What are the advantages of blended learning?
‘More is more’. With blended learning you are able to manage learning in large groups. The first part is teaching the class, and after that, providing the students with learning materials and assignments so they can work on their own.
During this time you can do less work and relax, but it’s also possible to assist the learners who are in need of more information. This is one of the main benefits of blended learning.
Set your own pace
Participants can study on their own pace and join face to face classes. If they are faster than the other participants, they don’t have to wait for them. On the other hand, if they are slower, they can take their time.
If you are a working mother who wants to take a course along with your regular job, it may be difficult with your time management. With blended learning, you can, to a great extent, decide when you’re going to study.
Reduction in costs
Less classrooms, less instructors, no commuting time: less money spent.
It’s just fun! From elementary school to university students and employees taking company trainings, blended learning has proven to be more engaging than traditional learning for most participants.
What are the disadvantages of blended learning?
Lack of motivation
There are also some cons to blended learning. Depending on how it's set up, utilizing blended learning can diminish the motivation of your participants. Not every blended learning model is applicable to every age category, school or organization. Just like you don’t give young children a book with a lot of texts and just a few images, because that's more than they can handle, you need to decide which approach will work best for your users.
If you expect young children to do all their homework and prepare lessons on their computer at home, it might not work as expected. Employees who are used to work with their hands may also not like sitting in front a screen for too long. So, it's important to take these things into consideration when preparing your learning methods and materials.
Basic technology knowledge
Learners are expected to have a basic knowledge of technology in order to take online lessons and complete assignments. Your participants will get annoyed if they don't know how to access the learning content or use the devices.
If they have to focus on a new system and on learning something new, it might cause a cognitive overload. This is not what you want to happen!
Plagiarism and credibility problem
It's hard to resist the temptation of looking up things on the web while learning from a computer or smartphone.
To prevent this, you could use plagiarism checkers (available online) to see if your students have been copying content from other sources. It's also possible to set up a timer, randomize questions (so each user gets a different selection of questions for his test) or even using secure browsers that block web navigation during online tests or courses.
Blended learning vs traditional classroom
‘Take your books and read the first chapter.’ This is a sentence you must have heard a lot of times. Nowadays this sentence could be replaced by ‘click on the link and follow the instructions on your laptop’. The first situation happens on a traditional learning setting. The second is a modern learning method. Blended learning is a mix between traditional (face to face) learning methods and modern (online) ones.
Strictly traditional classroom settings are giving room to new technologies. We cannot say that a blended learning approach is better. But there are so many advantages to it, that even the most traditional institutions that are adopting it can see the benefits.
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