Let’s start with a definition.
Blended learning (n): a combination of e-learning and face-to-face learning
So is it a compromise of the two types of learning? Or a transition from one to the other? Currently, it seems to not really fit into either of those, largely remaining a wide-scale experiment to see if this whole e-learning thing has advantages over face-to-face learning. It is the result of a changing infrastructure in the education world; change that has been brought about by the advent of e-learning.
What’s the big deal? Well, on one hand, blended learning marks a major shift in learning. It’s taking computers (and technology in general) out of the computer labs and putting them in the classroom, in the hands of students. It’s an expansion of access to information, an increased potential for learning opportunities, and a combatant to rising demands on teachers. That’s quite a mouthful.
Blended learning also creates the possibility for more personalized learning. This means a shift to self-driven learning as well as better ways of keeping track of students strengths and weaknesses. It means more eager students, who are not only motivated to learn but learning on a deeper level because of their motivation. It means teachers can better prepare students for life after school.
There are many benefits of course, even beyond increased efficiency and reduced isolation in the classroom. What remains to be seen is how this whole experiment is going to work out. Will the scales tip in favor of e-learning? Or retain the balance it has now?
The reality is, we don’t know. If you’ve got a crystal ball, feel free to share anything you see coming. But one thing is for certain, blended learning is at the very least reflecting today’s technology-immersed society.