Have you been disappointed by your blended learning solutions? If so, does your disappointment lie with the solution itself or with your expectations of that solution?
When wearing my “support” hat, I communicate with many, many teachers. And in the nature of my role in support, I help our customers resolve technical issues and also more over-arching classroom management issues.
I’d like to take a minute to talk about those over-arching classroom management issues. These types of issues tend to stem from an expectation of the blended learning solutions for which they were never intended to resolve. What?
Blended Learning Solutions or Teaching Solutions?
Many instructors acquire blended learning solutions with slightly skewed expectations. And it’s not necessarily the instructors’ faults. Many blended learning solutions are sold on the idea that they will make teaching easier and more efficient. And while that IS often an intended and well-planned result of blended learning solutions, it isn’t necessarily the first priority. As Andrew Coulson points out in his post for GettingSmart.com, are your blended learning solutions expected to improve learning efficiency and cost? Or are they expected to improve the learning itself?
Common Expectations of Blended Learning Solutions
- Blended learning solutions will replace my lectures (or ME?!).
- They will keep my students busy and focused during class time.
- They will integrate seamlessly with my existing curriculum and lesson plans.
- They will help me control student pace through curriculum.
Realistic Expectations of Blended Learning Solutions
- Blended learning solutions can be used to effectively introduce or explain a topic before, during, or after it is covered by the teacher. But they can never replace the teacher.
- As with anything, a blended learning solution cannot be used all day, every day. Students will soon tire of doing one thing for an extended period of time.
- Using a blended learning solution is an opportunity to refresh your curriculum and lesson plans to make them flow together and enhance each other. Undoubtedly, a few tweaks will be required here and there to achieve flow and cohesiveness.
- By their very nature, most blended learning solutions are actually designed to encourage self-paced learning.
When analyzing whether or not your blended learning solutions meet your expectations, take a moment to carefully consider those expectations. Are they teaching expectations or learning expectations. Ultimately, aren’t effective blended learning solutions that improve learning or solve learning problems in fact teaching solutions?
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