Professional Development

Blended learning: Problems and Prospects at the Higher Level

Sarah Mortimer

In this webinar, Mike McCarthy and Jeanne McCarten, authors of Touchstone 2nd edition, look briefly at general issues involved in blended learning programmes. They also focus on particular problems in creating a fully blended programme for higher level learners, especially issues connected with methodology and the teaching of speaking.

What is blended learning? Blended learning is using a combination of print and online materials, in class and in an online, self-study environment. Print materials, books and CDs are used in class, and the online environment provides students with lots of materials they can use for self-study. Fully-blended materials are materials that deliver the same learning outcomes when used in print and online. Another term used in conjunction with blended learning is the flipped classroom. This is where students do the learning outside of the classroom and the class time is used for practise and troubleshooting.

Technology is not the solution to everything, there still needs to be a teacher and a plan. Behind every successful blended course is a teacher who knows what they want their students to learn and achieve and how they want to blend their course to achieve this.

There are different ways of using study time online:

  • Preparation or rehearsal for class
  • Consolidation after class e.g. online workbook and repeat activities
  • An alternative to class such as developing reading or writing skills online instead of in class
  • Online time can be used for new types of learning- which is explained further throughout the webinar.


How teachers decide to divide the student’s time between the class and online is up to them.

In the webinar, Mike and Jeanne look at two examples of online teaching solutions for students at higher levels.

  • Learning Grammar online and expanding students repertoire
  • Dealing with conversation strategies online.


Mike McCarthy concludes that there are challenges when moving from traditional classroom teaching to an online environment. Technology opens up a lot of opportunities to do exciting things when learning, but we need to be careful that the expected outcome of the activity is the same as it would be if it was performed in a classroom setting.

For more information on these teaching solutions and to watch the full webinar click on the video below.

For more information on Touchstone 2nd edition click here and Viewpoint click here.

Share your ideas for a post below.
We're looking forward to hearing about it
and will be in touch once we've had a read.
0/5000 characters

Thank you for sharing your experiences.

We will take a read through your ideas and be in touch shortly.