What is blended learning?
Blended learning provides a combination of face-to-face learning and dynamic digital content that facilitates anytime/anyplace learning.
With so many digital technologies available on both proprietary and free-to-use platforms, creating blended learning content can seem like a daunting task. Finding the right approach that meets the needs of your learners is challenging at a time when academics are increasingly being asked to do more with less.
What you can do
To create meaningful blended learning content an informed understanding of the range of tools available and their pedagogical applications is essential.
Make your content engaging
Enriching blended learning content with appropriate images, audio and video that have been labelled for reuse can add variety and impact. Read our guides on finding the best content that the web has to offer. Make sure that you can add variety without adding barriers.
There are a range of tools and techniques that can help you to develop engaging blended learning content for learners:
- Chichester College offers advice on delivering a relevant digital curriculum and refers to a range of strategies and tools for achieving this
- The hair and beauty department at Hull College have used Xerte toolkits to create flipped learning resources that learners can complete from home
- Explore more collaborative approaches with learners, such as the learning wheels pioneered at Blackburn College
- Screencasting is another simple technique that can be used to create media rich content, such as narrated PowerPoints, and ‘how to’ guides. Kingston College use screencasting to provide responsive feedback to learners
Change your presentation style
You might want to start by revamping your presentation options. Instead of falling back on PowerPoint, you could explore alternative options for enhancing your presentations with dynamic multimedia content or include more digital media to enhance your content.
Use social media
Many blended learning approaches are also complemented by having a social media backchannel where learners can collaborate more informally outside of designated course times, whether it’s sharing ideas about the course via Twitter hashtags or peer networking in social spaces using their own devices.
Read how this has improved learner engagement and support at Basingstoke College of Technology (BCOT) or explore the student guide to social media for learning, created by the university libraries of Leeds, York and Manchester. Calderdale College are taking the ‘walled garden’ approach to support students with learning difficulties and/or disabilities by using the closed social learning network Edmodo.
For more inspiration on how social media can add value to blended learning take a look how other social media high flyers in both further education and skills and higher education have been using it to engage learners.
Get learners involved
Involve your learners in the process of developing blended learning content. Read our more detailed guide enhancing the student digital experience: a strategic approach for further ideas and inspiration.
Experience it for yourself
Experiencing blended learning first hand is also a good way to pick up handy tips and tricks of what others are currently doing. There are many free online learning courses that provide an excellent overview of blended learning, such as the blended learning essentials MOOC on FutureLearn, delivered by the University of Leeds.