Blended learning is a hybrid of online learning and the face-to-face classroom experience. Historically traditional learning system and distributed learning systems have been separate models of teaching and learning. With distributed learning systems, the role of computer-based technologies is emphasized (2004, Bonk & Graham). However, “blended learning is more than enhancing lectures,” and this educational design requires a new approach to teaching and learning. As educators we have to rethink the design of the educational environment and learning experience (2010, Azaiza).
With blended learning, comes the hope of the opportunity of students to “engage their professors and peers in critical discourse” (2010, Azaiza). As educators we struggling to ?nd the time and means to engage students in meaningful learning activities. With that being said, 83% of higher education instructors use the lecture as the predominant teaching strategy. Blended learning necessitates teaching and learning to move from a more transmissive environment to an interactive environment.
Why use blended learning in higher education? Some studies indicated that blended learning approaches increase the level of active learning strategies, peer-to-peer learning strategies, and learner centered strategies used (Hartman, Dziuban, & Moskal, 1999). For a successful blended course learning environment to exist, motivation, communication, and course design must be present (2012, King & Arnold).
Disadvantages do exist for instructors and students. Students unfamiliar with online education may struggle with the technology during the first few weeks of the course. An online course can foster a lack of student motivation. Students can be caught unaware of the amount of time that an online course requires. Finally, teachers must commit an extensive amount of time preparing and teaching an online course.
Technology does provide education without time and space constraints and can improve the quality of higher education. For more information on how you can use the tools available in Canvas to support a blended learning environment, view the Prezi on Blended Course Leaning and Canvas.
Azaiza, K. (2010). Blended Learning in Higher Education: Framework,
Principles, and Guidelines. Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 11(4),
Bonk, C. J. & Graham, C. R. (Eds.) (2004). (in press). Handbook of blended learning: Global Perspectives, local designs. San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer Publishing.
Hartman, C., Dziuban, P., & Moskal, J. . (1999). Higher education, blended learning, and the generations: Knowledge is power no more. Retrieved from http://www.sc.edu/cte/dziuban/doc/blendedlearning.pdf
King, S. E., & Arnold, K. (2012). Blended Learning Environments in Higher Education: A Case Study of How Professors Make It Happen. Mid- Western Educational Researcher, 25(1-2), 44-59.