Blended Learning is a term often used to describe several differing learning models which have a certain component in common; a blend of face-to-face teaching and the use of technology or media to supplement instruction. Blended Learning refers to the mix of traditional, brick and mortar classrooms with digital, online resources. The computer/tablet based portions of the curriculum can be completed at home or in the classroom as part of the lesson.
Because of the widespread and common use of the term there are varying degrees of ‘blending’ and they can almost all fit into one of the six models of Blended Learning.
1. Face to Face Driver – The most traditional amongst the Blended Learning models, Face to Face Driver places the control and direction in the instructor’s hands as they lead the class through digital supplemental activities and lessons.
2. Rotation – The Rotation model introduces more student-driven lessons within a scheduled structure. Students have allotted time for face-to-face lessons and independent computer work which they rotate through. This model allows for an equal division between student and teacher driven lesson plans.
3. Flex – The Flex model is where the lesson plans starts to tilt more heavily toward self-directed learning. The majority of the course is online/computer-based and the instructor is available in the classroom/lab for assistance as needed.
4. Labs – The Lab model is entirely structured around online/digital resources. The class is fully integrated with technology, but it is still taught in the classroom – not at home. Typically, students also take other courses that are traditionally structured.
5. Self-Blend – The Self Blend model is when the students choose to supplement their traditional classes with online courses. Students participate in instructor-led, classroom learning – while learning remotely as well. This model allows for a balance between instructor and student led learning, but unlike the Rotation model the online course work is completed from home, not the classroom.
6. Online Driver – The Online Driver model, as its name suggests, is entirely online and digitally driven. The course work is entirely online and remotely accessed by the students. Students cover the material, complete activities, and interact with their instructor and peers entirely online. Face to face meetings are available and in some cases mandatory.
The Ontario Ministry of Education supports Blended Learning by providing funding for a full-time e-Learning Contact (eLC) position in each school board, as well as documents and resources to support teachers and administrators. For more info visit e-Learning Ontario.