Blended Learning

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What is blended learning?

Three parts of blended learning

  • An online element: educational materials, social interactions or both
    Students do some of their learning independently through the internet. This learning substitutes for direct instruction, not homework or practice. It is critical students have some control of content and instruction, even if it’s only control of pace – the ability for students to pause, go back, and skip forward through the materials.
  • Physical presence of teacher and students
    Often this place is a physical school with teachers or guides but could be any location. Students have at least some away-from-home or face-to-face component built into their curriculum.    
  • Integration of modalities
    Online and face-to-face components must be integrated, hence the term blended. Learning in the face-to-face component should build on and not simply repeat online experiences. The familiar method of reading material and then coming to lecture to find the instructor repeats the same information is the opposite of this. Integration creates an active learning experience, often using a flipped model of instruction, allowing for students to engage in learning by applying their knowledge and developing it further through in class activities.

Is flipped the same as blended?

Blended and flipped are often used interchangeably but have distinct differences.

According to the Flipped Learning Network, "flipped learning is a pedagogical approach in which direct instruction moves from the group learning space to the individual learning space, and the resulting group space is transformed into a dynamic, interactive learning environment where the educator guides students as they apply concepts and engage creatively in the subject matter.”

For more information about flipped learning, see the Flipped Learning Network.

Four styles of blended learning

Most blended learning models fall into one of four categories:

  • Rotation.
  • Flex.
  • A la carte.
  • Enriched virtual.

Definitions and examples of blended learning models are available on the Blended Learning Universe website.