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Blended learning is a concept that has been around since the early 2000s. But as a pedagogy, it is more important than ever, especially with the shift of education 2.0 to education 3.0. With new forms of EdTech being developed all the time, blended learning and the use of this technology has transformed how students learn.
Education 3.0 refers to a change in paradigms, where teachers are no longer at the forefront of education. Instead, education is focusing on student-centered learning with teachers acting as a mentor rather than an instructor. This is all possible thanks to blended learning strategies, high-functioning EdTech, and other forms of technological developments that benefit students.
But how exactly does this new era of education change the way we learn and teach? This detailed breakdown of blended learning will give you everything you need as a teacher, administrator, IT director, or student to ensure that you are a part of this golden moment in education.
Keep reading on to learn about blended learning and what it means to a new era of education. Or see ViewSonic’s education solutions to learn about other key solutions for Education 3.0.
Blending learning is not the only prompt for changes in education. Believe it or not, education has changed a lot throughout history. These changes are more than just new government policies or local suggestions for your unique school district.
New trends in education are often the result of advancements in technology and more refined understanding of educational theories.
Just like the Industrial Revolution, we are in the 3rd period of education. While there are no set-in-stone dates for when the educational change occurred, many sources note that Education 3.0 is marked by the complete shift of teacher-centered learning to student-centered learning that happened sometime in the early to mid-2000s.
Whether it be a newer theory like hybrid learning, or simply using computers in class remotely, allowing students the opportunity to use technology has vastly changed their learning experience. Students are now given opportunities to self-study, research, share among their peers, and even talk to people across the globe. The amount of information we can access now is truly unlimited.
Blended learning is an approach of education in which students learn using both online and offline curricula in addition to traditional in-person classes supplemented or reinforced with technology. The exact mix of how much online, offline, or technology you use varies by your school’s curriculum.
Blended learning is quickly becoming popular in many different schools and educational institutes. These changes come in different forms whether they are necessary changes or ones related to the shift of education 2.0 to education 3.0 with more student-centered learning.
Some people argue that we are still in education 2.0 despite the huge leaps in technology. This is because unfortunately, technology is not accessible to all people in the world for a variety of reasons. Until these barriers are broken down for all people, we will continue to see teacher-centered pedagogies of learning.
None the less, blended learning is a valuable tool that can help create better learning and development for students. Making the change to student-centered learning is highly important and has many great benefits to the learning process of students.
But before we can tell you all the wonderful benefits of blended learning, there are still a few things you need to know.
Like the rest of society, education is always evolving in response to the ever-changing cultural and technologicial landscape. This journey began in the teacher-centered, lecture-based education that seems so old-fashioned now. It is leading us towards a brave new world of virtual environments and A.I.-driven personalized education.
So to know where we are, it’s important to know where we have been and get an idea of where we are going.
One teacher lectures many students like an information assembly line. This is teacher-centered lessons in which students are all treated the same.
Teachers still impart knowledge that students then digest and collaborate to fully comprehend. Students are conisidered equals.
Students guide their own education via online self-study with teachers acting as guides or mentors. Students are recognized as diverse in their abilities.
Technologies such as A.I. and machine learning personalize learning plans for individual students. Teachers play only a minor role as learning counselors.
Blended learning can be utilized in different ways. To explain further, blended learning can rely on theories of education heavily influenced by technology. Not all methods or strategies for blended learning remove the teacher or traditional methods like some approaches may. Other forms of blended learning may simply use technology so that student progress can be tracked, for example.
There are three different ways you can potentially implement blended learning into your curriculum. You may use distance learning, hybrid learning, or flipped classroom. Which one you decide is best for you depends on your specific school situation.
Distance learning is any form of remote education where the student is not physically present for the lesson. This means that both the teacher and the student are in different locations, whether it be home, different types of educational institutes, or any location equipped with WI-FI.
The basic idea of distance learning is that students are distanced from the physical area of learning and taught using only online methods. Sometimes, this can be done where there are more traditional teaching methods present as well. In education 3.0, it is very common to see forms of distance learning where teachers simply live-steam themselves using a teacher-centered approach as if the students are physically in the classroom.
Distance learning is great for many different needs of various types of students. Distance learning is also one of the easier methods to adopt because all students are not in person, meaning it can be treated like you may imagine an online college course would be.
Therefore, students are allowed flexibility within their schedules as well as opportunities to address issues that may occur with the pacing expectation. They can easily be provided with extra assignments, videos, or any other materials they may need to review on their own time. It also can relieve students of geographical boundaries like remote locations or strict district laws or that prevent families from district hopping due to preference in living areas.
Hybrid learning refers to synchronous learning that teaches both in-person and online learners simultaneously. This means that in-class students and students at other locations are learning at the exact same time and can actively collaborate.
Hybrid learning means you teach students who are physically in the classroom while other students are at home or other learning spaces. Hybrid learning is sometimes hard to define as it is easily interchanged with blended learning. However, it is important to note that they are not the same.
Hybrid learning can also be similar to distance learning in that you can use teacher-centered approaches, but it is important to note that hybrid learning tends to be more tech-oriented in order to create a more inclusive and engaging classroom experience. This means with hybrid learning, teachers aim to create a cohesive and connected educational ecosystem that mimics the goals of education 3.0, which are more self-regulated and student-centered learning.
Most importantly, hybrid learning is great for breaking down educational boundaries. With the option of in-class learning, it is much easier to give students who require face-to-face interactions more time, as well as more considerations for those who face poverty and locational difficulties. Plus, this model can accommodate a wide range of other specialized needs or circumstances from illness to reduced mobility.
Flipped classrooms refer to the reversal of traditional teaching methods where students learn at home and then do homework assignments or labs in class for reinforcement on the topic. This means students are practicing self-teaching skills and independence in their learning.
Flipped classrooms allow students to learn core materials via self-study typically using online content. Then when attending class, teachers are there for guidance rather than lecturing. The class is then conducted and led by students collaborating to problem-solve and create.
Flipped classroom is simply reversing the roles of students and teachers and during what part of the learning process they play their roles.
But it is also important to note that there is a term called flipped learning. Flipped learning refers to converting group learning spaces into individual learning spaces so that more methodologies can be implemented in the classroom. It is similar that student-teacher roles are flipped but flipped learning and flipped classroom are NOT interchangeable.
Using a flipped classroom is possible for any age but may work best with older learners. This is because there is quite a bit of responsibility placed on the student if you are using strictly online content. Parents may also need to be more responsible for guidance if you choose to use a flipped classroom for young learners, which pose a challenge to some households.
Metacognitive ability refers to thinking about one’s thinking. Our metacognitive abilities are essentially our critical thinking and critical awareness skills when it comes to ourselves and the situations around us. It means we can self-reflect and analyze based upon that reflection.
Blended learning is great for promoting metacognitive ability because it is interactive and challenging. If done correctly, blended learning builds upon core curricula by adding the element of soft and hard skills in a cohesive learning space.
Therefore, a writing activity is more than just putting words to paper. It can also involve a wide range of other activities including setting up alarms or reminders, using a word processor, and navigating software to submit the assignment. And even more importantly, they must learn things like communication and collaborative skills using online tools much earlier than usual.
Blended learning is more than just using technology to help teachers make lessons more effective. Technology enables teachers to utilize student-centered learning and begin to build the benefits related to metacognitive abilities.
When using traditional teacher-centered learning, oftentimes teachers or parents act as a student’s metacognitive voice. We help them make decisions based on their experience and feelings. We tell them things like it is better to go to bed at 10 pm rather than 2 am because otherwise, they will be tired.
Though many children can experience this for themselves and reflect that, yes, my parents were right, I feel less tired when I go to bed at 10 pm rather than 2 am. Sometimes they just need guidance or suggestions.
Helping a student develop strong metacognitive abilities allows for each student to display their unique personalities and skillsets with confidence. Metacognitive ability can also be broken down into three subsets such as self-regulation, self-importance, and self-learning skills. All skills that give students complete control of their learning process.
Self-learning means that students can learn without strict guidance on the material. Teachers act as mentors while students collect skills or information by themselves.
Students can formulate ideas and knowledge without strict structures like memorization or call-and-answer. Self-learning can also be promoted in group settings as well.
Self-importance means that students have confidence in themselves. However, self-importance is more than just confidence. Fostering self-importance in a student means fostering their creativity.
Creating an environment for students to easily share and collaborate is key. Self-importance means that students are willing to take learning into their own hands and be confident enough to share their opinion and ideas.
Self-regulation means that the student can determine elements of their learning environment on their own. This means they can do things like creating appropriate pacing and schedules to their needs.
Good self-regulation indicates to students whether they study better at night versus the day or which subjects may need more time. They will also be able to pick out things like their unique learning style, environment, or ideal teaching strategy.
When developing a blended learning curriculum, a helpful benchmark to use is the three main types of learners: auditory, visual, and kinetic. Keep in mind, that these ideas are a little outdated and many students are a mix of all three or something completely different. But using these learning styles as general guidelines can help you create a wide range of lesson plans based on your curriculum to fit a variety of needs.
Auditory learners may learn best by listening and speaking. This means the student comprehends and learns best with instruction or information spoken and sometimes repeated.
Some strategies these students will use may be audio recording and reading aloud. Technology is extremely beneficial for auditory learners because of audio recording, text-to-speech, and hybrid learning options for asynchronous learning.
Visual learners may learn best by seeing information. This means that students who are visual learners are great at processing information by copying, rewriting, and reorganizing words to fit their idea.
Visual learners may use strategies like association and assignment of ideas and tasks with images. Technology allows quick graph creation, mind-mapping, and imageboards that can be great for association strategies.
Kinetic learners, also sometimes referred to as tactile learners, learn best by doing. You may also hear these students like “hands-on” activities. They typically learn best not by simply listening or writing but by putting the concepts in practical applications.
Teacher-centered approaches are difficult for these students to use but thankfully with technology and new pedagogy, these kinetic learners are more accommodated. Flipped classrooms may be ideal for these types of students since lectures and homework are not the primary focus of their learning experience.
Blended learning allows for all three types of education to become connected. For example, a student can attend regular formal classes, participate in a lab that aims to create communities for the homeless, then take their guitar lessons – all from either the comfort of their home or in person at a place of learning! While we will mainly see blended learning used in the formal setting, it is clear how it can help students become more regulated in their selves and have availability to more forms of education as well.
Formal education is made up of traditional educational institutes like public schools, private schools, and universities. Formal education is marked by structure, meaning that as each student ages or progressed in grade level, they learn the next concept.
Informal education is often a supplement to the standard formal education or a continuation. Many forms of informal education are found in the adolescent learning sphere with volunteering and internships. Informal education provides diversity in methods and content meaning without the burden of a hierarchical structure. Learning in informal settings is often via spontaneous forms of learning.
Non-formal education is the education we receive from life experience. Extracurricular activities like sports programs, band, or other community-based groups are non-formal education. Non-formal is not usually spontaneous in nature but not necessarily structureless. Instead, education is more open-ended and personalized to a student’s life journey.
ViewSonic Education SolutionsViewSonic is commited to improving the state of education with holistic visual solutions.
Blended learning as it is applied could use a multitude of different hardware types or just a couple of basics. These can be personal devices like projectors and tablets all the way to front-of-the-room interactive whiteboards and even virtual reality.
Most new high-tech devices can be used in an educational setting but that does not mean it is the easiest option for you to use. You should also consider what are the functions of the technology as well as its limitations.
These are some of the common hardware you may see in blended learning:
Computers are common in most traditional classrooms.
Computers are great for note-taking, writing, and independent research. They are also useful for gamification and connectivity with other classmates or keeping contact with teachers or other types of instructors.
Their drawbacks can be that they are normally harder to carry around, especially for small students, and there are some educational drawbacks to using computers such as lower handwriting abilities and lower retention of information if not used properly.
Tablets are great for personalized learning needs. While they can function as a computer, they are not as versatile or as powerful if you need to run certain complicated software.
Tablets are a great option for students in blended learning, but there are also other portable options for those who might need more powerful devices. Portable monitors are a great solution for students who need a powerful solution such as a computer but might find it difficult to work completely on a laptop.
Interactive Whiteboards refer to a catch-all term for large-format displays that respond to real-time actions on their surfaces, allowing them to act as whiteboards, multi-media displays, and touchscreen devices. Because of their versatility, schools all over the world are making the shift to an interactive whiteboard in the classroom.
Interactive whiteboards can serve two main purposes in education. They can be a tool for teacher-centered learning as well as a tool for student-centered learning.
Projectors are great for projecting data, information, and student projects, as well as collaboration and gamification. For relatively small devices, projectors are able to produce huge pictures under the right conditions.
What is even better, is that projectors are typically some of the cheapest EdTech around. Projectors are an affordable option to implement more collaborative functions within the classroom.
Assistive Technology (AT) is any device, piece of equipment, or system that helps to enhance lives and accommodate people with certain needs. AT is used primarily in special education but can function in general education as well. Used correctly, most devices can be used as assistive technology.
Learning how to use common EdTech in other ways is important for creating an accessible classroom that ensures blended learning is an equal learning opportunity.
Always work with the student, therapists, doctors, or other specialists to find apps and creative ways to accommodate accordingly.
Smartphones are a valuable option for EdTech solutions in blended learning. However, they are the riskiest when it comes to distractions in the classroom. But smartphones shouldn’t be overlooked when it comes to integrating technology with learning.
Smartphones, if utilized properly, can be an accessible option for students to share, be creative, learn a language, or anything else their hearts desire. This is because of their large selection of creative and free educational apps. And most programs like Google Suite or Microsoft Office offer mobile versions as well.
Augmented and Virtual Reality is an important part of education 3.0.
Augmented reality (AR) refers to the potential to change location, timing, and add additional methods of learning within the physical experience.
Virtual reality (VR) refers to hardware and software that allow for simulations that can mirror real-world experiences.
The benefit of using AR and VR is that they allow teachers to easily create more engaging forms of learning. Not to mention, certain forms of augmented reality are easily sharable meaning students outside of the classroom can have the same educational experiences without the need to be present in class.
ViewBoardsAdvanced interactive whiteboards
MonitorsVersatile monitors for education
ProjectorsTeaching the big picture
DisplaysMulti-purpose displays that work
Blended learning can use a multitude of different software. Most often, teachers will probably find themselves using a mix of software. These can be things like authoring systems used for instructional use, educational games, software used for homework or design, special needs software, and even what is called a learning management system (LMS for short).
Digital whiteboarding refers to the software used to create an interactive whiteboard but in a digital format. This means we can use digital whiteboarding to write, annotate, create, and otherwise engage students in lessons similarly to using a physical whiteboard.
Digital whiteboarding allows for more creativity and collaboration all connected from a single device.
Virtual Classrooms are online spaces that simulate a live classroom. Usually, these lessons are synchronous with the educator and the learners all appearing at the same time for the online space.
In some cases, however, virtual classrooms can also be pre-recorded lessons and other features that allow for student flexibility.
Learning Management Systems (LMS) refer to the software used for administration, documentation, tracking, delivery of lessons or courses, and so much more.
These systems can also have things like development programs or training courses. They are quite common in the business world, too.
Content Curation means having different forms of media related to a student’s needs or certain subjects. A great example of this is educational video platforms. Videos are a great resource for many teachers.
Whether this content is curated by other teachers or by the software creator, having it is key for successful learning experiences.
myViewBoardA complete software ecosystem built with teachers in mind
Blended learning can be as simple as putting a laptop in the classroom or as complex as entirely replacing live lessons with online content. However, without proper planning and useful strategies, blended learning can have a negative impact on student development and academic performance.
Making sure your curriculum is blended learning-ready is a necessary part to ensure you enjoy all the benefits of Education 3.0. Setting milestones and expectations for general education and developmental skills is important, but you also need to set milestones for technical use as well.
If you are ready to make the shift to blended learning but aren’t sure where to start, check out the blended learning curriculum guides down below to get insights that can help make your blended learning experience a success!
ViewSonic EducationViewSonic’s education solutions provide complete learning environments for all blended learning applications.
You should not implement blended learning suddenly but rather it should be a slow build so that you can best adapt to your social, economic, and educational boundaries.
Treat misuses of technology as standard disciplinary action for your school or institution. Since parts of blended learning are reliant on technology, you cannot completely remove technology as you would in traditional classroom rules.
The best type of blended learning to use is dependent on your students and school. You may use one type of blended learning or create a mixture.
Treat the issue just like any other academic challenge students might face.
Allow them a safe place to express their concerns but try not to bombard the student if you notice issues. Be as supportive as possible and allow them to feel they can approach you for solving issues related to blended learning or other areas such as home life or finances.
If you feel that your school can greatly benefit from blended learning, get in touch with your administrators, and bring a clear problem-solution outline sheet for them. Also consider reaching out to more resourceful schools for advice and potential sponsorships.
Consider providing your teachers with certificate courses or summer seminars to help your teachers fully utilize their EdTech solutions. Also, make sure to provide clear curriculums that demonstrate progressive learning that all teachers can be capable of.
On average, schools implement blended learning in 50-70% of their school curriculum.
You will need reliable hardware and software to begin using blended learning. What type of EdTech you want to use is dependent on your curriculum and school budget.
A single interactive whiteboard can run anywhere from $2,000 and up. Be aware, there are also hidden cost such as software fees, installation, licensed programs, maintenance, or other fees associated.
To learn more about adapting current curriculum, check out the blended learning curriculum guides for some insights on how you can adapt a traditional curriculum into one that utilizes blended learning.
Consider what will be the most effective but simplest setup possible. Choose hardware that has many functions rather than many single devices. This way it is easier for you to troubleshoot.
Work with your administrators to provide online training courses or summer seminars to help teachers. Also try to provide printable documents to help troubleshoot common technical issues for both teachers, students, and parents.
Maintaining cyber security is difficult and never certain because of hackers and data mishaps. Suggest to your admin to invest into licensed and well-known companies only.
Troubleshooting can be difficult to pinpoint. To ease stress on yourself, ask teachers and administrators to become educated themselves as well so that simple problems can be solved without your help.