Blended learning combines classroom instruction and online learning. Learning that takes place in a classroom is teacher-directed. The teacher interacts with the students face to face and controls the content and pace of the lesson. Despite common misconceptions, learning that takes place over Internet can also be teacher-directed. In online learning, teachers can give a lesson via a live webcast where students watch the teacher in real time on a computer screen. Teachers can also post lessons and make assignments that students complete on their own. The teacher still controls the content of the course and establishes final deadlines, but online learning allows students the freedom of choosing where, when, and how they learn.
Best of Both Worlds
With Blended learning, students benefit both from the traditional classroom method of instruction as well as a computer aided method. A student in a classroom receives direct instruction, participates in timed activities, and socializes in a group setting. Alternatively, students learning online can work in a comfortable environment of their choice, learn at their own pace, and manage their own time. Blended learning gives students the opportunity to receive the personal attention and discipline of classroom learning and at the same time to build independence through online learning.
Blended learning can be very effective for children in grades K-12. Because the online lessons and classroom course content complement one another, students are able to cover the necessary subject matter with limited classroom time. For example, students taking a Blended learning science class can complete the majority of their class work online by accessing course material, watching videocasts, and instant messaging or emailing their instructor with questions. This online instruction would be enhanced by in-class labs, providing the opportunity to do hands-on experiments under teacher supervision. By having to attend only the labs in a traditional classroom setting, students have greater flexibility in their schedules for attending other classes, studying, and socializing with their peers.
Students Practice Valuable Skills
Blended learning exposes students to working online and encourages them to advance their computer skills. With a curriculum, students use computers daily to participate in lessons, take quizzes and exams, and communicate with teachers and other students. By using such tools, students learn not only course material but also valuable real-world computer skills that will be necessary in the knowledge-based economy of their future.
At the same time, schools do not need to make a substantial financial investment to offer this advantage to their pupils. Companies such as IQity can provide the software and technology that makes Blended learning possible at a low per-pupil rate, requiring the school to have only the computers and an Internet connection.
Susan Bond is a part of IQ-ity.com - provider of a top-rated Learning Management System for schools seeking to teach courses online. IQity's LMS includes an online study guide for the Ohio Graduation Test (OGT). Ohio teachers can add a product review of OGT practice tools and help other teachers.