Most people believe that learning is dependent on how well a teacher can teach. What nearly all teachers understand is that you cannot teach someone who is unwilling to learn. Since children are inherently curious and eager to find out more about their surroundings, it is often the fault of uninteresting lessons that kill their desire to learn. Fortunately, we now have blended learning methods that help makes lessons engaging.
Traditional methods of imparting knowledge have either been oral or written. Most scriptures, fairy tales, myths, and legends were passed down orally as lessons. Eventually, we learned to write these lessons down and began learning from these written materials.
Oral or written methods usually relied on a teacher orally reciting the lesson, or reading from a book, and explaining. If one student out of the many did not understand or memorise the lesson with the rest of the class, he would usually be left behind. This was to ensure that the students who had understood didn’t have to waste time or slow down to let other children catch up.
The obvious disadvantage of this method was that it did not take into account the needs of children who might have benefited from a different way of explaining. For example, a teacher might orally explain a concept. The students who are good with aural learning would obviously understand better than students who understand better when they see a visual.
Some students might grasp a concept in mathematics very quickly, while others need to work out problems before they ‘get’ it. Traditional book learning has not been effective with students who need more than just a chapter in a book being orally explained once or twice by the teacher.
Similarly, certain students might lose interest early on if they find the lesson boring. They would require a more stimulating approach to keep their interest. If they miss out on comprehending a crucial bit of information, they would find the rest of the lesson impossible to understand. This would make it even more tedious for them to keep up.
There are teachers who go the extra mile, of course, and ensure that they explain the lesson in different ways so that everyone understands. However, it still means that some students get ‘left behind’. Blended learning is the perfect solution to keeping all students engaged and at the same pace.
What is Blended Learning?
Blended learning, as the name suggests, involves teaching with different media. Unlike online learning, where the entire course may be conducted online, blended learning takes place in a classroom as well as online. However, instead of relying solely on a textbook for explaining the lesson, digital media are also used.
For example, in a biology class, the textbook information may be complemented with videos, interactive diagrams, and more. This makes learning more engaging for everyone and different forms of explanation means the lesson is understood by everyone.
What are the Advantages of Blended Learning?
Blended learning offers advantages that neither traditional nor online learning offer. In addition to the obvious advantages the students get, one of which is mentioned above, it has something for everyone.
Advantages Blended Learning Offers The Institution:
Blended learning can help institutions manage space issues. Since certain lessons can be explained online, this frees up classroom space. Because of the availability of digital media that students can access at home, they don’t need to be in class to practice their lessons.
It lessens the human resource burden. Blended learning makes it possible for the same number of students to be catered to by a fewer number of teachers. Since classroom sizes are growing the world over, without blended learning, institutions would have had to increase the number of teachers. Now, the ‘digital teacher’ can assist the class teacher with the lessons.
Since blended learning increases the engagement of the learner with interactive lessons and even gamification, students perform better. This obviously adds to the institution’s reputation.
Advantages Blended Learning Offers To The Teachers:
In today’s overcrowded classrooms, teachers get a virtual assistant with most blended learning tools. It is no longer necessary for them to go over a point again and again. Once they have explained it, the students can interact with the digital media to get a deeper understanding. This way, teachers can focus on what’s important – conceptualisation.
It also frees up the teachers to move around the class and pay attention to students who are struggling. While the quicker students can move on ahead with digital lessons, students who need extra coaching can be given more attention. This means no one has to slow their pace or rush the pace of their learning just because they’re in a classroom.
Advantages Blended Learning Offers To The Students:
Students, perhaps, have the most to gain from blended learning. As mentioned earlier, blended learning ensures they learn better at their own pace. They can do practice exercises as many times as they want or they can choose to speed through if they feel they already know the subject. Furthermore, the digital component also adds mobility i.e. the students can bush up on subjects while in transit or even at home.
Since lessons are made fun through gamification or interactive formats, it becomes less a boring class and more an interesting experience for students. Panworld Education, for example, offers a range of products from Sanoma. One of these products is Young Digital Planet which covers the K-12 syllabus in an interesting and engaging way.
Lessons for younger students are made especially engaging. The bright and colorful images teach young children their lessons via games. Science and maths are explained with interactive lessons that convert subjects that most students find boring into interesting challenges.
This method helps them understand how different concepts in different subjects relate to each other. For example, in traditional learning, chemistry and biology are taught separately. With blended learning, the interactive lessons would link lessons learned in both classes. This enhances the students’ understanding of broader concepts and real world applications.
The best part about blended learning for students is the fact that it combines the best of traditional and digital learning. This way, they get interaction with a teacher and additional help with their lesson from online media.
Another thing that blended learning offers in addition to the lessons is the fact that it teaches children how to use technology. It teaches them that computers and the internet don’t just have to be toys to be played with but that they can actually be tools to sharpen one’s mind.
It is obvious that blended learning can do a lot for all parties concerned in making education better. It improves performance of the institution, the teachers, and the students. The concept of interactive blended learning is gaining more traction as its efficacy is becoming more widespread. This form of learning is indeed the next step in the learning evolution.