Every day the anxiety and concerns escalate about education; Will students go back to their schools and campuses or continue to learn remotely? And how it would be really effective or could make up for brick and mortar ways or face-to-face learning in class; bearing in mind the wide digital, social, and individual gab, not only among learners but also with their teachers; that Covid-19 pandemic has sharply highlighted lately.
Blended Learning has become a catchphrase for using technology in the classroom. The idea is used to describe the education system’s response to the need for 21st-century skills, a solution to the budget crisis in schools, and a beacon of hope for the transformation of education through individual interventions.()
Why blended learning now?
Blended Education in schools is the need of the hour; With coronavirus serious consequences, as “stay at home” orders, students and teachers were forced to make a rapid change to online learning.
Blended Education appears to be the path that can bridge the gaps that might emerge in these uncertain times. It is a system of teaching and learning that combines face-to-face classroom methods with computer-mediated activities to deliver instruction. The strengths of this approach are its combination of face-to-face and online teaching methods into one integrated instructional approach.()
That explains why the need to Blended Learning become with time so pressing, that combines brilliantly all pedagogical and educational values in both traditional and online systems, in one signal environment, which can often teach any concepts in productive ways, reach easily to various brunches of learners, whatever their social or intellectual differences, giving both teacher and learner full confidence to continue, with more flexibility in space and time, more participation of the learner to be proactive who is definitely not just a negative recipient for curriculums but explore, research, ask, learn, with most enjoyable way.
COVID-19 pandemic was the important reason to accelerate the need for blended learning models; it has turned to be a nest as Corporate professionals, university professors, and K-12 educators find themselves faced with similar challenges—and opportunities for growth—during a pandemic. ()
Academic research suggests that blended learning gives learners a more comprehensive understanding of the course content; Blended learning offers the learner convenience and flexibility; they have the ability to control their learning pace and learn remotely..()
Blended learning models allow any student to take different and creative paths to learn topics, at their own pace and preferred time, beside Personalization related to individual learning tendencies.
But on The other hand; COVID-19 pandemic has forced sudden transformation in many sectors, turning the world upside down. Everything has been impacted, not excluding the education sector. The sudden transition to online pedagogy as a result of COVID-19 in developing countries has exposed some inequalities and challenges, as well as benefits. These challenges and inequalities have now become the new realities in the educational sector of developing countries..()
So Many experts are pushing for a combination of face-to-face and online learning, In addition to maintaining consistency between online and in-person segments, this means ensuring that educators and students have access to the supplies they need to keep their students safe–and focused on learning.()
What is blended learning?
The future is becoming more volatile and more unpredictable. Blended learning helps ensure that the education system stays open so that learning can continue through these disruptions.
academicians have begun to blend elements of these two separate learning environments. Such form of educational delivery is universally called as ‘Blended Learning’ and can include many different ways of combining pedagogical approaches in order to produce optimal learning outcomes ()
Blended learning is an education program (formal or informal) that combines online digital media with traditional classroom methods. It requires the physical presence of both teacher and student, with some element of student control over time, place, path, or pace. It may also be referred to as a student-centered approach to creating a learning experience whereby the learner interacts with other students, with the instructor, and with content through thoughtful integration of online and face-to-face environments.()
As its name suggests, blended learning combines in-person and digital curriculum, offering a true “blend” of the two. In contrast with traditional education that uses digital resources, like a Smartboard or digital homework assignments, hybrid models offer students more control over their education. It does not abandon the traditional classroom, however, as online learning does.()
So Blended instruction is what the teacher does with technology. Blended learning is where students use tech to have control over path, place, and pace. ( Eric Sheninger)()
With blended learning, we blend the best of classroom and online training. In the classroom environment, the instructor can motivate the learners, build a relationship with them, and provide them with the feedback or counsel them. In this environment, the instructor is in the best position to maintain discipline through the learning program to achieve the learning results. Through online learning, the learners get the flexibility of self-directed and self-controlled study with the instructor’s help as and when required.
Blended learning is also known as hybrid learning, mixed-mode learning, or tech-enhanced learning. The most basic example of a blended learning scenario is students getting an introduction and explanation of the topic in the classroom and accessing more information about the topic from the internet in the form of online articles or videos.()
Blended learning history
Though the term “distance learning” has been around since the mid-19th century, and steadily more popular in the last 50 years, the technology available has progressed by leaps and bounds. This undoubtedly impacts blended learning models and their success rates.
If we want to travel back to the beginning of blended learning. In the 1960s on mainframes and mini-computers, technology-based training emerged as an alternative to instructor-led training. One major advantage that blended learning offered was scale, whereas one instructor can only teach so many people. One example is PLATO (Programmed Logic for Automatic Teaching Operations), a system developed by the University of Illinois and Control Data.()
As time passed, Mainframe-based training had a number of interface limitations that gave way to satellite-based live video in the 1970s. The advantage here was serving people who were not as computer literate.
The major challenge was the expense required to make this work. In the early 1990s, CD-ROMs emerged as a dominant form of providing technology-based learning as bandwidth through 56k modems weren’t able to support very high-quality sound and video.
Aviation Industry Computer-Based Training Committee (AICC), was formed in 1988, and companies such as Boeing used CD-ROMs to provide training for personnel. Modern blended learning is delivered online, although CD-ROMs could feasibly still be used if a learning management system meets an institution’s standards.
Since 2000, modern distance learning and blended learning platforms have been launched and have become more widely used globally by many international schools and universities, Having proved more effective in achieving learning.
Blended Pedagogies bases
Blended learning leverages both in-person instruction and e-learning for conveying key concepts. Seeing as people are so connected to technology (phones, tablets, computers), using blended learning has inherent advantages.
It is a rebalancing of approaches and is based on the belief that teachers offer invaluable human and emotional connection, empathy and support. The friendly interactions they provide are harder in a completely online environment.()
Prior to the pandemic, many schools implemented instructional strategies that incorporated digital but did not fully make the pivot to blended learning. There is a difference. Blended instruction is what the teacher does with technology. Blended learning is where students use technology to have control over path, place, and pace. Other high agency strategies, such as voice and choice, are also prevalent to personalize learning. Data is used to differentiate as well as group and regroup students on an ongoing basis to meet the needs of everyone best.
Station rotation, choice boards, playlists, and the flipped classroom are the most practical pathways to implement. The use of digital tools becomes a seamless component. All kids doing the same thing at the same time the same way has to become a thing of the past.
In addition to the areas listed above, social and emotional learning (SEL) will need to be emphasized as a key component of what comes next. No one knows for sure what some kids experienced during the extended time schools were closed and the impact that this has had on them.()
The power of blended learning methods lies in their ability to improve the student experience. Studies have shown “blended learning” reduces failure rates, improves learning, and boosts engagement. Blended learning combines the best aspects of face-to-face teaching and online instruction in ways that enable students to learn at their own pace. For example, a student in a blended learning course who masters a concept earlier than his peers can move on without having to wait, and conversely, a student who needs more time is not forced to move forward before fully grasping the subject. It is proving to be a scalable learning model that simply works for diverse populations of students.()
Between blended and hybrid classes
Blended learning and hybrid learning are popular terms often used interchangeably to discuss the mix of in-person and online learning. While similar, these two terms describe different learning models.()
The key differentiator between blended learning and hybrid learning is the relationship between in-person and online learning. In a blended learning environment, online learning is meant to complement in-person class. Additional resources like videos, articles, podcasts, and more are meant to enhance in-person classes and create an enriched learning experience. On the other hand, in a hybrid learning environment, online learning is meant to replace an element of an in-person class. Material shared asynchronously is considered part of the main lesson plan. The online material is an alternative to in-person material and is meant to create a flexible learning experience.()
Finally; We need to change the fundamentals of learning to adapt to the digital age. the future of digital education – so-called “learning accelerators” that combine the best of powerful online resources & engaging offline communities.()
Preparing for what comes next will take meticulous planning, flexibility, resolve, and bold leadership. Purchasing devices and mobile hotspots is great, but it doesn’t go far enough. It will also require research-based, evidence-driven professional learning, and provides educators with practical strategies that can be implemented right away. Teachers and administrators deserve needed support to usher in a new normal. Many are crying out for it now. Not the one-and-done or drive-by variety, but job-embedded, ongoing, and immersive experiences. One of the main lessons learned at the onset of the pandemic was how the majority of schools were ill-prepared for remote learning and the same can be said in terms of what lies ahead. The path ahead might not be crystal clear, but we do have a general sense of the direction schools should take both in the near and long-term. Invest in people now and reap the rewards later.()
 Monique Markoff : prof at Ithaca College, and famous teacher trainer: blended learning and the future of education: TEDx Talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mb2d8E1dZjY
 Blended education is the need of time: https://www.panopto.com/blog/what-is-blended-learning/
 The Ultimate Guide to Blended Learning in 2020 ; https://siliconegear.com/blogs/coronavirus/blended-learning
 Caroline Lawless, Digital Marketing Manager at LearnUpon; What is Blended Learning?; https://www.learnupon.com/blog/what-is-blended-learning
 Temeitayo Deborah: Sudden change of pedagogy in education driven by COVID-19: Perspectives and evaluation from a developing country: December 2020; https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2590051X20300186
 The Ultimate Guide to Blended Learning in 2020; op.cit
 (Driscoll, 2002; Boyle, et al., 2003; Dziuban, Hartman, & Moskal, 2004). The definition of blended learning
 what is blended learning?
 by Eric Sheninger :flipped class room and blended learning
 Blended learning combines the best of two learning approaches
 Bersin, Josh (2004). “How Did We Get Here? The History of Blended Learning” (PDF). According to: blended learning :
 What’s in the mix with blended learning?
 Emiliana Vegas and Rebecca Winthrop :Beyond reopening schools: How education can emerge stronger than before COVID-19
 Flipped and Blended Classroom: Similarities and Differences
 the previous resource
 David Middelbeck: the Chairman of the European nonprofit organization TechLabs and co-founded the organization 2 years ago in Münster, and Managing Director of the startup edyoucated
 Eric Sheninger: What Comes Next Leading and Learning in Unprecedented Times