Universities around the world are constantly trying to find a new formula for delivering knowledge as students are looking for more personalized approach towards their studies. One particular newborn study mode has attracted huge amounts of attention, as it successfully combines both traditional and innovative methods to deliver the much wanted result – high quality, modern education.
Defined as blended learning, this form of knowledge delivery relies on the balance of in-person instruction and online digital resources to create the perfect learning environment for every student. This means that the figure of a tutor remains but this time only to be seen as a “guide-by-the-side” rather than a “sage-by-the-stage”.
Initially, students are provided with lecture materials on an online platform. This allows the freedom of exploring the content several times when facing difficulties or, vice versa, going through familiar content at a faster pace. In addition, the student can also choose when and where to initiate his studies – during the morning or around noon and in the café or in the local library. What is more, blended learning offers suitable conditions for students with disabilities or impairments, as the learning process is based entirely on the use of a piece of technology and does not require keeping up with others.
The blended learning method also includes face-to-face modules where the students can meet up with an appointed course instructor. These meetings are a vital part of the study process, as up to this point the individuals will have reached a different level of knowledge in accordance to their devoted time, chosen path and selected pace. In order to synchronize with each personal progress the tutor interacts one-on-one with the students and applies the traditional teaching model whenever there are misunderstandings, impracticalities or questions. Group discussions and project work are also undertaken in the classroom.
Finally, after the students have gone through a set of online modules and classroom meetings, they can choose to be examined and finish their course.
As blended learning continues to develop as a study mode and an education technique, many researchers have already specified four specific models that can be applied. These include:
Still, blended learning is a long distance from being massively implemented, as the other side of coin shows a few major disadvantages. For starters, universities will have to build up individual online data systems with up-to-date modules for students to make use of. Additionally, all current tutors will have to be specially prepared for instruction with the aid of blended learning and worst of all – most higher education institutions cannot afford to build up and rely on such a technologically-oriented teaching technique.
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