‘Blended learning’, they say is the new mantra in education. But the concept is alien to most schools, even for the ones in the developed countries. The next positive step in education can be achieved only by embracing technology. Blended learning is the love child of education and technology. So it definitely is the future.

Some schools have already implemented blended learning in the form of smart apps for preschoolers. They have found success with this innovative type of education model that it provides. Even though the implementation of blended learning through school apps requires vast transformation of the existing educational model, the benefits that it gives are in plenty.

What is Blended Learning?

As the name suggests, blended learning is an innovative type of education model that integrates online learning with face to face interaction to create personalized learning opportunities. The rise of Internet within the past decade was something beyond the expectation of even its creators. Coupled with this, the simplicity of the devices such as mobile phones and laptops has made the Internet access ‘child’s play’, literally!!!

The fact that a substantial amount of Internet and mobile device users are school going kids has shown how much they are mesmerized by the technology. This has paved way to implement blended learning by developing smart apps for preschoolers in educational models. As we move away from an industrial era to an age of knowledge workers, we need a workforce that can adjust to the latest innovations in technology and blended learning is the way to do it.

Benefits of Blended Learning

  • Makes students self-directed learners

With blended learning, students can be assigned with learning core concepts through online school apps as homework and later learning how to apply them to solve problems can be done in the classrooms. This makes students self-directed learners, where they are free to use their imaginations on what they have learnt. Students also find it easy learning online since they can refer the resources again and again.

The vastness of the Internet would ensure that students will never experience a shortage of information. This may not be the same when a teacher is involved in the teaching process. He/ she may lack the knowledge to clear all the student’s doubts.

It was initially felt that the students being completely plugged into their devices and the teachers being mere passive monitors would have an adverse effect on the learning process, but the results say otherwise. What blended learning has done is it has improved the student-teacher relationship than what it was before.

  • Improves student-teacher relationship

As said before blended learning has greatly improved student-teacher relationship. But how has this been possible when everyone thought that combining education with technology was a bad idea.

Blended learning has freed teachers from their administrative and instructional roles. Now it is possible for teachers to give basic instructions to online tools or resources which will take care of what the kids need to learn. This gives them more time to develop the critical skills of students and also contribute to their character development.

Teachers can spend less time on lecturing and more time for creating high-value learning experience through monitoring and coaching. Moreover they can now address each student’s unique learning needs by customizing instructions.

  • Better learning space

As the student-teacher relation improves, the schools will become a better learning space. No more rushing to complete the syllabus. Students will no more learn just to score high marks in exams, but to fit better into the 21st century working environment.

With less workload on the teachers they find more time to spend with the students, allowing them to understand the students at a more personal level. Also with extra time on hand, teachers can focus on each student individually, giving equal opportunity to all children. Blended learning also helps teachers to learn from students, on what mode of teaching to adopt or how to make teaching more effective.

Challenges of Implementing

  • The task of implementing blended learning is not that simple as it requires tons of research, planning, collaboration and perfect execution.
  • Just purchasing high quality devices and licensing the best online learning software won’t work. Students and teachers have to be educated about it and should be made to feel comfortable.
  • Blended learning might require a complete change in the classroom management strategy, physical layout of the environment, teaching methodologies, current educational models and the role of teachers and their responsibility.
  • Even now, an apt model by which we can implement this technology is being researched and since it mandates a lot of changes, it will take some time before we can completely reap its benefits.

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