On Blended Learning

United States student loan debt sits at a whopping $1.3 trillion. Couple that with rising tuition rates and diminishing median household incomes across the country, and you’ve got what entrepreneur Mark Cuban predicts as a Student Loan Bubble that is bound to burst. Universities across the country are having to address their fundamental business models to reshape their offerings, reconsider their delivery, and ultimately determine how to best attract and retain students.

Higher education is intended to offer knowledge, opportunities, personal growth, and employable skills. And one way institutions are responding to challenges in the knowledge acquisition arena is by implementing blended learning tactics in the classroom. And what is blending learning?

The Christensen Institute defines blending learning as the restructuring of traditional classroom instruction with the injection of online learning tools to provide students with greater autonomy and personalization of their education. Blended learning shifts the instructor’s role from that of a lecturer to one more akin to collaborator and guide. By leveraging technology, blended learning offers benefits for both teacher and student. Teachers can deliver content, create assessments, or evaluate exams with greater ease so that they can spend more time interacting with their students. Students, on the other hand, can access content at their own pace, learn in smaller groups, and select their preferred modality to maximize the learning experience.

Knewton provides a comprehensive infographic on blended learning where it breaks it down into six distinct models based on preliminary classifications. These models vary by the teachers’ roles, modality, physical space, and autonomy:
Blended Learning Infographic

Created by Knewton and Column Five Media

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