Blended learning is the best of both worlds. It offers the integration of digital tools, techniques and materials with the physical classroom. In a blended course, students can view lectures, access readings, ask questions, and complete assignments online in virtual learning environments (VLE). VLEs like Moodle and online classrooms such as Zoom, free up in-person class periods for discussions, activities and traditional lectures. Other terms, such as mixed, hybrid, or integrative learning, all describe the same method of teaching.
Why study blended courses?
Blended learning combines the freedom of e-learning with the opportunity to interact with lecturers and fellow students. For example, the lecturer may assign an online video for students to watch. Lecturers can then spend the class discussing the content, demonstrating different methods and allowing students to practice techniques with immediate, instructive feedback. Blended courses offer numerous other benefits, including:
- Flexibility: Busy, geographically dispersed and mature students have more control over their schedules. They also avoid the hassle of a daily commute
- Independence: Students often develop independence and motivation. They work in their own time at their own pace
- Diversification: Students have access to a rich array of learning tools and styles. Many of these they may not encounter in the traditional classroom
- Support: Students experience engagement and support interacting with lecturers and classmates, but also while benefiting from the flexibility of online delivery
What is the virtual classroom?
Blended teaching occurs through online Learning Management Systems (LMS) like Moodle, Canvas or Blackboard. These digital platforms mimic the physical classroom. They offer regularly updated content, and allow learners to interact with their lecturer and fellow students. This is done through webinars, online group activities and discussion forums. Online activities may take place synchronously, with every student logged in and cooperating in real-time. Alternatively, they can be asynchronous with students participating at their convenience following a flexible timeline. Content in blended programmes is fully comparable to material offered in traditional courses: the delivery method is simply different.
When students view all of their lectures online and complete assignments – or “homework”- exclusively in class, this is called a flipped classroom.
Blended courses at Griffith College
At Griffith College, students attend blended learning tutorials in online webinars such as the Zoom classroom and then meet for monthly in-person workshops on site at the Griffith College campus. Blended learning students also have access to all of the facilities, resources, and extracurricular activities offered to full- and part-time Griffith Students.
You can learn more about the blended courses on at offer at Griffith College at www.griffith.ie/blended.