What is Blended Learning?


Blended learning is nothing new! Teachers have been using versions of it all the time. Many people use the term 'hybrid learning' or 'combined resource' teaching to describe similar concepts. Really, it's just mixing teaching and or facilitation methods, learning styles, resource formats, a range of technologies and a range of expertise into a learning stream. For example, it could simply be wheeling a TV into a class and screening a relevant DVD. There you have mixed a potentially engaging technology with what might have otherwise been a standard lecture style presentation. But wheeling a DVD player into a class hardly rates as a full blending learning experience.

A better example

What if a DVD, or particular scenes in that DVD were used to prompt a class discussion on a particular issue raised in the DVD? While the face to face class discussed the issues, 3 of the students took minutes on a wiki website? At the end of the discussion each student was tasked for the week to go and research further areas of particular interest and note what they found and thought in their weblogs. The class discussion continued through an email eGroup and weblog comments, that included home schooled students online. The teacher moderated the weblog entries and prompting students to update the wiki when key points were discussed... 3 weeks later, several class groups gave presentations that were recorded to MP3 audio and uploaded to the student's weblogs and the class wiki. Any presentation slides and project pictures were loaded to Flickr.com, and the teacher set about facilitating an internationally networked (Internet) learning exercise by inviting experts and other learners from around the world to discuss and edit the wiki, and add comments into the student blogs... when the wiki was looking hot, parts of it were transferred to wikipedia.org and the class moved on to other things while keeping an eye on the development of their contributions... This is just one example of what blended learning can be. It has relied on constructivist learning ideas, catered to neomillenial learning styles , incorporated technology, encouraged learning through networks, and fostered connectivism ...

Chuck in a photocopier, a scanner, some scissors and glue, a town planning meeting... and... well... who knows what could happen!

How this site can help you!

If you're a super teacher just waiting to come out then this site could be of use to you. You will find up to date links and resources to help you skill up for blended learning, as well as a network of practitioners who are ready to help. This resource is open for you to make any changes you think are necessary, such as perhaps a better explanation or example of what blended learning is. All you have to do is click "[[blendedlearning:page/edit/What is Blended Learning|edit this page]]" and make the changes you want made. But if you feel that you still need more of an understanding of what blended learning is, has been, and will be, why not spend some time on WikiPedia's definition of Blended Learning and bring some ideas back here for us? We're looking forward to your involvement.

Recent Learning Theories that Support Aspects of Blended Learning

George Siemens' Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age - Supports networked learning strategies
Chris Dede's //Planning for Neomillennial Learning Styles// - A futurist's perspective on learning environments

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