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The Rotation Model of Blended Learning Explained

Blended learning makes use of both online and offline education to work alongside traditional face-to-face teaching methods. One of the most popular is the rotation model of blended learning, which mixes face-to-face teaching with online learning, organized in a strictly structured manner.

Read on to find out more about the rotation model, why it offers certain advantages, and what you need to do to implement it. Or visit our education solutions page for more valuable insights and resources surrounding the modern classroom. 

Like other models of blended learning, the rotation model makes use of in-person teaching, often delivered in lecture theatres or classrooms, as well as online learning. What makes the rotation model distinct from other forms of blended learning is that it has a scheduled timetable fixed for each of the two education delivery methods. In other words, students will have a straightforwardly managed amount of time in the classroom that is complemented by a similarly managed schedule for online learning.

What is the Rotation Model of Blended Learning?

In this model, it is for the educator to decide how much time is spent in face-to-face learning and how much is spent online. That said, it is the idea that students rotate on a predetermined basis from one delivery method to the next that gives the rotation model of blended learning its name. Blended learning that is sometimes delivered in physical environments and sometimes as part of a virtual classroom set up with less or no structure would, consequently, not be considered to be following the rotation model.

It is important to note that the timetabled approach that makes the rotation model distinct does not mean that education professionals have little flexibility when adopting this approach. Indeed, there are numerous ways that the rotation model can be implemented, such as using station rotation, whereby students rotate in small groups for project work while also receiving individual tutoring.

The so-called flipped classroom approach can also work within the auspices of the rotation model, for example, by working on a given subject in the classroom and then asking students to do their own online research at home before presenting their findings in class after the next allotted rotation. Again, this approach allows for a great deal of flexibility. Students can receive set video-assisted learning modules from their teacher or do their own research from other online resources such as Google for Education.

In the end, there are three main characteristics of the rotation model that define it beyond the importance placed on the balanced scheduling of the model’s rotations. The first is that online teaching will be tailored to the student’s individual needs, something that is not always practical in large classroom settings. The second component is that collaborative work in small groups will be encouraged by teachers. The final one is that both independent and collaborative learning will feature in the rotation model.

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What are the Benefits of the Rotation Model?

Among the many benefits that are associated with the rotation model of blended learning is that it is suited to all types of students who have the basic ability to work a computer or tablet. The model’s primary aim is not to educate schoolchildren in IT skills but to encourage them to use their devices as a tool for learning, somewhere they can obtain resources on their own or through modules or games that their teacher has set for them. As such, it can be used from a secondary education level, right through to students undertaking postgraduate courses.

One of the rotation model’s key advantages is that it allows students to enjoy distinct learning experiences within each rotation. This does not simply break up their classroom time from their other learning as a change for change’s sake but allows students the chance to switch between collaborative learning to more independent modes of study. Some educationalists argue that this engages students more and – because it allows them to work at their own pace – it can help with improved learning outcomes compared to students who only follow one approach.

In addition, the individualized approach that is favored in the model helps teachers to tailor their educational programs to meet particular needs. Although classroom teaching may necessarily be delivered to larger groups, the online elements can and should be customized. This means that high flyers can be stretched without losing the attention of the class during face-to-face teaching sessions. Equally, students who have fallen behind can often catch up if their teacher takes appropriate steps with their choice of online educational modules.

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How to Implement a Rotation Model

In the rotation model of blended learning, students will each need a device capable of connecting to the internet in order to access the online coursework. Although offline devices can be used, networked ones are preferable for two reasons: Firstly, they allow students to share their work and ideas that are essential when they are working in small groups, and secondly, they allow students to submit their work for teachers to assess prior to their next classroom session.

Only relatively inexpensive computer equipment is needed to implement the rotation model, and it is even possible to do so – if necessary – with nothing more than smartphones. The choice of software is crucial, however, since it must be compatible with all of the operating systems that students may have. Also, coursework set using software must have some way for teachers to easily assess work when it is turned in by students or the rotation model will not be implemented fully.

Final Thoughts on the Rotation Model

The rotation model of blended learning provides a structure for students that is timetabled in a way that will meet many of their expectations from traditional educational delivery methods. That said, it provides teachers with a high level of adaptability to tailor their courses. It gives a balanced approach to blended learning and is relatively inexpensive and easy to adopt, even in educational establishments that have never delivered online learning before.

If you want to learn more about other models of blended learning, or how to adapt your curriculum today, check out our in-depth blended learning page. You can also find further classroom insights by visiting the ViewSonic education solutions page.