Blended Learning

Whatever do we mean by blended learning?

What blended learning seems to mean is that we will offer instruction via a combination of delivery systems, often:

  • A classroom with an instructor (which might be a synchronous Zoom session just now, given current distancing requirements)—and…
  • Some kind of asynchronous online instruction

Donald Clark offers a hierarchy of definitions that leads to a discussion of optimal blends of considerations that will assist learners—really—vs. just stirring up a blend of the same old ways of doing things.

To figure out how to do this, he suggests that we start with a blank slate: no preconceptions about how to deliver instruction. He also suggests that we use a “sophisticated analytic process” to consider the following:

  1. Learners
  2. Type of learning
  3. Organizational culture
  4. Available resources

Having done this, a person would blend the delivery of required instructional elements in a system where “good teaching and learning theory is applied, alongside analysis of what needs to be taught, who you are teaching and the resources for delivery.”

There’s a lot of hype about blended learning… and there’s not much agreement about what it means, exactly. For me, it’s a way of saying that we’re going to consider more than one possible way to deliver instruction, based on what will work the best for the learners and the context. Basically, we’ll apply good instructional design in a way that makes sense.

For you? How do you see it?

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