Blended Learning Definition
Dec 20, 2016
I'm wondering what the community thinks about a definition of Blended Learning (BL)...
Most common definition: Blended learning is an education program (formal or informal) that combines online digital media with traditional classroom methods requiring the physical presence of both teacher and student, with some element of student control over time, place, path, or pace.
I have a few issues with this definition:
- I don't think BL is "an education program". I think it's a methodology.
- I think describing it as a combination of "online digital media" eliminates print as a learning media. Does it have to be digital? Does reading a print article before coming to a training not serve the same purpose as watching a video?
- I'm struggling with the idea of "requiring the physical presence of both teacher and student". If I pair a asynchronous e-learning course with a synchronous webinar where a facilitator walks a small group of learners through what they learned and how it can be applied in the daily work, is that not blended? Can't we accomplish many of the things that happen in a "traditional classroom" in a synchronous online space? If so, is it a little outdated to mandate that there has to be physical presence?
I work in professional development. My adult learners come to a training and spend anywhere between 2 hours to 2 days and then they go back to their job. I understand that is a very different context than the K-12 space and how they use BL. Here is a slightly revised definition I'm working on:
Revised definition: Blended learning is a methodology that combines a variety of learning media (e.g. face-to-face, online, print, social) and learning environments (e.g. instructor-led, group work, peer-to-peer, individual work), with some degree of student control over time, place, path, or pace.
- I've changed "online digital media" to "learning media" to incorporate print as a viable form of communication.
- I changed "traditional classroom methods" to "learning environments". I feel like it's not our job to teach people but instead to create an environment in which they can learn.
- I added "a variety of..." to the beginning of the definition to clarify that it has there has to be at least two elements in each one of these categories (learning media & learning environment) for the course to be considered blended. If a variety of both are being used, and there is some element of learner control, then the course can be considered blended.
If you've made it this far, you're as obsessed with BL as I am. Congrats! I'd love to hear your thoughts.