Four Blended Learning Models
Educators are constantly striving to find new and innovative ways to educate their students, and blended learning is among the newest concepts being adopted. Blended learning combines the traditional classroom model with other modes of learning, such as online and mobile learning.
Blended learning is not really a new concept in education; there have been forms of this type of learning around for decades. “Teleclasses,” where students watch a lecture on closed-circuit television, has been in existence for a long time, and the same can be said for self-paced learning. Although the combinations are almost limitless, there are four major styles which are most adopted currently. Rotation, Flex, Self-blended and Enhanced Virtual models are enjoying high levels of success.
Designed for a single class, the rotational model divides a student’s learning into part traditional classroom instruction and part virtual learning, such as online learning. The teacher sets a schedule for the course and the students rotate through the instruction modules.
This method has a teacher on-site who instructs students from a distance, usually via the Internet. Each student has a customized curriculum and they can get one-on-one assistance either online or by going to the brick-and-mortar school and working with their teacher. This model works well for pupils who are good students but have difficulties functioning in a traditional classroom setting. Single courses or a complete school curriculum can be presented in this manner.
Students combine a traditional learning environment with a virtual model. Some classes might require classroom instruction or a onsite lab, while other courses might be taught completely in a virtual environment. For schools that are completely virtual, there is some tweaking taking place which will help at-risk students who might not have the self-discipline or needed support system to complete all their coursework in this manner.
This is the most common method being used in schools. Students can choose the courses they want to take and the time it takes to complete them. The coursework is completely self-paced. Many schools have switched to this method to increase the amount of courses they can provide, such as advanced placement, additional language offerings or remedial assistance for students who need additional help in an area of study. Because this model is based on individual classes and not an entire curriculum, it is easier to integrate into an existing curriculum.
All four of these models have two important factors in common. These factors allow for students to process and learn material in a way that best suits them, and teachers are required to lay the foundation on which students learn. Teachers provide the topic and the critical thinking skills and the students apply these in ways that will help them retain the information. A student who can find a practical application for information is more likely to retain the information than a student who simply memorizes the information as a fact needed to pass an exam.
As we become more technologically advanced, more school districts will most likely adopt some form of hybrid learning. Studies show that students who are allowed to control the method in which they are taught retain more of the information presented to them. This, in turn, creates students who are better prepared to handle the demands of college and beyond.