Published on January 4, 2014
Defining Blended Learning What is commonly meant by ‘blended learning’?
Some useful definitions The following definitions are for ‘blended learning’, sometimes referred to as ‘hybrid learning’. We’ll also touch on the ‘flipped classroom’.
Courses that integrate online with traditional face-to-face class activities in a planned, pedagogically valuable manner; where a substantial proportion of the content is delivered online, typically using online discussions, and typically having some face-to-face meetings. Blending In - The Extent and Promise of Blended Education in the United States (Sloan Consortium, 2007) Note the emphasis here of ‘pedagogic value’ – any element of a blended learning strategy needs to add value to the overall learning experience.
The convergence of face-to-face settings, which are characterised by synchronous and human interaction, and information and communication technology (ICT) based settings, which are asynchronous and textbased and where humans operate independently. Blended learning systems (Graham, 2006) This definition makes a distinction between f2f and online (ICT) based learning where live interaction only occurs in f2f settings. Online is considered to be more useful for independent, and by implication, self-paced learning.
Blended learning combines the effectiveness and socialization opportunities of the classroom with the self-directed and active learning opportunities that the online environment offers. Blended learning (Dziuban, et al, 2004) The combination of socialisation and self-direction is an important consideration in how and what learning a blended approach can best facilitate.
The delivery of instruction in a combination of time in a supervised physical location away from home and online delivery whereby the student has some element of control over time, place, path, or pace of learning. Ohio state blended learning initiative (Ohio SB 316) Blended learning can be defined by a split between time in and away from supervised learning or instruction in a physical location.
The thoughtful fusion of face-to-face and online learning experiences. Perspectives on blended learning in higher education (Vaughan, 2007) A shorter and more open ended definition. Fusion implies a range of combinations and a bringing together of f2f and online.
Models for blended learning
Face to face learning Blended learning Online learning A commonly cited combination Face to face learning Self paced learning Online collaborative learning e-TQM College, Dubai Most models for blended learning combine f2f learning with online learning, commonly making distinctions between the types of online learning – e.g. colllaborative or self-paced.
Knewton citing Profiles of Emerging Models by the Innosight Institute (2011) In one model, developed by the Innosight Institute, blended learning has been grouped into six distinct models that vary by teacher role, physical space, delivery methods and scheduling.
Upside Learning, 2009 This model is a conversion of an instructor-led, 8 month leadership development programme to a blended learning programme, based on applying web tools to given elements over time. Things can get complicated!
Center for Teaching and Learning, University of Texas Derek Bruff/Coursera A model for blended learning that’s gaining some momentum is the ‘flipped classroom’ – where learners listen to pre-recorded video lectures before class and perform other learning activities in class.
Traditional (0%) Delivered entirely faceto-face. Any resources or handouts are printed. Web Facilitated (1 to 29%) Blended or Hybrid (30 to 79%) The majority is taught face-to-face, with resources made available online, or where the syllabus or assignments are posted online. Substantial proportion of the content is delivered online, typically via online discussion groups alongside face-to-face sessions, for practicals and group work. Online or Flipped (80+%) A course where most or all of the content is delivered online. Blending In: The Extent and Promise of Blended Education in the United States (Allen, 2007) A useful way of modelling blended learning is to see it as a continuum - from ‘traditional’ face-to-face delivery all the way to online or ‘flipped’.
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