Creating a Seamless Online and Offline Learning Experience with Blended Learning
Dr. Kelly Edmonds | 4 min read
Blended learning is key to a modern L&D strategy. In the spirit of deepening understanding of an essential element, we invited Dr. Kelly Edmonds to break down the components of classic blended learning and lay out the Flipped Classroom model. She holds a doctorate focused on online learning and dedicated decades to instructional design and educational research.
You might have heard of the term blended, or hybrid, learning. Furthermore, you might have created this type of course.
In short, blended learning is the combination of online and live elements of a course (i.e. digital content, live sessions, online forum, online quizzes, etc.)
And without a doubt, the unfathomable selection of technology today allows us to choose and mix digital and technical elements to form a blended course.
What many people haven’t quite worked out is how to produce a seamless transition between online, offline, and live components to create the best learning experience for students. Not one that is disconnected, confusing, and too much effort to work through.
The question then becomes:
How does one mix the right blend of tech and content to offer a seamlessly blended and satisfactory course?
Let’s first consider the components of a typical blended learning model.
- It has content to be consumed in various forms, such as text, audio, video, or graphics.
- There are activities such as quizzes, info searching, or decision-making.
- To help with application, there are worksheets, cheat sheets, and resources.
- Then, there is an interactive learning community in an online forum.
Last, there will be a live component via video or audio conferences.
Blended Learning Model
Therefore, I recommend following a great blended learning model to produce a seamless interaction between all those moving pieces. This model is called the Flipped Classroom. Its premise is to have few or no lectures occur during ‘class,’ but only hands-on activities.
Here’s how this model works:
- Students access the online course to consume content.
- They are prompted to engage with others in the online forum to share ideas, ask questions or get support.
- During the live session, there is no lecturing but a series of activities and exercises to help students learn deeper and apply the strategies, individually or in groups. Participants can ask pertinent and timely questions in order to progress.
- Offline, students work through downloadable worksheets and resources to further complete tasks to build mastery.
- They are asked to pop back into online forum to share their work for feedback.
- The instructor and participants respond and refer to online content or resources to further improve their work (i.e. revisit older lessons or start new ones) circling back to consuming online content.
- And the cycle starts again as the course unfolds.
This model requires a slight shift in considering what should occur during live sessions, and how the other components of a course can dance around that. It promotes active learning rather than passive, is much more fun and memorable for learners, offers just-in-time supports, and provides a vehicle to create a seamless learning experience.
BY DR. KELLY EDMONDS
Dr. Kelly has dedicated the last 20 years of her career to instructional design and educational research. She holds three degrees, including a doctorate focused on online learning.