Blended Learning: Definition, Characteristics, Models

Blended Learning: Definition, Characteristics, Models

Blended learning is an educational solution combining several different delivery methods, such as collaboration software, web-based courses, electronic support system, and knowledge management practices. 

Blended learning describes the learning process that mixes various event-based activities, for instance, face-to-face classrooms, live e-learning, or self-paced learning.

Digital and social media are becoming more and more prevalent in the life of learners. It was only a matter of time before learning became “blended” by necessity.

In the present article, we will discuss the term blended learning more profoundly and shape a clear image of its definition, models, and more.

Blended Learning Definition

As we have already understood, this is an approach to the educational process when online and traditional face-to-face teaching methods are mixed. 

In this formal education program, a unique approach to learning is experienced through electronic devices and face-to-face communication. Such a method of multichannel learning covers in-person classroom time and individual online study with the help of e-learning software.

Blended Learning Definition

These courses following the blended learning model often occur in a real classroom with a devoted teacher. Yet there is still an offer of additional learning opportunities through a digital platform. Լearning elements are usually open to self-pacing by every student and can generally be logged in at any time and place.

Characteristics of Blended Learning

People with experience in the educational industry sometimes have to choose between online and traditional education. Somehow, blended learning links these two and offered a mixed type of education. 

As an education provider, you may create your website and use it to share your knowledge. This is a great idea also for implementing blended learning. Let’s discuss some of its most important characteristic features of it.

The blended learning program is:

- Partly Online       
As we have already understood, some blended learning is done online. Students don’t have to visit schools or educational centers daily (depending on the learning model). As a teacher, you may send some courses and tasks through your platform, and they complete them online.

- Partly Away       
Students sometimes visit different places such as libraries, special educational centers, schools, and even camps to complete some stages of the learning process.

- Through Learning Path       
The personalized learning path helps students to learn through different interactive activities, discussions, courses, games, etc.

Personalized learning path

Blended Learning Models

If you want to understand the process of blended learning in action fully, then you should consider blended learning online and blended learning classrooms. 

Blended learning comes up with various experiences. However, there are 4 main blended learning models, and we will discuss them below.

Model #1 Rotation 

This is when the learners rotate between learning modalities on a fixed schedule. At least one of the activities is implemented online. The rotation model, in its turn, has four subcategories. Here they are:

- Station Rotation. This type is mainly used in elementary school. Students are divided into groups, and each group has a given task. The learners are allowed to rotate through stations in the classroom as group members.

- Lab Rotation. In the case of this subcategory, the learners are required to rotate through the computer lab for the e-learning station. This model requires in-detailed scheduling.

- Individual Rotation. Here the students are allowed to rotate only through the stations set by the teacher or the algorithm. They may take part in the activities that are scheduled on their playlist.

- Flipped Classroom. This model focuses on flipping the traditional role of every learning space. Learners should watch assigned lectures, prepare online coursework, participate in discussions, and engage with the projects. 

This is the favorite model for teachers and students as it provides online and offline learning efficiency.

Model #2 Flex

When relying on the Flex model, learners get more control over their learning. Here, the teaching process is mainly implemented online, with a few exceptions when face-to-face communication is needed for some instructions or support. 

Every student has a personalized schedule they follow during the learning process.

For instance, individually learning a specific theory or topic, students gather at a library or a classroom to discuss points, implement individual or group tasks, and so on.

Blended Learning Models

A special place is available for discussions with the teacher, whether it’s a private talk or a group discussion. At the beginning of every week, the teacher sets up a schedule of all the workshops meant to happen during the week. Then the students make private calendars for themselves according to their interests.

During these lessons, you may come over:

- students working independently       
- collaboratively working with learners       
- small group discussions        
- peer tutoring, etc.

The critical factor of this model is FLEXIBILITY. Students can join this or that group, work with a friend, or work independently. Everything is up to them. In the same way, the tutor moves around the groups and offers support to every student. 

For some specialists, this freedom is the secret to achieving success.

Model #3 A La Carte

This model of blended learning is usually used in high schools. In this case, the students can take part in online courses and learn from the online instructor who complements their learning experience during the face-to-face classes.

The model A La Carte helps to go through the flow and achieve the best possible success, following the trends and preparing for future changes and challenges. 

These days, digital learning is everywhere; it can be at home, in the cyberenvironment, with blended learning through face-to-face connection, etc.

Teachers think such a model is effective as it gives students flexibility, scheduling choices, and time management to complete any task on time.

A La Carte: flexible learning

 

They say this is not about technology but learning through technology. The critical point is anywhere, anytime; learning and technologies provide this opportunity, increasing student interest and engagement.

Model #4 Enriched Virtual

The enriched virtual model allows the learner to complete most of the tasks online, but they also have the chance to attend face-to-face classes. Students do not have to attend school daily as in the case of the flipped classroom, but usually, twice a week attendance is required.

Such learning takes the process from a teacher-centered to a learner-centered approach. As a rule, this has a positive influence on student success.

Students prefer this model as they get more independence and may participate in the specific group activity they like. Usually, there are small groups with different tasks and activities. 

They watch instructional videos and complete guided notes. Then the students complete tasks following the notes. This may be done collaboratively or individually.

In the end, the participants do exit tickets individually. This reveals how well they have grasped the central concept. Students say, in this way, they are always in a challenge. It is not possible to learn something they have already known.

Advantages of Blended Learning

When coming to blended learning, the most critical point to understand is that this is a tech-rich instruction that offers learn-alone courses.

1. Flexibility

The teachers can choose any task to assign, whether synchronous or asynchronous teaching, etc.

On the other hand, the learners are free to choose the time and the way they prefer to learn. Such an approach motivates the students and evokes their interest in learning more.

2. Effectiveness

According to research, blended learning examples provide better effectiveness and productivity. Having the freedom to choose and follow their preferences, students learn more and give better results.

Advantages of Blended Learning

Additionally, the online platforms increase student engagement through live chats, emails, and similar discussions. In this way, students get used to collaborative learning.

3. Personalization

In blended learning, instructors better understand the student's progress, thanks to online learning tools. Accordingly, it becomes easier and faster to shape an opinion about the student and provide methods that better meet their needs and interests.

4. Increasing Reach

Traditional face-to-face classes follow some limitations related to time, distance, etc. Blended learning, on the other hand, doesn’t face such distinctions. The audience is increased thanks to the technologies and the possibility of remote knowledge.

This allows the instructors to increase their Reach and work with more potential students.

5. Cost-effectiveness

One of the most significant advantages of blended learning is that most of the costs faced by educational institutions are reduced. Transportation fees up to an event ticket or printed material require a significant amount of money that is missing in the case of blended learning. 

Cost-effectiveness

Looking for a Platform to Apply Blended Learning?

If you like how blended learning helps students succeed, you may also become an instructor who provides solutions. Create an online platform and start offering your services. If you are looking for a good platform, then try Uteach. Register on the platform and create your website within minutes with your custom domain, design, and preferable features.

Here you may conduct live lessons, present online courses, publish educational material as blog articles or attach other files, develop tests and quizzes, organize webinars, etc. 

You may start your 14 days of the free trial today or subscribe to a free plan. Don't miss your chance! 

Choose a Plan

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Published 11 Feb 2021
Updated at 19 Feb 2024
8 min read
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Article by Vera Mirzoyan

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