Blended Learning and Varieties
Why have we evolved from E-Learning to B-Learning? The Natural Evolution of E-Learning
Everything changes, especially the ideas, processes, and methods that are dependent upon new technologies. In the case of e-learning, things are no different. Why? Because despite the great advances of Learning Platforms (especially in terms of content possibilities through LCMS, or Learning Content Management Systems), face-to-face presence continues to add value to education.
Teachers and students need each other. Students always add something to the group with their approaches, research, and notes in relationship with the material to be studied. Individual work is an integral part of teamwork and, likewise, it is the essence of cooperative learning. At the same time, teachers undertake a support role, motivating and guiding students.
Although learning platforms bring a great variety of tools to the table in order to carry out that role solely online, a certain level of physical presence brings out the best in everyone. Presence enhances the students’ strengths and helps with their ability to empathize and engage in order to reach the learning objectives.
In fact, it does not appear that new technologies are advancing towards completely taking the place of the teacher – instead, the opposite seems to be happening. In short, e-Learning’s evolution is based on strengthening the in-classroom aspect while taking advantage of the efficiency of new technologies. This is what Blended Learning is all about.
The different types of Blended Learning all have the same main advantages, which can be summarized as follows:
#1.Excellent cost effectiveness, both for the educational institution and for the student.
#2.Maximum project feasibility (easier to implement, materials can be updated quickly, etc.).
#3.High degree of interaction (this is due to the array of communication tools available and the practical, cooperative approach to the courses).
#4. This type of learning improves accessibility to a teaching position.
#5. Flexibility in planning.
Blended Learning Types:
Flipped Classroom: Learning that is Here to Stay.
Flipped Classroom is the type of Blended Learning that is currently most used. In this type of learning, the guidelines and instructions that bring about learning move from the space shared by the group (the classroom) to the individual space (the student’s home). In this way, the group’s time together makes the classroom become a dynamic learning environment… it evolves to be interactive, it comes to life. The Flipped Classroom creates a context in which the educator guides the students in the application of the concepts being studied, while at the same time fostering the content’s development in a way that remains open to students’ creativity.
In addition to its innovative, cooperative approach, what else sets the Flipped Classroom apart? Why is it being used more and more in all areas of learning?
Factors that Influence the Effectiveness of the Flipped Classroom.
The Flipped Classroom has the potential to motivate and reinforce commitment. The diversity of resources and tools that stem from the information technologies (learning platforms, electronic devices, connectivity, etc.) foster a dynamic learning environment and, as a result, they favor receptiveness. Additionally, with the Flipped Classroom approach, students are considered relevant to others. Sharing their own thoughts, conclusions, and individual work makes students more dedicated and committed, and it helps with their performance – all of which leads to results.
#1.Increases in each student’s ability to advance.
With the Flipped Classroom approach, a vast array of resources allows for many paths for improvement to be detected for each student. Progress is no longer dependent upon a single response; instead, it depends on individual dedication and student activity through learning platforms.
#2.Growth beyond knowledge.
With the Flipped Classroom approach, the student undergoes a certain personal and intellectual evolution. Personal: in terms of socialization, work, and commitment to the group. Intellectual: in terms of the need to reflect, select, and interpret information; the need to develop one’s own criteria, to apply creativity; the ability to synthesize and think critically.
#3.The perception of the classroom changes and said space multiplies in value.
The classroom becomes a place for decision making, a place where dedication and teamwork are valued.
#4.Teaching becomes much more effective.
The teacher realizes that 20 to 30 unique individuals are sharing the classroom and that they require personal attention – each wants to participate, to contribute to the group. Through the Flipped Classroom approach, teachers help students to take action as protagonists of their own learning through what motivates them.
#5.The teacher improves his or her professional profile.
From the role of a professional who guides individual work to a coordinator who organizes group projects, or a motivator who aims to rekindle the spark of certain students or that of the whole group…. all of this implies a better professional profile for facing more innovative educational projects.
Networked Classrooms: Much More than Just a Connection.
This is an educational approach that offers a great array of interactive tools to make training more dynamic and boost participation. Because of its technological profile and number of resources, the networked classroom approach is clearly practical in nature and, therefore, it is especially useful for language learning because of its ability to provide students with full language immersion in a quite intuitive way. In the language learning context, networked classrooms are known as language labs.
Nevertheless, as this is more an educational resource than a “learning methodology,” before deciding how to design a networked classroom or language lab, we must define a methodology. That is to say, we must decide how to approach learning, structure content, and guide the activities that teachers and students undertake. A language lab integrates our chosen methodology and turns to technological tools that help with assimilation in a fluid, natural way.
The advantages in terms of learning success are similar to those offered by the Flipped Classroom approach (motivation, commitment, personal and intellectual growth, profitability, etc.). However, its more technological profile provides a bit of extra prestige to academies and training institutions. It gives the learning center a more advanced image, improving its perceived value in the sector and increasing its competitiveness.
To conclude, we must note that it seems as though the potential of the Flipped Classroom, as well as that of language labs, is enormous. CAE (Computer Aided E-learning) and Dexway (CAE’s language division), thanks to their years of experience and talent for innovation, can help you to gain access to the most advanced solutions for implementing both types of Blended Learning. In any event, it seems as if the best is always yet to come.
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