Blended Learning - Pros, Cons and Future
While the world at large is facing tough times dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic, confining millions of people to their homes, shutting down businesses and facing economic crises, never had we imagined that there will be a time when all schools and colleges will be shut down indefinitely.
While parents and students were upset and worried about the disruption in their education, this has prompted the Educationists across the world to rethink the conventional mode of education. They are now forced to adopt technology to ensure learning continues while students stay at home. As a result many schools have started equipping themselves with E-tools and resources to ensure uninterrupted learning.
Blending learning, now, more than ever, is gaining more importance across the world.
What is Blended learning?
Simply put, Blended Learning is a style of education that combines or blends both classroom learning and online learning.
In today’s society students and adults make use of technology in their day to day lives. Students will invariably be using technology in their future pursuits, so exposing them to digital learning prepares them to be ready for it.
As the world is bracing itself to face the new ‘normal’, blended learning could well be the future of pedagogy across the globe.
While blended learning can be the best solution in these difficult times, it is also important to look at the shortcomings that can prevent it from effective.
Internet is still a luxury for many.
Connectivity and accessibility issues, especially in rural areas.
Not all students and teachers are tech-savvy. Students need to have a basic knowledge of technology to access the content and complete assignments on time. Training teachers in technology usage may be a time consuming process. Hence a complete makeover in education with the e-learning methods would require some time to establish itself.
All students have unique learning styles and all these need to be addressed by the blended approach. Content has to be designed in a way that reaches the visual, auditory and kinetic learners.
The content that works for class rooms may not necessarily work for online teaching. The existing course content has to be modified such that it adapts to all students with different learning styles which may be time consuming.
A shift in mind set of parents, teachers and students who are used to the traditional education system is necessary which may take time.
While there are challenges to be faced, we should not forget the numerous benefits that Blended Learning offers, both to the teachers and the students.
Supplementing classroom teaching with eLearning allows the students to learn at their own pace thus offering a greater amount of flexibility in deciding when they want to study.
Learners are also able to get individualized support from an online teacher. This is especially important for those who are shy to ask doubts or speak in a classroom.
Helps slow learners to learn at their own pace, which reduces stress levels.
Visual, auditory and interactive content is used to enhance offline activities which make E-learning interesting and engaging to the students.
Parental involvement becomes mandatory more in the E-learning platform when compared to the conventional educational platforms.
Online learning requires the students to inculcate certain life skills for it to be successful. Students learn to practice self-discipline, time management, and online etiquette.
Makes the students be digitally savvy to operate in the online environment which will prepare the students for their future, in whichever career they choose to pursue.
Digital assessments give instant feedback and students are able to analyse their progress instantly.
As the COVID-19 has created an atmosphere for technology-enabled learning, policy-makers and educators can now start finding ways to overcome the shortcomings and to create an education system that will maximize student outcomes and increase deeper learning in a more open learner-centred environment.