Some schools and institutes have embraced blended and online teaching and learning long before the pandemic. But it is because of the pandemic that it has escalated so quickly.
Blended learning is an approach to systematically mix face-to-face teaching with online learning, where the online component can be delivered through both synchronous and asynchronous modes, where people learn in different locations at different times.
It has the potential to harness the educational trends that were amplified and accelerated by the pandemic. It also has the potential to reshape the basic operations of educational systems.
Has the pandemic resulted in making this learning model a permanent part of the future of education? Read on to know more about the reasons why we think that blended learning is here to stay.
1 - Mastering the balancing act
Online learning has its many benefits, but there’s always a flip side to any coin toss. There are many health issues – whether physical or mental – that many students have faced during this pandemic. Many of which are caused by the lack of social and human interaction after the lockdown of several schools worldwide. However, returning back to a fully traditional learning environment would deprive students and teachers of the benefits of online learning.
The solution to this in a post-pandemic educational environment is a unique and effective blend between the two. Blending the traditional and the digital learning models. Moreover, maintaining that throughout the year can help schools transition easily in future unforeseen school closures or pandemics into a distanced or online learning environment. But the key is to make sure that you integrate the right blended learning model suitable for your school or your classroom.
2 - Bridging the digital divide
Experts say that blended learning is the new benchmark for education post-pandemic. It’s educators’ recent efforts to close the “digital divide”. The digital divide is the inequity between those who have access to the internet, digital skills, and other tools they need to learn effectively, and those who do not.
Schools and administrators can close this gap by providing support to students and teachers with less access to high bandwidth. They can also do so by providing teachers with sufficient training on effective teaching strategies and methods to prepare them for the new learning models the school wants to implement.
3 - Shifting the educational content
It’s impossible for students to memorize and recollect all the information that is being taught to them. So, this learning model urges us to realize or remember this fact. Education is no longer about memorizing facts, dates and figures.
It’s become more about applying the knowledge you’ve gained from the class lessons. Through blended learning models, students are encouraged to focus more on knowledge application to real life situations than memorizing their notes and answering a standardized exam.
4 - The best of both worlds for students
Recent research shows that hybrid learning leads to an improvement in students’ learning outcomes. Yes, you would think that being isolated in a distanced learning environment can cause some students to feel disconnected, disinterested and demotivated. But that’s not the case. The results that are lasting are the positive ones. When in an online learning environment, students learn at their own pace, especially when attending recorded class sessions. Students can play, pause or replay any part of the lesson that they need to fully understand the concept they are learning.
But what good is learning without your classmates to share it with? Students have generally been taught in traditional classrooms ever since they were little kids. It’s hard for students to quickly adapt to a completely new learning environment and, after months, many students feel lonely, depressed or sad because they miss seeing their friends and classmates. I think that blended learning is the answer. It can give students the best of both worlds, moving forward in their education.
AN OWL'S OPINION
Online learning and teaching has taken over the educational sector during the pandemic. However, online and virtual learning cannot fully replace traditional classrooms in a post-pandemic world. This is why I think it’s important for schools to integrate a blended learning model that suits their school structure and curriculum. This will give the school a way to find their unique blend between online and traditional learning environments.
It’s because of this that I agree with many experts in the educational sector. I believe that some elements of online teaching will blend in with the traditional classroom environment. Blended teaching and learning is a big part of the future of global education. Blended learning is here to stay.