Blended learning is one of those things that people can often struggle to define.
Blended learning feels like it must be a thing that is put in place, a deliberate process, the result of an intense project, even a radical change to the way you teach. Tell people that’s not the case, and they might not believe you. But guess what? It’s not the case!
Of course, as with anything, there are barriers. Not everyone has the same skills or knowledge of technology, or the same access, or the same time, and certainly not the same level of confidence. Students vary too, in what they respond to and enjoy, and this is also something to factor in.
With so much else to think about, why bother?
The answer is because blended learning allows us to switch from thinking about learning as something that happens in a particular place, to learning as a process, something that might occur in a whole variety of places and at different times.
It can be made much more personal to each student, giving them some element of control over what they do and when. The creation of a rich and diverse learning environment gives students the freedom to explore their interests and can encourage the development of communities of inquiry.
Blended learning isn’t about putting stuff online and hoping the students will get on with it – it’s about joining the conversation. We can all learn from each other, and we can all contribute.
So how can you do it?
Well, the simplest answer is, you probably already are. Do you send messages through the forums in Solent Online Learning (SOL)? Do you provide a bit of structure and narrative around the materials you post, so students know what they’re supposed to do with them and what your expectations are? Have you added a blog, so students can share useful resources with you and each other? Have you written a quiz to follow up a lecture capture video, so your students can test their knowledge?
These are all simple but achievable things. Maybe that’s enough for you – great! Maybe you’d like to know more. Maybe you’d like to do something, but you don’t know what. Either way, we would love to hear from you.