A study conducted by Learning in the 21st Century indicates that 76% of respondents think that blended learning model is useful to students. But what exactly does blended learning mean? And what does it entail as one of the alternatives to other school programs? Blended learning refers to a formal education program that combines the aspect of a teacher and student in a classroom setting with online education. It’s also called hybrid learning or mixed learning.
This approach to schooling is designed to offer a more personalized learning experience to students unlike traditional face-to-face education, the non-hybrid equivalents. Over the years, this learning model has become popular in most schools, from private institutions to public schools. Online teaching and traditional teaching can be fused into multiple blended learning models, which include face-to-face model, rotation model, online lab model, self-blend model and online driver model.
1. Face-to-Face Learning Model
This model of blended learning is similar to a typical traditional school system, but a significant amount of online instruction has been introduced. Here, based on students level of understanding and retentive ability in any given class, they are selected to participate in the various form of blended learning. In this model, online activities are designed to supplement classroom seat time, giving students ample time to discuss and engage in high-value instructional tasks like group projects.
2. Rotation Learning Model
As the name suggests, students rotate between different teaching modalities on a fixed timetable. Just like in face-to-face model, online learning is universal across various submodels in rotation learning. These submodels include lab rotation, station rotation, and individual rotation, which they are applied at different education levels. For instance, elementary schools widely use rotation model since many of them have structures ready to support this learning program. Other submodels can only be applied to higher education levels such as campus and colleges. Depending on the rotation modality, a learner is expected to move from one-course station to another. The idea behind rotation learning model is to expose scholars to new challenging coursework that foster critical thinking.
3. Flexible Learning Model
Although coursework and learning material is done through online, students often choose how complete their course. They also get to decide how they’ll attend classes, hence the aspect of flexibility. In this learning model, teachers are virtually present to offer guidance and on-site support as needed.
4. Self-Blend Learning Model
Of all the blended learning models above, the self-blend model is the only learning model that is based on program level model. Typically, this program is used by campus students who take online courses alongside one-on-one teaching sessions. Since the model is designed to offer a personalized learning experience, students choose which courses to take online and the classes to attend in person. A self-blend model is ideal for self-motivated learners who may also want to take additional courses.
5. Online Learning Model
Students can experience the total opposite of face-to-face model through online learning. In this self-paced learning model, scholars study remotely, and coursework is taught via school online platforms. In rare cases, students will approach teachers for further guidance and support. Online learning platforms are designed to enable direct communication between a student and a teacher. This type of blended learning models is ideal for a student who is independent and seeks flexible learning hours.
According to 2013-2014 academic year, 16 states had blended learning models while 33 states had full-time virtual schools. As much as these learning models offer versatile learning options for students with different needs, it’s important that parents evaluate their student with the help of their teachers to ascertain the suitably blended learning model for their children. No one knows if blended schools will replace the tradional formal education. But more changes are seen in the education sector with technology contributing immensely in offering different learning modules for specific education needs.