Blended learning as a solution to the educational environment of global pandemics

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Blended learning as a solution to the educational environment of global pandemics

Blended learning is the combination of virtual and face-to-face methodologies as an integrated learning offer. Simply understood as a hybrid methodology, blended learning is a composite approach to the new demands in education and our day-to-day interactions.

Not to be confused with in-person classes with a video lazily added on as homework, blended learning is the deliberate mixing of methodologies to strengthen the academic offer. Given the flexibility of digital mediums, the adoption of blended methodologies has been particularly useful in 2020-2021 in response to the global pandemic of COVID-19. Previously teachers could rely on their face-to-face skillset but now many have been forced to plunge into the deep end of the digital world and try to mix their knowledge with new information.

Why blended learning?

The push towards blended learning isn’t without reason. From the research, it has been illustrated that it provides learning flexibility, student engagement, and a more economic solution than traditional methods. Additionally, many of us can understand from a personal perspective the integration of our personal and virtual selves as a combined entity.

Here’s a little snippet of the research and why blended learning is taking over as the preferred form of learning.

What does blended learning look like?

Blended learning can take many forms depending on how the facilitators decide to mix methodologies. At Primed Community in Colombia we utilise personalised classes, community workshops and projects, extensive resources from the web and our personalised learning portal with gamification, voice recognition and a points system (Learning Management System – LMS). 

 

Of course, there are many ways to facilitate blended learning but what is most important is that they are mixed and not treated separately in the classroom. However, here we’re going to dive into each component by itself.

Face-to-face

  • Immersive workshops – learning experiences based around doing activities based in other areas of knowledge.
  • Community Projects – applied learning for social good in populations in situations of vulnerability
  • Active classroom – student focused learning based on the application of knowledge
  • Community building and rapport  – the most valuable place for creating connections
  • Context based learning – using environments like the Comuna 13 to enrich the learning experience.

Flexible methodologies

  • Experiential classes based around curriculum where students learn through their experience.
  • Conversation spaces, open microphones, cineclub, dance classes and other specific learning environments to extend learning potential 
  • Classroom resources such as activities, videos, images, worksheets, audio, stories, articles etc.
  • Community interactions – language exchanges, pen pals, presentation groups etc.
  • Flipped learning – students prepare for the class online so the class is based around experience

Virtual

  • Self-guided learning through structured courses, activities and resources
  • Free learning of other topics – personal development, life skills and more
  • Immersions in content creation for videos, blogs and learning resources
  • Voice recognition for fluency practise and confidence
  • Community classes available for free to members
  • Gamification of process for fun and productive student leaderboards

Problems with blended learning

No methodology is a 1 size fits all solution. However, blended learning comes pretty close based on it being a hybrid system that takes the best of both worlds. Rather than blended being viewed as a replacement to traditional teaching, it is useful to view it as an extension and integration of existing skillsets and resources. In our experience at Primed, the biggest resistance to blended learning is the adoption of virtual methodologies. Populations that are less savvy with technology or less interested in learning new methodologies may have problems adjusting to blended learning practises. However, generally it provides a more integrated, effective, fun and economically viable solution to education. Have you used blended learning or want to? Let us know.

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