Jeanne began by exploring what is meant by blended learning; highlighting that it is a combination of print and online materials, for use both in the classroom with a teacher, and in a self-study or homework environment. She pointed to the growth in the use of online educational platforms that are increasingly shaping the learning experience of the 21st century student. Jeanne cited the US specifically, stating that by 2019 half of all US high school courses are expected to be delivered online.
The three basic uses of online time within the blended learning course are:
- Preparation for class
- Consolidation of class teaching
- Alternative to class
Teachers, don’t panic! Both Jeanne and Helen were keen to stress that a blended learning approach doesn’t mean replacing teachers with computers or robots. In fact, Helen began her presentation by explaining how blended learning can make certain teaching skills even more necessary. Jeanne also added that blended learning is all about your own teaching style and how, by using a blend, it is possible to enhance both the teacher and learner experiences.
Communication activities are no longer limited to the classroom, with online speaking tools helping to enhance the learner’s experience at home as well as in set learning hours. In the classroom environment, whilst student A needs more practice with pronunciation, student B can revisit grammar and vocabulary. It gives teachers the flexibility and time to differentiate between individual students in a way that is beneficial for learning.
For more information from Jeanne and Helen on the advantages of blended learning watch the video below. For more information on the courses described in this webinar click here for Touchstone and here for Viewpoint.