Technology continues to transform today’s classrooms. And teaching methods have changed to fit the expectations, learning styles, and interests of students. Today, blended learning is fast becoming a preferred teaching strategy for all grade levels. It's popular because it effectively combines the benefits of traditional instruction with online learning.
Blended learning has many benefits, whether it’s cutting overhead costs or using online examine practice to lower test anxiety. Here are six reasons you need to implement blended learning into your classroom.
1. Studies Show Students Learn Better
A recent study from the University of Iowa found evidence that blended learning was more effective for undergraduates than classroom lecture or online learning alone. Associate professor Jennifer Rogers explained the results: more than 95% of students enrolled in the blended course section earned a grade of C- or more compared to 82% in the lecture classroom sections and 81% enrolled online only.
The big takeaway from the Iowa study is that blended learning facilitates the flow of information between students and instructors. Classroom lecture and online learning, Rodgers explained, are unidirectional: Information typically flows one way. In contrast, blended learning offers more bidirectional information flow, “fostering conversations not only between the instructor and students but among the students themselves.”
2. It Promotes Student Ownership of Learning
By shifting some learning responsibilities away from the teacher, blended learning promotes student autonomy and ownership of learning. Through remote eLearning, students are trained to set and manage their own learning goals. Also, blended learning promotes this academic responsibility while keeping the supervision needed for support.
Because blended learning uses online apps and programs to teach concepts, students can learn at their own pace. It also lets students work at their current level of understanding. Slower learning students can repeat and review exercises as many times as needed. Faster learners can move ahead at a quicker pace.
3. It Prepares Students for a Tech-Centered World
By integrating technology, teachers can better prepare students for future careers and civic lives. Today’s businesses often want employees who know how to use online learning resources and how to collaborate and learn outside the office. Blended learning can help students build these desirable skills for the future.
Blended learning also helps students learn to evaluate online resources. With “fake news” becoming a reality, media literacy is a necessary skill for effective citizenship. It can also teach responsible online research by requiring students to identify and check reputable sources.
4. Blended Learning Cuts Costs
From an administrative point of view, blended learning is a good investment because it maximizes the cost savings gained from online learning. Blended learning can reduce the need for school-based facility costs, building repairs, and maintenance. Instead, students are using their own homes and public spaces like coffee shops more often.
It can also reduce costs by shifting some instructional responsibilities to computers. Less burden on instructors could mean a higher teacher-to-student ratio and more effective use of time. Admins can shift these savings in overhead and staff to investments in after-school programs, extracurricular activities, and enrichment programs.
5. Blended Learning Increases Collaboration
Through blended learning, students can meet with instructors and other students whenever and wherever. And instructors can find better ways to collaborate with each other. Team teaching is much easier in an online environment, and instructors can leverage subject matter experts from anywhere in the world.
Students and teachers can collaborate better in groups with blended learning. Each student has the flexibility to work within their schedule and with anyone they want. And with online projects, there is more transparency because the entire group can see the progress. This could decrease the situations where one or two students do all the work while others watch.
6. Keeps Students More Interested and Engaged
Blended learning can keep students more engaged by introducing technology into the learning process. Some students find online apps and software more interesting than standard face-to-face approaches. Blended learning can break up the monotony of the traditional classroom by introducing information and concepts in different contexts.
Sure, technology can be a distraction, but it can also present information in new and exciting ways. It can transform subjects that students find boring into exciting areas to explore with interactive software, 3D animations, and video games.