Is Blended Learning Becoming Yet Another Overhyped Myth?

“Blended learning is more than just combining an online component to the traditional classroom. It is a systematic process of selecting the most appropriate media for a specific learning intervention based upon the learning objectives.” (Holden 2011)

It is clear that learning can’t be limited anymore in one place, classroom. Learning happens in different places during different times through individual life. I believe that schools for K-12 will always be one of the best places to learn and students to grow up as good citizens, and even more – global citizens. We say that the army is the last place where men see all kind of people from all levels of society.

For students to understand differences in society it is important to study and be together, to find different solutions together and learn to get along with different people – the best place for all is the School.

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Photo by  Elis Lindfors

What are the best of online learning in Blended Learning? 

  • student can work whenever it suits him/her
  • student have more of an ability to be independent
  • some of the students like to work at their own pace and work ahead if they have time. 
  • it may require more time on the student’s part: completing assignments, and logging in if there are regularly conversations with

My question is: When is blended learning necessary and when is it not? When is it best to use and when is it not?

Are there challenges for teachers when using blended learning?

Like many new things there are good and less good examples. But we have to start somewhere to use and develop new methods!

Some teachers use the term blended learning when they are doing same test or task through online. Some teachers have done a video of their following lesson and let the student just watch it. I saw a math lesson where students were copying exactly what the teacher was doing in the video. In face to face situation we teachers can lead students with good questions to understand the math content and they can build their own understanding of the knowledge.  Now they were repeating all steps after the teacher and there is a big possibility that most of them didn’t understand why.

Students need to do more than passively receive online facts; they need to be actively engaged.

One good example comes from my friend, Jaana Lindfors, a language and literature teacher in Finnish middle school.  She sent a writing assignment, a copy for each of her student.  In the beginning of lesson students open their browser and start writing instantly.  While they are writing Jaana can follow them from learning platform and give them immediate feedback. Students say it is amazing and first even little odd when suddenly they notice from the screen that teacher is following their writing. The teacher can make corrections but Jaana says that she likes to make questions, so that the student can find a better solution to his/her own writing. Students can share their work to some of their schoolmates and have then peer assessment. Jaana tells that during two lessons she can visit quite many student’s browser and give them feedback on their writing. If not she continues to give them personal feedback from her home.

Action is a key to successful online learning. It lets students practice what they’ve learned, and gives them a chance for feedback and a clearer picture of their own knowledge.

I have positive expectations to the possibilities of blended learning. I support holistic approach to 21st Century education. It means we need versatile teaching methods and balanced assessment.

As part of the Top Global Teacher Bloggers / / Global Search for Education, this is my answer to this month’s question: So what about the K-12 evolution of blended Learning?