Blended learning can be defined as an approach to education that blends online educational materials and opportunities for interaction online with traditional classroom-based learning methods. Blended learning promotes knowledge and skill with the combination of face to face and online study methods, while conventional method deals in the only face to face system study methods. Furthermore, both blended and conventional learning are known to possess similar methods, structure, content, strategy and learning activities.
The ever-changing world and technological advancement have increased the demand for technical skills. In order to provide it, educators must evaluate their role in the classroom and determine if their curriculum is designed to help students become successful and develop the required skills in this environment. Educators in the 21st century are guiding students with the help of blended learning in dealing with massive amounts of content, to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to use technology as an effective tool in a responsible manner, and to assist students with developing their own learning styles.
Developing 21st-century skills through blended learning:
Blended learning refers to an amalgamation of the best features concerned with face-to-face and online learning.
Interaction: Interactive studies are performed for the students in the classroom, while virtual sessions filled with multimedia-rich content can be accessed by students anywhere and anytime with only an internet connection. These exercises aim to provide different modes of content delivery to encourage interactions, acquisition of knowledge and skills through physical classrooms, and continuation of the learning processes through online methods. Numerous educational activities and assignments which were performed in physical classrooms are now efficiently being held through online or electronic means. With various forums, online groups and communities created through a blended learning atmosphere, students can interact with their peers and communicate. This kind of interaction and open communication often leads to the development of several social and interpersonal skills.
Communication: Student-to-student communications and reflections are encouraged by the options of reporting and presenting these projects in an e-learning environment. With the help of blended learning, the teachers can set clear directions and realistic goals for individuals for collective tasks. Communication helps in the improvement and motivation of learners, academic achievement, teamwork, skill acquisition, etc. Students are also awarded diverse opportunities for the extension of knowledge beyond the classroom through online learning efforts. The communication also results in the engagement of students which leads to better information and feedback on work. When communications happen online through the channels of blended learning the students become more aware of their online presence and position which leads to the development of 'netiquette skills', a combination of the words network and etiquette defined as a set of rules for acceptable online behaviour.
Activities: Another way blended learning help students develop skills is through interactive activities. Blended learning provides the students with various opportunities and time flexibility to interact, communicate, present, work in groups, discuss, share ideas, and resources at any location. This results in the intense training and promotion of soft skills including communication, IT, time management, problem-solving, research skills, and teamwork. The interactive activities also intensely assist in the achievement of higher academic success. This way students who get exposed to blended learning activities obtain more of the 21st-century skills including soft skills and hard skills.
With the help of the above methods, students can make the most of the blended learning model and develop 21st-century skills. The advent and rise of blended learning can be used in the most effective way for learning new skills and acquiring knowledge.
Pearson offers a similar learning platform for students by fulfilling the above points. With the Pearson K-12 learning program, you can get your hands on a Blended ecosystem. It contains ActiveTeach that blends digital content with print content, ActiveApp, a one-touch destination for learning anytime and anywhere, and a comprehensive range of textbooks and learning material from pre-primary to class 12th. Click here to know more.