home – followed by teacher-guided group discussions and collaborative tasks in a F2F classroom. Classroom periods are transformed into hands-on practice time, with teacher as the facilitator.
2. Blended Learning Rotation model
In station-rotation, learners traverse through a series of stations with a specific purpose and a fixed schedule, where at least one of the stations is an online learning station.
In lab-rotation, the online station used is a dedicated computer lab.
In individual rotation, students rotate only to the stations scheduled for them by the teacher.
3. Enriched Virtual
The student focuses on completing online coursework and may visit the school for a face-to-face learning session with a teacher intermittently, based on individual needs.
How to implement blended learning?
With infinite information on the web and multiple options available, it gets quite perplexing for teachers to decide which applications to choose from and how to harness the complete potential of resources.
Blended learning tools for teachers :
- A blended learning lesson plan : clearly identify the learning targets and mention online and face-to-face strategies technologies to be used
- A powerful virtual learning platform – use blended learning LMS to share videos, presentations etc with students and data analytics to analyze the learning gaps and take appropriate steps.
- Teacher training and support – avail training and technology support from platforms
- Interactive tools and apps – use engaging videos and interactive apps to explain content and enhance the students’ understanding of deeper concepts and real world applications.
With NEP on its way, India is well-prepared to embrace technology in education and adopt blended learning.
Just broaden your perspective of learning beyond the ‘brick & mortar classrooms’ and leverage technology to fulfill learning objectives – using blended learning to actualize the much-needed paradigm shift in education system – moving from the rigid traditional teacher-centred classrooms, towards a more flexible and open learner-centered environment.
Blended learning is surely the best way forward!