With blended learning, you have a technique which suggests work should be done outside of the classroom as well as inside of it. Typically, a blended classroom will be made up of face-to-face (F2F) learning as well as online material to complete alone. With both of these techniques coming together, research suggests learning improves in both quality and quantity which can only be good news. As an instructor, the whole process can seem somewhat overwhelming at first particularly if you have decades of experience in just F2F learning. Therefore, we have compiled a list of three main steps you will need to take here today. By following these three steps, you should be able to create a course that’s not only effective but but will enable you to create the perfect blended classroom!
Course Rhythm – In recent times, we have seen many instructors simply stick some online learning onto their traditional F2F courses whilst hoping for the best. If you do this, you might not see the best results because you need to approach it with a different mindset. Rather than being an add-on to your course, the two types of learning should be integrated with one another to form a well-oiled machine.
If we use an example, some courses will take place on a Wednesday and then two days later on the Friday. If done correctly, the content on the Friday should complement what happened two days earlier and build on what was learned. Essentially, the second day should always solidify knowledge but in a slightly different way; perhaps you want to apply it to a real-life example rather than keeping it as a purely theoretical process. On the Friday, you then want to preview what will happen the next Wednesday and so on.
Content v Mode – When building a blended learning course, you need to understand the difference between content and mode. With content, this explains the instructional materials including lectures, assignments, and readings. On the other hand, mode describes the method in which the information is provided such as discussion boards, textbooks, videos. When you differentiate these two factors, you can soon work out which is the best form of delivery for the end user. With lectures, for example, they can be given both inside and outside of class using online resources. If interaction is important during the lecture, you might decide to go for in-class lectures because you can include various activities and peer instructions.
Plan Learning Time – Finally, we recommend planning when each piece of learning actually occurs within your blended classroom. When feedback is required or you would prefer the learners to work together to build on their knowledge, this will need in-class sessions. With homework, reading, and these tasks, the learning can take place at home. Essentially, you want to build a learning map of when and how they will learn each step of the process. By doing this, you almost control their progress whilst offering sessions to build on knowledge after the initial learning. For many, the design process for a blended learning course is one filled with stress and it can take up to six months. Therefore, you must always remain patient and determined because the results will come if you do it correctly. If possible, have tests continuously so you can receive feedback and keep improving the course. If you do this, and follow the three steps above, there is no reason why your blended learning course can’t be a hit with the learners!