What is the Blended Learning Approach? 8 Examples & Models

Blended Learning Approach

Education and training have shifted in the last 10-20 years. Gone are the days of memorizing facts and putting pens or pencils on paper. The rapid surge of technological advances has required educators and corporate trainers to adjust to modern needs in education. Instructors now must blend their face-to-face lessons with integrated technology and digital media.

In 2010, 4 million higher education learners were enrolled in at least one online course.[1]. The year 2020 gave cultures across the globe a massive shift in the need to develop and harness the power of blended learning. Alternative technological approaches to learning came with challenges but also with vast innovation. It is an exciting time for the blended learning approach to grow and expand.

Read along to learn more about the blended learning approach.

Before you continue, we think you’ll love our $1 trial of Quenza, the blended learning software for your organization. Quenza’s user-friendly digital tools will help you design and implement your blended learning strategies effectively and give you everything you need to help others develop and grow.

What is Blended Learning? 4 Models

Blended learning (also known as hybrid learning) is a way of teaching that mixes traditional instructor-led learning with technology. The approach increases flexibility for students by enabling access to online content, which can be utilized at a personal pace. It also frees instructors up to offer one-on-one interaction with students in new ways. Fresh technologies have expanded possibilities for distributed communication and interaction.[2]

Hybrid learning allows students to pace themselves with the online content while continuing to interact face-to-face with their instructors. This type of learning requires self-regulation. With that, it reduces failure rates. When technology is integrated effectively, it allows for technology to complement the instruction rather than requiring bodies in learning seats for an extended percentage of the time.

Quenza What is Blended Learning approach
Quenza (pictured) helps you design, build, and share the online components of a blended learning curriculum.

There is a wide array of blended learning strategies, as many technology companies are offering solutions for training and learning across the globe. The Handbook for Blended Learning defines models concerning levels where the learning blend is initiated.[2]

Hybrid learning allows students to pace themselves with the online content while continuing to interact face-to-face with their instructors.

Activity Level Blending

This occurs when activities contain both face-to-face and tech-driven elements.

Course Level Blending

This is the most common blending model. It occurs when a combination of distinct face-to-face activities and online coaching tools is utilized. The activities overlap.

The following are a few of the well-known models of blended learning.

1. Flipped Classroom or Rotation Model

Rather than utilizing traditional teacher-led lectures, students learn in a content-rich online setting. The available face-to-face time is spent on teacher-supervised practice activities. Students can watch and learn from pre-recorded lectures at their own pace.

2. Flex Model

This model gives students a high degree of control. It allows flexibility and timing of learning leaning heavily on digital content. Less face-to-face learning is relied upon, and instructors are available to help, as needed.

3. A La Carte

This approach is very helpful for student schedules. Some courses may be utilized face-to-face, while others are completed online with an instructor of record. Higher education uses this model frequently to allow access to various types of learning for various types of learners.

4. Enriched Virtual Model

This approach is an alternative to full-time school. It allows participants to complete most coursework online with limited face-to-face contact with the instructor.

Blended Approach: Methods & Theories

Developing blended learning methods and theories is essential for the knowledge-creation process. With the rapid expansion of technology globally serving learning communities, a common language can be established with method and theory development. There have been limited efforts in theory development in this domain, though with the current need to shift to technology-driven learning, more methods and theories are certain to follow.

The broadest theoretical construct for blended learning is called Technical Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK). This framework combines 3 types of knowledge (technical, pedagogical, and content) to be integrated into the blended learning by the instructor.

TPACK is frequently compared to the SAMR model developed by Dr. Ruben Puentedura. SAMR stands for substitution, augmentation, modification, and redefinition. This model is utilized as a planning tool to assist in creating tasks for students to complete.

  • Substitution – Technology acts as a direct substitute with no functional change.
  • Augmentation – Technology acts as a direct substitute for functional change.
  • Modification – Technology allows for significant task redesign.
  • Redefinition – Technology allows for creating new tasks that were previously inconceivable.

Transactional Distance Theory posits that communication gaps between instructors and students can unintentionally develop through design flaws. To avoid this gap, instructors are encouraged to design distance learning so that misinterpretations of behaviors of both instructors and students are mitigated. This theory outlines opportunities for stressing student autonomy.

Community Of Inquiry Theory focuses on creating deep and meaningful learning experiences. This framework highlights presence as a key element in forming collaborative-constructivist learning environments. Successful distance education experiences are created with a social, cognitive, and teaching presence. These areas of presence overlap to create effective learning experiences.

4 Examples of Online Blended Training

People are busy! With the expanded need for blended online training, creating the best learning experience while respecting learners’ time is challenging.

PositivePsychology.com has created Masterclasses that leave users with an enriched understanding of content. The rich online content allows users to learn independently, and students are tested to ensure content retention.

Online assistance is readily available should any questions need to be answered.

Quenza Blended Learning Examples
PositivePsychology.com Masterclasses are a good example of blended learning in action.

The Flourishing Center has created rich and impactful online learning experiences for a variety of its programs. Founder and change agent maker Emiliya Zhivotovskaya, MAPP creates deeply connective and collaborative opportunities for the change agents. Students are offered a powerful blend of live instruction with evidence-based online learning content.

The Positive Educator Certification exemplifies The Flourishing Center’s blended learning approach. PEC is a 64-hour online program that pulls together teachers, parents, and other members of the education ecosystem. This powerful program helps adults who serve children learn the fundamentals of positive psychology and deploy them within an educational setting.

Quenza’s lesson-planning capabilities are very helpful. While interacting with clients, coaches using Quenza can send learning modules to be completed through the platform quickly and easily.

Quenza Therapy Worksheets for Couples
Quenza Expansions are customizable templates for your therapy worksheets, such as the “Learning To Say No” therapy worksheet for couples (pictured).

Quenza’s lesson on Spending Time in Nature, shown below, is another example of an Expansion Activity’s capabilities.

Time in Nature Blended Learning Approach Quenza
Expansion Activities like Quenza’s Spending Time In Nature lesson (pictured) encourage students to apply skills that they learn online in real-world settings.

This Expansion Activity approach blends the science of positive psychology with the ease of technology to enhance well-being. Anchoring technology with service to clients is a powerful way to blend learning.

Blended Learning in the Workplace

Using blended learning in the workplace has been a new and relevant area of growth for many businesses. Blended learning is dominating the news in higher education, the corporate world, and even government agencies. As many workplaces now connect workers in varying geographical areas, this approach lays a foundation for connection and belonging more easily than in the past.

A 2016 Gallup report showed that 51% of workers were disengaged in their workplace, which results in low morale and productivity losses. Blended learning opportunities in the workplace must boost morale and connect workers in a fun way. Helping the workplace remain in a growth mindset by offering opportunities to advance their knowledge base boosts worker engagement, creating higher productivity.

Seminars, mentoring, and on-the-job training can all enhance workplaces with effective blended learning strategies while saving time and money for any company.

Recommended: 3 Best Online Coaching and Mentoring Software Programs

9 Advantages & Disadvantages

The advantages of blended learning are plentiful. Any workplace will thrive by offering opportunities for learning to its workforce. Growth for employees equals growth for companies.

  • Productivity increases with increased learning flexibility. By providing autonomy to online learners, they can spend their time choosing the timing and execution of their learning. Providing learning, particularly with cross-device learning capabilities, allows integration into students’ daily schedules.
  • Blended learning encourages collaboration. By providing helpful content, learners can come together to discuss useful portions of their learning and decide where this information will prove most useful.
  • The decrease in wasted meeting time is a noted advantage of blended learning. Reducing the need to sit through painful, tedious training and replacing them with efficient blended learning opportunities is a great improvement in the workplace.
  • Effective blended learning also decreases failure rates for users by allowing the learning to meet a broader set of learning needs.
  • Another advantage is allowing the learners to learn at a comfortably chosen pace. Every student differs in their approach to retaining information and will find it helpful to self-regulate when and where they progress in their growth.

Blended learning comes with disadvantages as well.

  • One of the biggest is ensuring that the technology itself is efficient to serve a wide array of users. Workplaces and schools must employ the proper number of IT professionals to make the blended learning approach work. Reliability issues can quickly stall online learning efforts.
  • Another disadvantage is the increase in instructor workload. Teachers who are trained to be face-to-face must rapidly advance their personal knowledge base to meet technological demands.
  • A third disadvantage is the loss of personal connection between instructor and student. Though this can be attained online, it is more challenging to form a real human connection through a screen than in real-life settings.
  • A fourth disadvantage is accounting for various approaches to learning. Some online learners prefer to procrastinate on lectures and choose to binge in one sitting. Others move ahead quickly and will challenge the instructor by pacing ahead of the scheduled learning.

5 Benefits For Students

Students can find plentiful benefits for blended learning.

  1. Increase in autonomy.
  2. Increase in scheduling flexibility.
  3. Decrease in failure rates.
  4. Ability to return to content for review.
  5. Opportunities for knowledge development.

Is It Effective? 2 Research Findings

Through the Communities of Inquiry framework, understanding the role of the learner in the effectiveness of blended learning is important. Self-efficacy and self-regulation are vital for blended learning to be effective.

Without the presence (cognitive, behavioral, and social), the effectiveness of online learning can be compromised. Learners must believe they can learn in this setting for actual learning to occur. [3]

One study’s findings generally showed that blended learning was an effective approach in making profound learning of academic subjects. This study was done for medical professionals, which carries with it a level of self-regulation that could very well be higher than that of other learners. [4]

Applying Blended Learning: Best Tool & Techniques

Creating an effective and meaningful online learning experience requires thoughtful planning. One of the most important pieces of the planning puzzle is creating opportunities for student/client engagement. Quenza’s mobile app enables providers to increase client engagement, improving learning outcomes.

A combination of pro-social connection and direct, self-paced online learning content is the best practice when designing a blended learning strategy. Emiliya Zhivotovskaya, MAPP offers great tips for creating fun and interactive online learning here. Blended fun and direct, organized plans are vital to success in online learning.

Instructors should always set clear expectations for their students and understand that hiccups with technology are a part of the process. Ensure the users know they are supported even if the support is at a distance.

An authentic and strong presence for instructors is absolutely vital to approaching blended learning.

Use video chat as often as possible to encourage the social side of learning.

Don’t be boring! Creating engaging online content is important. Instructors won’t receive face-to-face feedback on how a lesson is going. The audience will be lost if an instructor or online tutor doesn’t create content that grabs their attention in some way.

Put an effort into creating a community discussion board or some other way to interact with other online learners. Community is important.

Possible Challenges & Digital Solutions

Creating effective and user-friendly blended learning comes with challenges. Emerging technology can take time to learn. Quenza’s course creation platform makes the creation and execution of blended learning user-friendly.

Without combining 15 different technologies to make your coursework, Quenza allows an easy flow of content, videos, and activities. Instructors must not become techie experts to create a fun and engaging course.

Engagement and empowerment are challenges when building online learning spaces. Quenza’s engagement capabilities improve interactions between coaches/ instructors and their students. This is a huge win for course creators.

Integrating Blended Learning in Different Educational Settings

Blended learning can be adapted to various educational environments, from K-12 schools to higher education and corporate training. In K-12 settings, it supports differentiated instruction, allowing teachers to meet diverse student needs. Higher education institutions leverage blended learning to provide flexible learning schedules, catering to students who juggle academics with other commitments. Corporate training programs utilize blended learning to offer employees on-demand access to training materials, enhancing skill development while reducing training costs.

When integrating blended learning, it’s essential to consider the specific needs of the educational setting. In K-12 schools, for example, ensuring access to devices and reliable internet is crucial. Higher education institutions might focus on developing robust online course components that complement in-person lectures. Corporate training programs should prioritize user-friendly platforms that facilitate seamless access to training modules.

Effective integration also involves training educators and instructors to use blended learning tools efficiently. Professional development programs can help teachers and trainers become comfortable with new technologies, enabling them to create engaging and interactive learning experiences. Continuous support and resources for educators are vital for successfully implementing blended learning.

Measuring the Success of Blended Learning Programs

Evaluating the effectiveness of blended learning programs is crucial to ensure they meet educational goals and improve learner outcomes. One method is to analyze student performance data before and after implementing blended learning. This data can highlight areas of improvement and success, providing insights into the impact of blended learning on student achievement.

Student feedback is another valuable metric for measuring the success of blended learning. Surveys and focus groups can gather students’ perspectives on the blended learning experience, identifying strengths and areas for enhancement. Understanding students’ challenges and preferences helps educators refine their approach and make necessary adjustments.

Additionally, monitoring engagement metrics such as participation rates in online activities, time spent on learning platforms, and completion rates of digital assignments offer insights into student involvement. High engagement levels often correlate with improved learning outcomes, indicating the effectiveness of the blended learning approach. Regular assessments and continuous improvement based on data and feedback ensure that blended learning programs remain relevant and effective.

By focusing on these aspects, the blog post can provide readers with comprehensive and actionable insights into integrating and measuring the success of blended learning programs. This enhances the value of the content, making it more engaging and informative for educators and institutions looking to adopt or improve their blended learning strategies.

Final Thoughts

Education and training needs have significantly shifted over the past 20 years, even more so within the past 2 years. Advancing theories and technologies for blended learning will inevitably expand with the growing needs in the area.

It is an exciting time for education and training, and it is comforting to know that coaches and therapists aren’t left behind with Quenza’s engaging approach to blended learning. To see how Quenza can improve blended learning for you and your students, try the 30-day trial for only $1.

References

  1. ^ Allen, E., & Seaman, J. (2010). Learning on demand: Online education in the United States 2009. Needham, MA: Sloan Consortium.
  2. ^ Bonk, C. J., & Graham, C. R. (2006). The Handbook of Blended Learning: Global Perspectives, Local Designs. San Francisco: Pfeiffer
  3. ^ Shea, P. & Bidjerano, T. (2010). Learning presence: Towards a theory of self-efficacy, self-regulation, and the development of communities of inquiry in online and blended learning environments. Computers and Education, 55(4), 0–1731.
  4. ^ Karamizadeh, Z., Zarifsanayei, N., Faghihi, A. A., Mohammadi, H., & Habibi, M. (2012). The study of the effectiveness of blended learning approach for medical training courses. Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal, 14(1), 41-44.

About the author

After the loss of a special family member, Kelly found purpose in the world of positive psychology. As a seasoned coach, she aids families in the development of improvement plans and increased communication skills with her course in resilience - Brighter Family Experience.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.