Guest post by Kelsey Randall, EDU 222 student at Murray State University.
Blended learning is also known as "hybrid learning" and it combines the uses of online learning and face-to-face instruction in order to enhance a student's learning. A common question is "How much face-to-face instruction will be replaced by online coursework?" and the answer is about 30 to 70 percent according to The Online Learning Consortium. Blended learning allows for more flexibility for both students and instructors, it gives more time for students who aren't understanding material to get that one on one instruction that they need and for the students who are already excelling to get time to do work on their own without being held back by the students that are struggling. Blended learning allows both students and instructors to develop better technology skills.
It is said that blended learning has three primary components: In person classroom activities facilitated by a trained educator, online learning materials that often include pre-recorded lectures by instructor, and structured independent study time guided by the material in the lectures and skills developed during the classroom experience. Courses in blended learning use the face-to-face time to do activities that are mostly benefited by direct interaction instead of just delivering material by lectures, teachers now deliver those through online programs and use class time for more hands on learning.
In many cases where blended learning has been implemented by many teacher, educators are redefining their role as teachers. Instead of being called teachers many that work with blended learning are calling themselves facilitators, this meaning that they emphasize highlighting and guiding students skills and knowledge that are required in order to make the most of the online material and independent study time. "Facilitators" focus on four main areas: Development of online and offline course content, facilitation of communication with and among students, which includes the pedagogy of communicating content online without the contextual clues students would get in person, guiding the learning experience of individual students, and assessment and grading (www.mindflash.com/elarning).