There is a good reason for thinking that exclusively digital solutions are the way forward. They negate the need for location specific interaction, free up time and can be altered and changed according to the needs at the time. However, nothing beats the warmth of human interaction, whether with the teacher or with fellow students in the more traditional learning environments, it’s good to have someone there in your vicinity to guide you, offer advice and just generally be there as support. The term “blended learning” was then born in this digitalisation era. To have a more detailed look at the history of blended learning, check out Learn NC‘s explanation in http://www.learnnc.org/lp/pages/6722
Blended learning takes the best parts from both digital and the more traditional learning environment to give a much more holistic approach to the students’ learning toolkit. With the wealth of information available online, it makes sense to make it available for both teachers and students for their own independent use and then integrate it into the contact lessons. This allows the students and the teachers to have multiple perceptions to the topics approached and therefore gain a wider understanding on the role of learning and education in today’s society.
Blended learning benefits both the teacher and the student. Here are some key points:
Gives more autonomy – Students are given more responsibility and flexibility over their learning path, including their learning pace (within reason). The ability to access information and E-learning materials can help focus on goals and provide them with skills to take charge of their learning path which can translate into valuable life skills well into the rest of their life.
Keeps students interested – It’s much easier to retain information when one is interested and this is no less true of students. If they are engaged and excited about what they are learning, they are more likely to both retain the information and even become interested in subjects that they may have found tedious beforehand.
Instantaneous information, diagnostics and feedback – This works on both sides of the coin. Students are able to access information from a near limitless supply online, get feedback on progress and be able to collaborate both with teachers and fellow students through email, chat rooms and messaging. For teachers, they can have regular contact with the students as well as instantaneously give feedback, analyse results and access information online for their own purposes. This instantaneous aspect has a very positive influence on the issue of time and location restraints.