We live in a modern age of education, in which technology and abundant information have allowed educators and administrators to significantly change and adapt the methods by which teachers and educators engage with their students in order to successfully meet their needs.
Considering the rapid development of online education in recent years, blended learning is an increasingly attractive approach to teaching that combines the in-person, communal education of a classroom with the personalization of online learning. This begs the question, what exactly is blended learning?
According to iNACOL, any time a student learns partly in a brick-and-mortar location away from home and partly through online delivery with an element of student control, they are engaging in blended learning. At its heart, blended learning is about empowering educators and students with the tools they need to find the right pathway toward maximum learning. Classroom learning allows teachers to engage with their students in person. Online tools add the benefit of providing data and being able to cater to students’ individual learning needs – a level of customization restricted by most school budgets and classroom time restraints. When combined, these blended methods create a holistic approach to education that enables students and teachers to make the most of their time and resources.
The benefits of blended learning are significant and far-reaching, for both students and teachers. Here are a few reasons why the blended learning approach could be a smart choice for your child or student.
The biggest benefit of blended learning lies in its definition: student control.
Roughly 2%-4% of students in the country attend some type of blended school, where online learning is a significant factor in their education. A large portion of these students are drawn to the blended learning model because it allows them to exercise more authority over their learning schedule. With extracurricular activities, sports, jobs, and socializing all competing for time in a student’s day, blended learning allows students to take a portion of their coursework that would otherwise be covered in class time, and engage with it at a time, place, and pace of their choosing. The flexibility that blended learning affords its students greatly increases the chances that they will engage with the material more intentionally. This model of learning also creates ample opportunities for students to build self-discipline and time management skills that will be essential in college.
Blended learning is as beneficial to educators and administrators as it is to the students themselves. Research has shown that not every student engages with curriculum material in the same way. This may have seemed obvious to parents and educators, but only recently, with advancements in education technology, have these differences in learning been accepted and addressed more directly. For example, online courses give teachers useful data about how their students learn, which they can use to build lessons and coursework that caters to each student’s needs and learning styles.
Blended learning also has the benefit of maximizing the value of a student’s time.
Whether a student needs to pick up a specific high school credit to include on a college application, or is simply trying to stay on course to graduate from their university on time, blended learning in the form of concurrent enrollment can make it possible for students to take all the courses they need to achieve their goals. High school and college classes usually fall within a pretty rigid schedule, whereas online courses can be taken during any free time a student has, morning, noon and night. This means that time spent outside the classroom can be utilized for additional academic purposes.
Concurrent enrollment is particularly attractive to forward-thinking and ambitious high school students, because it allows them to take college courses that earn them a two-birds-one-stone credit. Completing a concurrent enrollment class gets you closer to earning your high-school diploma and fulfills college prerequisites. For students who are interested in this approach to blended learning, ASU Prep Digital’s roster of online courses is a great place to start.