What is blended learning?
Blended learning provides a combination of face-to-face learning and dynamic digital activities and content that facilitate 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 practitioners are increasingly being asked to do more with less.
What you can do
To create meaningful blended learning, it's essential to have an informed understanding of the range of tools available and their pedagogical applications.
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. Our inspiring learning blog includes a post on copyright-free resources, while our accessibility blog includes a post on how to add variety of media without adding barriers.
The following case studies demonstrate the tools and techniques being used across the sector to develop engaging blended learning content for learners:
- Chichester College: advice on delivering a relevant digital curriculum, including strategies and tools for achieving this (pdf)
- Hull College: hair and beauty department created flipped learning resources that learners can complete from home (pdf)
- Blackburn College: developed collaborative approaches with learners through 'learning wheels' (pdf)
- Kingston College: use screencasting to create media rich content - such as narrated PowerPoints, and ‘how to’ guides - and provide responsive feedback to learners (pdf)
Change your presentation style
You might want to start by taking a look at how you plan and deliver presentations. We share some of our favourite tools and techniques for making presentations interactive, engaging and accessible for the audience in a post on our inspiring learning blog.
Use collaboration tools
Many blended learning approaches are complemented by having backchannels 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.
The film below shows how this has improved learner engagement and support at Basingstoke College of Technology (BCOT).
The student guide to social media for learning, created by the university libraries of Leeds, York and Manchester, is also a worthwhile resource.
Our Calderdale College case study (pdf) explores how they are taking the ‘walled garden’ approach to support students with learning difficulties and/or disabilities by using the closed social learning network Edmodo.
Get learners involved
Involve your learners in all aspects of developing your blended learning approach. We explore this further in our guidance on supporting students and staff to work successfully with digital technologies.
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 this topic, such as the blended learning essentials MOOC on FutureLearn, delivered by the University of Leeds. Or choose another free course from FutureLearn or Coursera that covers a personal interest and enjoy being a learner again!
How we can support you
Designing the student experience is at the heart of blended learning.
Our blended learning consultancy service helps you develop a strategic approach to combining digital and traditional techniques – so you can put blended learning into practice, while our accessibility and inclusion consultancy can also support you in ensuring blended learning resources and experiences are as accessible as possible.
Contact your dedicated Jisc account manager for further information.