3 Tips to Create Blended Learning Environments in Higher Education | D2L
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Creating Blended Learning Environments in Higher Education

  • 2 Min Read

Over the past year, the pandemic took hold and prompted radical changes in teaching delivery in academic institutions. As we look toward the fall, uncertainty remains about what a return to campus will look like, which is why institutions are integrating alternative methods like blended learning to promote adaptability and long-term resilience.

Blended learning is an instructional model that combines both online and offline instruction. Unlike hybrid learning, which involves the simultaneous teaching of students who are at home and those who are in the classroom, blended learning uses online components to supplement face-to-face learning.

How to Integrate Blended Learning in Higher Education

This blog outlines three tips for creating blended learning environments.

1. Create Harmony Between Online and Face-to-Face Instruction

In blended learning, online instruction is there to complement face-to-face teaching—not replace it. That’s why it’s important to consider what you want to accomplish in each setting. Do you want to share course content, foster community, facilitate dialogue, or enable group work?

You could, for example, use online learning to:

  • Deliver course content through a variety of formats such as video, audio, and text.
  • Provide links to research referred to during lectures.
  • Help empower students to collaborate with each other and express themselves through tools like discussion boards.

In-person learning could then be used for live, real-time classes and structured seminars and tutorials. Educators can even use discussion boards to follow up on topics of interest that come up, giving students space to ask clarifying questions and further explore issues.

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Building High-Quality Online Learning Experiences

Explore how institutions are transforming online and blended education for more effective and engaging experiences

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2. Provide Flexible Learning Options

A blended model means that learning is no longer constrained by the traditional lecture. Coupling face-to-face learning with online instruction can bring real benefits for students, giving them more control over their path and pace of learning.

A student could, for example, attend an in-person class or seminar to take in the information in real time and connect with their friends. Online components could be used to improve and check their understanding of the content and extend collaboration and knowledge sharing among peers.

3. Adapt Traditional Assessments to Fit Blended Learning Expectations

The assessment strategy you choose in a blended course should include both online and in-person assessments.

Forms of assessment such as tests and quizzes can be easily adapted to an online format using an LMS. This can give students opportunities to assess their knowledge and get immediate feedback on their progress. In-person assessments such as presentations or final exams can further develop time management, research, and writing skills and can help students hone competencies like public speaking.

Building High-Quality Online Learning Experiences

This past year has shown that it is no longer enough to deliver the same content in a new medium. Academic institutions must seriously reflect on the design and delivery of learning for higher education. Blended learning can help strike a balance between online and offline, allowing institutions to prepare for an agile future.

Download our eBook to find out how institutions are transforming blended education to deliver more effective learning experiences (and how you can too).

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