In traditional colleges and classrooms it is still common to use the chalk and talk approach for teaching. With the advancement of web technology it is now possible to integrate online learning component along with the traditional classroom learning. This approach of combining face-to-face learning with technology such as online learning is referred to as blended learning. In a blended learning, a portion of face-to-face classroom session is replaced by the online learning component.
Blend, which means “mix” or “combine” allows teachers to combine an online component for their face-to-face class room session. Blended learning offers significant learning advantages and offers multiple possibilities of enhancing the traditional face-to-face classroom teaching. Flipped classroom can be implemented using a blended learning approach.
In a flipped classroom, lower order learning modules are self-learned by the students at home before the class room lecture and the teacher discusses the higher order learning components in the class. A flipped classroom approach will save significant amount of time for the teacher, which can now be used for teaching higher order learning modules in the classroom. Here, for example, the teacher can give students a lower order learning component such as an online video for the students to watch at home so that they can be prepared for the next classroom session to learn the higher order learning modules. One of the prime benefit of flipped classroom is that more time can be devoted by the teacher in the classroom to teach the higher order learning components.
Some of the challenges of blending the face-to-face lectures with online learning are: Lack of motivation for the students to complete the online component at home, students lacking the necessary resources such as an Internet connection or a computer at home, students and teachers are not tech savvy, or teachers not able to put additional time to prepare the online component. Students and teachers should find ways to overcome these challenges so that the benefits of blended learning can be derived. For example if student does not have an Internet connection at home, the teacher can provide a video file to watch at home.
The percentage of learning module assigned for online and classroom should be decided by the teacher based on the subject and topics taught. An experienced teacher should be able to arrive at a proper blending percentage taking into consideration the various factors such as difficulty level of a subject, student motivation, availability of resources and time for teachers and students.
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