- What is blended learning?
- Why do we need a blended learning curriculum?
- Blended learning models
- How blended learning benefits relationships
- How to use blended learning at home
- Tips for blended learning success at home
Many schools are implementing a blended learning approach. But what do we mean by blended learning? And how can you support your child at home?
As students head back to school, things are looking much different than they used to be! After months of fully remote learning, students are stepping back into the classroom, but often only part-time. Does your schedule look different these days?
What is blended learning?
Simply put, blended learning is a form of education that includes in-person, hands-on learning in combination with digital learning.
This can occur in a couple of ways:
In-person classroom learning with the addition of digital tools. Even pre-pandemic, this was a widely used model of blended learning. Technology is all around us, and schools have incorporated it into their curriculum in many ways.
Blended learning can also occur when students do some learning in person and some learning remotely. This is likely what you are experiencing now in some fashion.
👉 FYI: The term hybrid learning is sometimes used interchangeably with blended learning.
Blended learning during Covid means a student may spend several days a week completing school tasks at home and the remaining days in the classroom. In some cases, students may attend school for part of the day and remain at home for the other part. In either case, the general idea is the same.A day at home may include: 🏠
- listening to a lesson from the teacher in a live meeting online
- watching a recorded video on their own and answering a set of questions
- completing a mathematics assignment with paper and pencil
On school days
On school days, students will perform more hands-on activities and peer learning. But they will still use digital tools as well. This might include:
- using a school computer to complete a simulated biology experiment
- researching some facts for a group project
- typing a report
Teachers may also show students a video clip or have them use tablets to do a short quiz. In some schools, more lessons and interactions occur online even though students are present in person. This is typically to promote social distancing.
You may also hear the terms “synchronous learning” and “asynchronous learning” in conversations about blended learning, so let me describe them briefly.
👩🏫 Synchronous learning
Refers to learning that takes place in real time. The teacher is giving a lesson, and all the students are participating at once. This may happen in person in a classroom, or via a live meeting (like Zoom or Microsoft Teams).
🖥️ Asynchronous learning
Refers to learning that is done at separate times. The teacher may provide a video for students to watch independently, or students may have a project to complete with a small group. The teacher is not face to face with students (whether in person or on screen) during asynchronous learning, and students are all working at their own pace through the material.
During remote learning, you probably noticed that your child did a mix of asynchronous and synchronous learning activities. As we move back to in-person learning through a blended model, the at-home times will likely be more asynchronous and the in school times will contain more synchronous activities.
Why do we need a blended learning curriculum?
These days, a blended learning approach is necessary because of Covid-19. Most schools have needed to adapt to blended learning to keep social distance and follow safety regulations.
Many schools in the UK are using a blended learning model as they reopen and welcome students back into the classroom. But even when things get back to normal, digital learning is not going to just disappear!
A recent study actually shows that some students are doing well with remote learning, especially girls and students with “low ability.” The thought is that the added flexibility of blended learning along with the lessened social demands of a classroom has been good for some students. 🥳
That doesn’t mean in-class learning is going away! But homework will likely be increasingly online, and technology in the classroom is definitely here to stay. Research shows that a well-balanced blended learning curriculum benefits students and teachers.
One large goal of the school is to prepare students for the future, right? Higher education is moving more toward a permanent method of blended learning.
For university students, a combination of online and in-person learning is beneficial. Universities prefer blended learning, so doing it now will actually help prepare students for higher education!
Blended learning models
There are a variety of ways blended learning can work. The National Education Union lays out six models of blended learning.
The teacher delivers lessons and supplements with digital tools. This model is pretty standard in schools these days. As technology advances, expect to see more and more face-to-face blended learning for all ages of students.
Students cycle through independent online study and face-to-face interactions. This model is often what we mean by blended learning during the pandemic. Students may attend school only part of the day, or only some days of the week. They spend the rest of the time learning online at home.
Most of the learning happens online, but teachers are available for face-to-face support. In some schools, a flex model is used to maintain social distancing. Students may be present in the classroom, but the schoolwork still occurs on the computer.
All learning takes place online but in a consistent physical location. During remote learning, some students attend a school or childcare setting so that their parents can work outside the home.
Students choose to supplement their traditional learning with online classes. They may expand on their in-school learning or take on a totally different subject.
Students complete an entire class online with the possibility of teacher interactions. Many university classes operate in this manner. The learning materials are all available online for the student. They may participate in online discussion boards and/or email with the instructor, but there are no live classes.
How blended learning benefits relationships
One of the lesser-known benefits of blended learning is that it can also help students foster deeper connections with their families and communities. Here are just some of the ways blended learning can have an impact at home: ❤️
Increases parent engagement
Gary Spracklen, headteacher at The Prince of Wales School in Dorchester, and a member of the UK government’s Department for Education’s ‘ETAG’ (Educational Technology Action Group) feels that blended learning enables far greater engagement from parents with regard to student learning.
Unlike classrooms, parents can now access all the learning material online. They are able to keep in touch with students' lessons even when students are at times reluctant or exhausted to share their school day with parents.
When parents remain involved with students’ learning – whether by chatting with them about what they did in class or supporting them with assignments at home, it strengthens their relationship with parents.
When students at Spracklen’s school were learning about the World Wars, they were able to have their grandparents virtually contribute their personal experiences of the war to the class. 🗣
Spracklen admits that for logistical reasons, such frequent in-person interactions for students with the larger community are not always possible. But virtually, blended learning has allowed students to strengthen their bonds with the community.
How to use blended learning at home
First things first, you should get involved in the blended learning your child’s school provides.
Then, if you want, you can include additional learning opportunities for your child at home. (Want to provide additional learning opportunities but don’t know where to start? A GoStudent tutor can help!)
Tips for blended learning success at home
Students can become overwhelmed by the need to transition between working at school and working at home. Help set them up for success with blended learning!
Talk it out 🗣️
Chat with your child about blended learning. What do they like and dislike about it? What parts are the most challenging? Help them develop a plan for getting work done while they are learning at home.
Write down their plan and hang it up for accountability. Make sure you help them think through possible pitfalls (Is it hard to focus when sister is watching TV? Do they need to do some stretches halfway through a lesson?)
Get connected 📶
Make sure your child has access to a reliable internet connection and a dedicated device to do schoolwork. This can be tricky if you have other children or adults that need to share a computer, so consider making a schedule!
If you need support with getting the appropriate materials, contact your school.
Create the right environment 📋
Set up the environment for success! Your child needs a clear, distraction-free space that is dedicated to schoolwork. This will help them focus and think clearly.
Have a snack first, and make sure they are hydrated. Get some physical activity earlier in the day or plan some for right after the lesson.
Surf safely 🔒
Schools teach internet safety, but make sure you are teaching it too! Consider adding a parental block to your internet. Teach your child how to find reliable sources online.
Get involved 👩👦
Just because you can’t see the physical work doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check in on your child’s activities. Offer to proofread an essay, inquire about the science project, and make sure that the assignment is fully completed before they log off. You might be also able to subscribe to updates via the platform that the teacher uses.
GoStudent’s virtual classroom can enhance your child’s blended learning experience. Our tutors will work at your student’s level and help them make progress. GoStudent has affordable rates and expert tutors, so arrange your free demo lesson today! 🚀