Blended learning is a hybrid educational method that integrates in-person classroom time with individual study online. It is an effective and popular mode of instruction as it offers flexible, timely and continuous learning (Rasheed, Kamsin, & Abdullah, 2020).
The concept of blended learning is not new. Since the 2000s, learning institutions have adopted different mixes of face-to-face with online instruction. It is a rather mainstream mode of education now, as most people have access to the Internet and mobile technologies.
Who is it for?
Blended learning is great for all ages, from primary schools all the way to adult learning.
For younger students, exposure to learning technology gets them more prepared to use these technologies as they progress in their education journey. For older students, they are likely to be already familiar with such technology, and leverage it for their learning needs. For adult learners, usage of learning technology can confer greater technology competence in the workplace or otherwise.
Blended learning can be seen as the ‘best of both worlds’ of face-to-face learning and online learning. If carried out well, blended learning can combine the benefits of both (Broadbent, 2017).
Blended learning reduces online transactional distance and increases interaction between teachers and students (Jusoff & Khodabandelou, 2009). It offers pedagogical richness, and is cost effective (Graham, 2006, pp. 3–21). It makes higher education more accessible as students can access materials anytime and anywhere (Graham, Woodfield, & Harrison, 2013). It also offers the potential to cater to individual students and allow more personalized learning (Wanner & Palmer, 2015).
Many research studies have found that blended learning has positive effects on student achievement (Chen & Jones, 2007). In fact, many have found that blended learning is better than traditional learning in terms of students’ grades and pass rates (Akbarov et al., 2018; Bakeer, 2018). According to Dowling, Godfrey, and Gyles (2003), students come to prefer blended learning over traditional learning. In science teaching specifically, Kagohara et al. (2010) claimed that the use of multimedia like videos, simulation software, and dry labs may offer advantages over textbooks, especially for complex scientific topics and concepts that are unfamiliar to students.
To summarize, blended learning is a highly versatile and well accepted teaching method. Even as online teaching modes are taking more of the limelight, blended learning still has its place in education as face-to-face interactions remain valuable.
One popular type of blended learning is the flipped classroom approach. Read more about it here: https://blog.soqqle.com/flipped-classroom/
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Chen, C., Jones, K., (2007). Blended learning vs. traditional classroom settings: assessing effectiveness and students’ perceptions in an MBA accounting course. J. Educ. Online 4 (1), 1–15.
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Rasheed, R. A., Kamsin, A., & Abdullah, N. A. (2020). Challenges in the online component of blended learning: A systematic review. Computers & Education, 144, 103701. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2019.103701
Wanner, T., & Palmer, E. (2015). Personalising learning: Exploring student and teacher perceptions about flexible learning and assessment in a flipped university course. Computers & Education, 88, 354–369. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2015.07.008.