Blended Learning

Blended learning has emerged as a very effective way to combine online and face-to-face approaches to learning. Blended learning is a way to educate from a distance (i.e., email, learning management system, or video) combined with traditional face-to-face education or training. It can be an innovative way to approach your learning needs for your school district by allowing you to mix a combination of face-to-face seminars with online modules for staff development. Although there are no set standards for determining the most effective blend of training, common sense will help to prepare you to choose the appropriate media to educate your staff. In most instances, a learning management system can satisfy the majority of the learning needs for staff development. Traditional face-to-face seminars and training sessions may only be needed to reinforce the major points the school district is trying to get across to teachers.

Possible blended learning combinations:

  • Traditional seminar in conjunction with online streaming video.
  • Traditional face-to-face course with online modules.
  • Conference with discussion board.

One example of a blended learning approach is to offer traditional seminar presentations and lectures in conjunction with streaming video on the World Wide Web. Offering streaming video can enhance traditional face-to-face presentation and lectures. Steaming video can allow for follow-up interaction and instruction. If the participants have a DSL or cable modem Internet connection, they can view the streaming video in real time using a windows media player. However, if the individual has a dial-up connection, they may need to view the compressed archived video. Either way, the blended learning approach can be a very effective learning tool.

Offering a combination of face-to-face training courses and online module instruction by utilizing a learning management system can also be an effective strategy to integrate blended learning into your school district. This could be a very effective way to minimize the cost of delivering high quality learning tools to your employees. Online modules allow you to cater the specific content and post it on the web for easy viewing by the participants. In addition, you can make end of lesson quizzes and exercises to assess the performance of your employees.

Another example would be to include a face-to-face conference with online collaboration using discussion boards. Discussion boards can be an effective way for teachers and staff members to communicate and respond to important topics that administrators would like to discuss.

Blended learning is a new and exciting way for school districts to offer staff development programs to their employees. One exact formula does not exist so each school district must cater their learning needs to their particular situation.

Want to become a Texas teacher? etools4Education offers a simple and affordable way to obtain your certification online.