What does blended education look like?

Blended Learning

Blended education has been an integral part of the pandemic. But what does blended education look like? Then read on soon!

Hey teacher, nice to see you! Lately, you've probably had to make all kinds of twists and turns to move your super fun interactive lessons from the classroom to the internet. In any case, this has caused a lot of changes.

During this transition, you may have already read a thing or two about digital education. You may also have already experienced the advantages and disadvantages of studying online yourself. Hopefully, by now, you have found a way to motivate your students to actively participate in online education. You may even already be using a electronic learning environment!

It is undeniable that, as a lecturer, you have to be extremely flexible these days. After all, you never know exactly when you can start teaching physically again. This can vary from month to month. And that is why blended education is extremely suitable, especially in this day and age! But what is it exactly?

Blended education is a form of education where synchronous and asynchronous learning interventions are combined so that they reinforce each other and together lead to higher learning outcomes.

By synchronous learning intervention, we mean that a group of students learn the same material at the same time. As is the case during a live lecture. By asynchronous learning intervention, we mean that a group of students can decide for themselves when they will learn. An example of this is a pre-recorded webinar.

Attention! Blended education is therefore different from hybrid education.

Hybrid tuition distinguishes between distance teaching and on-site teaching.

What does blended education look like?

The great thing is that most people prefer this blended education structure over fully online or offline education! The advantage of blended learning is because students can go through the online part in their own time via their own device. For example, they are not tied to a location. As a lecturer, this offers you the opportunity to train a large group of people at the same time.

You can then use the online learning moment to provide everyone with basic knowledge. So that you have much more time for personal guidance during offline learning moments. And you get the opportunity to go in-depth!

Other benefits include the interim contact moments via email, social media platforms or live video. As a result, participants' progress is continuously monitored. And the course material can be adapted in the meantime to the speed and level of knowledge of the participants. As a lecturer, this gives you an awful lot of insight into how people perform!

However, both students and trainers were not always enthusiastic about this mix of online and classroom learning. In the beginning, teachers, for example, were still unsure how to use the possibilities of digital learning. They often turned existing course material into a completely asynchronous learning experience, without making the necessary adjustments.

That is a missed opportunity. After all, we see that students learn very differently online than during a classroom lesson, which is why it is necessary to adapt the subject matter accordingly.

Fortunately, people now know better. The Internet is for the masses and holds fewer and fewer secrets. For example, more use is being made of various e-learning trends to enrich e-learning. Like simulation games and live video.

Learn more about digital tools? Read this blog!

TPACK blended learning model

Today, we'll tell you a little bit about a strategy that you can apply if you blended education is going to design. Because, the big question is actually: Which learning interventions are you going to treat in class? Which ones are you going to facilitate online? And which subject matter is better suited to an asynchronous learning intervention? And for a synchronous one?

To make a choice here, it is useful to take into account three pillars:

  1. Contents
  2. Didactics
  3. Technics

These pillars are based on the Tpack model, which is used to integrate ICT into education.

The starting point of this model is that teachers must have knowledge about the content of the course material, how to disseminate that knowledge and the technique that you can use to do this. As a teacher, you must have knowledge in each of these areas. This is a prerequisite for giving effective blended education.

The 3 pillars of blended education

1. Contents

This refers to the subject content. Or the topic you want to share your knowledge about. Think about certain concepts, theories, or mechanisms that you want your students to understand and know after your lesson. To give a better picture of the three pillars, we provide a concrete example.

Suppose you want your students to get basic knowledge about how the brain stores information. You want them to understand this process globally and to be able to relate everyday situations to it. As a lecturer, you know that the brain transmits signals to certain areas of the brain via the senses. Including areas of the brain involved in memory.

Here we are talking about the subject content. Time to think about how you want to spread the knowledge.

2. Didactics

The didactics are about why and how you want to convey that knowledge. What do you ultimately want to achieve with it? It is highly recommended to specify learning objectives in this phase. These are goals that tell the student what the student should be able to or know after following you offline or online lesson. A learning goal can occur at different levels. It is useful that you indicate for each subject which learning objective suits it. And which level best suits this.

According to Bloom's taxonomy, these are the different levels:

  • Create
  • Evaluate
  • analyzing
  • Apply
  • understanding
  • Remember

For you blended lesson it's important to know what you expect from your students. Because if you want them to create something, for example, is it more effective to do this online or offline? What if they need to understand something? Or remember? Based on your learning goal and your own insight, you make a choice.

It is good to mention that a good lesson often involves multiple levels! After all, that represents a rich learning experience :-)

A common blended learning model is a form where students learn the theory at home and try to make this knowledge “their own” in the lesson. Through videos and e-learning, for example, they learn what important concepts and theories mean. Later, they go into the classroom through social learning discuss the themes learned with each other, or they create a word web with all kinds of things that they associate with the theories discussed.

So, take a good look at which learning goal is better to pursue offline, or better designed online. And whether, of course, the learning experience will be synchronous or asynchronous.

To come back to our example about the brain, we are going to set a learning goal. For example: At the end of my lesson, the student can tell which 4 main brain regions are involved in a learning process and what function they fulfill. When we look at this, we see that this learning objective mainly relates to: remembering, understanding and applying. Perfect for a blended solution!

After all, remembering and understanding are more suitable for an online learning intervention. This is because one student remembers (and understands) certain material faster than the other. Fortunately, the internet allows students to learn at their own pace. So asynchronous. However, the level of application is more suitable for a synchronous, offline version. Students can go further there. Here, they will integrate the new knowledge with what they already know and discuss this with each other. For example, you can instruct them to physically depict the brain processes together. How fun!

3. Technology

On to technology. This is the point where blended education clearly differs from single classroom education! After all, you can make the subject content and how you want to promote it more powerful through ICT. So now that you know what you want to say and how you want to tell it, you can see if there is an online tool that can facilitate this.

You are probably already familiar with the concept of an electronic learning environment. Such a platform is aimed at combining learning with digital solutions. Pluvo is an example of an electronic learning environment. With Pluvo, you can use the authoring tool to build e-learnings that students can go through in their own time. In addition, using the Learning Management System, you can chat with students, view submission assignments and monitor progress. Pluvo also offers you many options for integrating digital learning tools, such as Kahoot, Mentimeter or PowerPoint.

Here you can read more about the electronic learning environment Pluvo!

Anyway, back to the brain...

Technology can help us by allowing students to learn at their own pace. One tool that you can use here is “personal learning lines”, based on conditions. Conditions are certain conditions that you attach to your e-learning. Thanks to conditions, you can design a learning path that asks test questions that check whether students have memorised and understood the content of the online training. Yes? Perfect! Then the student can move on to the next topic. Not yet? Then an additional lesson automatically opens, where the material is provided in a slightly different way.

After completing the lesson, the student is completely ready for the physical working group, where they will work synchronously to actually apply the knowledge. So you can see that this way you can perfectly match the subject content, didactics and technology. And that this way you get the most out of your blended learning path You can pick it up!

Hopefully, this will inspire you to getting started with blended education. By translating your lessons into online training courses, you are not only very flexible as a teacher, but also very innovative! And that's what the new generation loves :-)

Curious about Pluvo? You can try it out for free!
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