Many educational institutions have already announced their plans to conduct and continue online classes during the period of disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. While allowing students to learn from home, educational institutions have to choose from several learning approaches, including instructor-led learning and self-paced learning.
But both self-paced learning and instructor-led learning approaches have their own pros and cons. That is why; decision-makers explore ways to integrate the two widely used learning approaches to ensure knowledge acquisition, retention, and application. Blended learning or hybrid learning approach enables educational institutions to bridge the gap between online learning and instructor-led learning approaches.
According to the Glossary of Education Reform,
“The term blended learning is generally applied to the practice of using both online and in-person learning experiences when teaching students. In a blended-learning course, for example, students might attend a class taught by a teacher in a traditional classroom setting, while also independently completing online components of the course outside of the classroom.”
The new-age learning management systems (LMSs) support multiple learning approaches. Hence, educational institutions can implement blended learning by investing in the right learning management system (LMS). They can leverage the robust features provided by an LMS to enable students to acquire knowledge by combining in-person and self-paced learning experiences. Also, every educational institution can leverage several benefits of blended learning to implementing this adaptive instructional model.
Understanding 9 Important Benefits of Blended Learning for Educational Institutions
Promote Knowledge Acquisition and Retention
Often students need time to acquire and retain knowledge in a virtual learning environment. Blended learning makes it easier for students to acquire knowledge by overcoming the major shortcomings of online learning. The approach makes education more accessible by enabling students to access and interact with digital study materials after attending online classes. The interaction motivates students to access the digital materials from home using both computers and mobile devices.
Allow Students to Learn at Own Pace
In a traditional learning environment, students have to learn according to present routines and schedules. They lack the option to make changes to the routines or learn at their own pace. One of the major benefits of blended learning is self-paced learning support. The hybrid learning approach enables students to access a variety of digital content and materials over the internet at their own pace. Hence, it becomes easier for both quick and slow learners to acquire knowledge by learning and practicing at their own pace.
Creates Many Engagement Options
Lack of engagement options is often cited as one of the prominent shortcomings of online and distance learning. Blended learning enables teachers and instructors to interact with each other in virtual classrooms. Also, it creates opportunities for teachers to engage with students outside the classrooms using a variety of options – emails, chats, discussion forums, query corners, and leaderboards. Hence, it becomes easier for students to gain deeper knowledge and clear doubts by engaging with teachers regularly.
Personalize Learning Experience
As an adaptive instructional model, blended learning facilitates learning experience personalization by leveraging new-age edtech technologies. The approach enables every student to acquire knowledge in his preferred way. For instance, a student can acquire knowledge by reading ebooks, watching podcasts, or watching video lectures. At the same time, the teachers can leverage software solutions to track the progress of every student and help him understand content by suggesting relevant content, answering questions, and providing assistance.
Provide Real-Time Feedback and Advice
In a classroom-based learning environment, teachers need time to measure the performance of individual students. They have to review assignments or evaluate answer papers before sharing feedback. But blending learning approach enables teachers to share feedback immediately. A teacher can measure the performance of students using a variety of options, including online tests and quizzes. Hence, he can measure the performance of many students and share feedback without putting in extra time and effort. Also, the students can boost the performance of slow learners by giving advice or providing assistance at the right time.
Digitize and Transform Education Methods
Blended learning creates opportunities for learning experience personalization by leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies. Also, it enables educational institutions to deliver inclusive learning experiences using augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies. Every educational institution can transform the conventional teaching methods using AR and VR in a number of ways – enhancing online learning simulation, facilitating visual feedback sharing, customizing learning paths, and implementing immersive gamification.
Make Online Learning Fun
Often parents complain that children feel isolated in virtual learning environments due to the absence of face-to-face interactions. But blended learning approach keeps students motivated and stress-free by facilitating engagement and interactions through multiple channels. At the same time, teachers can make online learning more interesting and entertaining using gamification techniques. They can leverage coins, badges, and similar options provided by LMSs to gamify both courses and virtual classrooms. Hence, blended learning encourages students to pursue higher education by making learning more fun.
Enable and Encourage Students to Collaborate
The conventional learning approaches often make students interact and collaborate with their classmates. But blended learning creates opportunities for students to collaborate with learners across educational institutions and geographic locations. A student can join online discussion forums to understand and discuss a topic or concept from multiple perspectives. Likewise, he can engage and motive himself by competing with many learners over the internet. The collaboration will help students to retain knowledge along with acquiring a slew of soft skills that will boost their professional growth in the future.
Curtail Overall Cost of Education
Most educational institutions adopt blending learning to continue online classes by eliminating the risks of coronavirus infections. But several studies have highlighted how blending learning helps educational institutions to curtail both upfront and ongoing costs.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), “A blended learning approach was more cost-effective to operate and resulted in the improved value for the institution after the third year iteration, when compared to the traditional face-to-face model.”
An educational institution can leverage blending to learn to bring down the operational cost in a number of ways – implementing virtual tutoring, repurposing content, and not paying rent for the venue.
The cloud-based LMS solution launched by Mintbook helps educational institutions to leverage the benefits of blended learning by supporting both instructor-led learning and self-paced learning approaches. An educational institution can use this LMS to set up video-based virtual classrooms that support blended learning. At the same time, the LMS makes it easier for educational institutions to adopt some of the hottest trends in blended learning – mobile learning, microlearning, gamified learning, and multi-format digital content.