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The term – ‘Blended Learning Solutions’ – is indicative in its meaning! “There are many definitions of blended learning yet no single accepted definition,” declares a paper on ‘Blended Learning at MIT.’ According to Wikipedia – “Blended learning is a formal education program in which a student learns at least in part through online delivery of content and instruction with some element of student control over time, place, path or pace.”
The MIT paper, defines ‘blended learning solutions’ as – “…different learning or instructional methods (lecture, discussion, guided practice, reading, games, case study, simulation), different delivery methods (live classroom or computer mediated), different scheduling (synchronous or asynchronous) and different levels of guidance (individual, instructor or expert led, or group/social learning).”
It further points out that- using ‘blended learning solutions’- “Individuals will see work as learning how to address unique situations, recognize where to turn for learning, support and advice; and formally or informally share that knowledge widely with others.”
Blended Learning Solutions Don’t Have Limits
‘One critical part of the definition of blended learning is that it involves “some element of student control of time, place, path, and/or pace,”’ states innosightinstitute.org. Referring to the description of ‘blended learning solutions,’ provided by Digital Learning Now – it observes that, ‘Learning is no longer restricted to the school day or the school year and nor is it limited to the walls of the classroom, any more. Likewise, students are also not restricted by the learning pace of others in their classroom; or by the pedagogy used by the teacher. In fact, the interactive and adaptive software usage in blended learning – allows students to learn at their own pace and in a method customized to their needs!’
Creating ‘Blended Learning Solutions’ is a Challenging Task
With regard to ‘blended learning solutions -the “most effective e-learning programs are ones that are blended with other training resources,” declares, learninglight.com. “The idea of blended learning is to synthesise a number of different approaches in order to create high impact learning,” and increase what is learnt, it states. “Blended learning is probably more relevant now than ever before, and the complexities of creating the blend, with mobile learning and social learning with a range of collaboration tools has never been more challenging for the learning designer and more critical for the company,” it notes.
The Role of ‘Strategy’ in Creating Blended Learning Solutions
The MIT paper advises that – when creating ‘blended learning solutions’ to maximize learning -factors like- ‘Providing appropriate support for learners (time, technology, guidance); developing clear learning and performance goals; making objective decisions based on the best learning outcomes (not cost, or prestige); making collaborative decisions (across departments, from learner’s perspective); obtaining visible, enthusiastic management support; moving basic skill development to eLearning; using the classroom for more advanced topics; and, starting slowly and building gradually;’ must be considered.
Advantages of Blended Learning Solutions
According to the blog – Clive on Learning – ‘blended learning solutions,’ “optimize effectiveness and efficiency by combining a number of different learning media.” Here, ‘it’s the method and not the medium that matters!’ “…the medium has a relatively insignificant influence on learning effectiveness. It’s the methods that you use which influence effectiveness,” it states. “Blended learning offers the potential to create effective training, to save time and money for the Institute, to make training more engaging and convenient for learners, and to offer learning professionals the chance to innovate,” states the paper by MIT.
In this context, Wikipedia notes that- ‘blended learning solutions’ are “a major contributor to student satisfaction and success …” According to proponents of this approach, “incorporating the “asynchronous Internet communication technology” into courses serves to “facilitate a simultaneous independent and collaborative learning experience,” it observes. It further adds that –‘These not only improve students’ access to learning, but also their attitudes towards it! In addition, these also enhance the communication between lecturers and part-time students; and enable students to better evaluate their understanding of the course material!’