From the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the education sector has seen some significant developments. One of them is the introduction of an approach known as blended learning.
With this approach, education is provided through face-to-face and digital media. The aim behind blended learning is countering the setbacks of either one of them by the other.
However, considering it’s a new concept, it’s evident that there are some challenges to the implementation too.
As per research conducted by ProLiteracy in 2019, 25% of respondents that included teachers and volunteers said that they use blended learning. This number has now multiplied with the ongoing situation and requires some new additions in the education system.
To deal with the same, the school system must introduce three fundamental changes to make the transition seamless for teachers.
1. Provide ICT training
Most of the teachers do not come from a space where technology is fundamental to their lives. Due to this, conducting training workshops to equip them with the necessary technology becomes a pivotal step.
- The workshops should teach them how to use digital tools to teach students. For example, making a PowerPoint Presentation can come in handy while teaching. Additionally, the accessibility of technology for teachers must also be ensured.
- One setback that might surface with the use of technology is the undue usage of it just because it’s accessible. School systems must ensure the implementation of the digital approach only when it’s vital, and educate teachers about the same.
2. Ensuring the effectiveness of blended learning
Since time eternal, we have regarded traditional classroom teaching as an effective method for imparting education. In such a situation, the transition would require a firm belief on the part of the system and the education providers. This is only possible when school systems bring out the advantages of this new approach and enlighten their facilitators about the same.
- As fancy and convenient as it may sound, blended learning needs far more time and effort to impart. Even so, the effectiveness of what one has taught depends upon the engagement feature of the teaching process. If teachers are provided information about how the learners will engage in the process better, and what tools provide maximum benefits, they will enjoy the process. If teachers are made to act as participants in a mock class, they are likely to understand the requirements of the process effectively.
- Gratification is always an integral way of job motivation. School systems should introduce ways in which the progress of participants is tracked to help teachers know how well they are adapting to the new approach.
3. Providing worthwhile instructional design
One major challenge that teachers might face while going through this transition is understanding the instructional design. This means that opting for the right medium to deliver the right information. School system must change their instructional design and provide a new layout that assists teachers in moving towards blended learning.
- Instructional design should talk about what’s the right medium for teaching as per the content to be taught. Additionally, using the right educational tool is also of utmost importance. For example, if a teacher wants to discuss some topics, the face-to-face approach is a better alternative.
- Besides, online sessions shouldn’t be centered on imparting one-way instructions. Rather, it should follow an interactional guideline to make sure that learners have an active role to play.
- An engaging online lecture calls for interaction, feedback, and information retention.
- Feedbacks for assignments, or activities performed online also facilitates the learning process. The more detailed the assessment and commentary, the more likely are the learners to prioritize learning.
Blended Learning isn’t essentially about providing factual details; it more so focuses on skill development. The idea behind this format is to help learners elevate their knowledge level by practically putting facts to use in the form of assignments.
However, it does possess a significant challenge for teachers who might not be the best with technology, or the design and usage of this methodology. To ensure their gratification and maximum participation, the school system needs to adopt the changes as mentioned above.