Blended learning, which is also popularly known as hybrid learning, is a strategy that combines the best of face–to-face and online learning elements to provide an engaging and impactful learning experience to the students.
Execution of blended learning classes is definitely not an easy task and creation and delivery of engaging and interesting content can be challenging for several reasons.
Before schools and teachers dive into the adoption of this approach, it is quite important that they are well aware of the positives and negatives, so that they can make an informed decision and are prepared to deal with all the obstacles on their way.
This blog will help the teachers as it highlights all the major pros and cons of blended learning.
- Fosters collaboration: students and educators are able to connect with each other even outside the classroom through collaborative tools like online discussions, blogs, etc.
- Facilitates instantaneous communication : online communication tools such as grading tools, discussion forums, interactive apps and drop boxes etc. which enables teachers to communicate with their students effectively.
- Flexibility and increased accessibility : teachers and students get round-the-clock access to learning materials through LMS etc.
- Individualized support : blended learning environment can be personalized to suit learners with different coping abilities.
- Interactive educational experience : technology-enabled educational aids like interactive educational games, padlets and pear decks increase a student’s interest in sessions and makes it fun-filled learning.
- Track participants’ skill and performance: teachers can review each individual’s time spent on a task, gather meaningful insights from student data generated on online apps and determine activities which are effective and the ones which need improvisation.
- Efficient student assessment: comprehensive student evaluations are possible with granular reporting and automatic grading with built-in rubric. These are helpful for teachers as the effort is reduced and students also are aware of their progress because of immediate feedback.
- Enhances computer literacy skills: students will be better-prepared for the future and will make the most of the digital opportunities they are offered because of the computer literacy skills and real-world skills that they acquire through blended learning.
- Huge technological dependence : we are heavily dependent on the Internet to be able to use the technological resources and tools – which are the key ingredients of the blended lesson plans.
- High costs involved : incorporation of advanced technology for blended learning in schools requires infrastructure setup and investment in devices etc.
- IT literacy: lack of basic understanding about the online tools and technologies may become a significant barrier for teachers. Technical training and support is a must for them.
- Significant overload for teachers: to make this paradigm shift in education, teachers have to broaden their outlooks, choose the apt tools and apps, and put in efforts to execute a well-balanced and effective lesson plan. Unfortunately, conservative teachers find this very tough initially and may be unwilling to adapt to this new culture.
- Increased cognitive load for students : blended learning could be a new world of learning for students and they might take some time to accept it and become comfortable with these new ways of teaching
- Too much exposure on the web: Not all digital resources are authentic and age-appropriate. Once students get access to the web and start using it regularly, they might get fascinated by irrelevant, unsuitable things so it’s a must for teachers to educate them about internet security and how to be responsible online.
- Lack of supervision – Teachers are worried about students’ motivation levels while switching to blended learning as there is lesser supervision as compared to face-to-face learning, and many students’ performance might degrade due to self-management – the flexibility of setting one’s own pace may lead to students falling behind in syllabus
Can the benefits outweigh the limitations? Are the rewards worth the risks?
Well, a blended learning strategy has its own positive and negative aspects but the negative impact can surely be minimized and channeled into a fruitful strategy with wise content planning and a progressive implementation.
It may look like a significant investment to begin with, but this short-term expense will give huge benefits in the long run. Isn’t this a great opportunity to say bye-bye to the obsolete education system and evolve beyond textbooks-bound syllabus?
These tips might just help you begin:
- Choose “intuitive” tools and platforms that require the least amount of technical “know-how” initially.
- Ensure devices and media used for teaching encourage collaboration and interactive sessions.
- Constantly evaluate what works and what doesn’t and adapt based on feedback.
Blended learning is surely the way forward!!
To make your blended learning expedition more impactful, explore Classroom.live – a platform tailor-made for teachers – it will help you overcome the difficulties and facilitate super-engaging online learning experiences.