Expanded Classrooms With Hybrid Learning – Blended Learning
Expanded classrooms with Hybrid, or ‘Blended Learning’
Combine traditional “brick-and-mortar” school structure with the latest LMS and Social Media to expand your teaching realm throughout the far reaches of cyberspace.
‘Hybrid’, or ‘Blended Learning’ is a formal education program in which a student learns at least in part through delivery of content and instruction via digital and online media with some element of student control over time, place, path, or pace. While still attending a “brick-and-mortar” school structure, face-to-face classroom methods are combined with computer-mediated activities.
“Hybrid” or “Blended” are names commonly used to describe courses in which some traditional face-to-face “seat time” has been replaced by online learning activities.
Hybrid, or ‘Blended Learning’ courses differ from Web enhanced and online courses
As with web enhanced courses, Hybrid, (‘Blended Learning’), may have a course Website or some instructional activities online. These online resources supplement, but do not replace, face-to-face coursework. Students continue to meet in the classroom for the standard number of scheduled hours for that course.
Online, ‘eLearning’, or ‘distance learning’
Online, eLearning or distance education courses are usually conducted entirely and exclusively via the course management system accessible from the Internet. The online format is the primary method to deliver the course materials. Communication and interaction occur online between faculty and students. All assessment of student work is conducted online.
A typical online format begins with a video lecture supported by an “LMS”, (‘Learning Management System’), course materials like PDFs and MP3s, quizzes and an upload portal for student assignments.
A learning management system helps develop a better feel for an online community where discussions can be held to better aid students. This Virtual Learning Environment helps connect professors with students without physically being present, thus making this a ‘Virtual Cafe’. Many schools use this online tool for online classes, classwork, question & answer forums, and other school related work.
Moodle is the choice of LMS
(‘Learning Management System’)-(‘Course Management System’) (‘LMS-CMS’)
Moodle, is a highly flexible, free, open source, web 2.0 learning platform. With comprehensive, customizable and secure learning management features, it can be used to create a private website for dynamic online courses.
Moodle (acronym: ‘formodular object-oriented dynamic learning environment’), (stylised in lower-case as Moodle) is also known as a learning management system, or virtual learning environment.
Moodle was originally developed by Martin Dougiamas to help educators create online courses with a focus on interaction and collaborative construction of content, and is in continual evolution. The first version of Moodle was released on 20 August 2002.
Hybrid, (‘Blended Learning’) combines the online course management system with in-class, teacher-student interaction.
Hybrid courses differ from Web enhanced and online courses
While web enhanced courses may have a course website or some instructional activities online, these supplement but do not replace face-to-face coursework. Students continue to meet in the classroom for the standard number of scheduled hours for that course.
An online or distance education course is conducted entirely and exclusively via the course management system which is accessed from the Internet. The online format is the primary method to deliver the course materials. Communication and interaction occur online between faculty and students. All assessment of student work is conducted online.
Although most institutions recognize a continuum from Web enhanced to hybrid to fully online courses, there is no broadly accepted taxonomy or cutoff points for these three course formats. As a general rule of thumb, courses in which fewer than 20% of the learning activities occur online are more likely to be labeled Web enhanced than hybrid.
At the other end of the continuum, many institutions – for obvious logistical reasons – require that a course advertised as “online” in fact include no face-to-face component, and that 100% of learning activities be web based. However, even here there are a few institutions in which a program identified as online may include an initial face-to-face orientation session, so the distinction between hybrid and fully online can blur on this end of the continuum as well.
There is no recognized standard for the structure of hybrid courses
The structure of hybrid courses can significantly vary from one class to another. This underscores the pedagogical flexibility characteristic of the hybrid model. The instructor of a hybrid course typically determines what instructional activities should be online or face-to-face depending on the learning goals, course objectives, content, and available resources. Similarly, the timetable for face-to-face versus online work can be organized in quite different ways that may reflect not only pedagogical criteria but also the particular circumstances of the instructor and students.
Here are a few examples of hybrid courses that illustrate different structures for the deployment of face-to-face and online learning activities:
- The instructor lectures and facilitates class discussion in the face-to-face classes, students complete online assignments based on these classroom activities, then these online assignments are posted to asynchronous discussion forums for online discussion;
- An instructor places lectures online using voiceover PowerPoint or streaming media for students to review, then subsequently in class students use these preliminary online materials to engage in face-to-face small group activities and discussions;
- Students prepare small group projects online, post them to discussion forums for debate and revision, then present them in the face-to-face class for final discussion and assessment.
Add a ‘LINE Group’ for ‘Peer Assessment’
Social media communicators like LINE are perfect for complete class interaction. In addition to forums and class notification, on the spot video uploads for peer assessment of production activities expands the range of learning far beyond the traditional “brick-and-mortar” school structure.
A successful blended learning environment – one in which there is no clear distinction between what’s happening online and what’s happening during class time – helps students connect not only with the teacher and the class content, but also with each other. When students connect with their peers so they challenge each other’s thinking.
An online discussion tool, for example, can help learners connect with each other by giving every student equal space and opportunity to participate. Without having to jump in or talk over peers in a face-to-face setting, those who are quiet and shy are able to gather their thoughts and engage more fully in the discussion. Everyone’s learning is enriched as a result.
So, rather than resist, why not incorporate some of these new cyber-tools and expand the walls of your classroom.
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