Blended learning environments combine the best parts of in-person and online learning, creating opportunities for personalization and flexibility in the classroom. They allow students to delve deeper into content they’re interested in, to approach their learning with a sense of autonomy and choice and to go at their own pace.
By embracing a blended learning environment, instructors can personalize their students’ learning paths in several areas. In this blog—the first of a three-part series—we take a look at how a blended learning environment enables students to personalize their learning pace.
What Is Personalized Learning?
Personalized learning is a teaching practice that supports students in ways that best meet their needs. With this model, learning components are designed with every student’s needs in mind to help them engage in educational experiences. It accounts for students’ unique learning paths and ensures that students can learn at their own speed.
When it comes to pace, students progress differently. For some, a concept may come easily, while others may take time to fully grasp it. There are students who express their understanding by giving short answers, whereas others may do better with multiple choice.
Regardless of the ideal pace, blended learning can help you accommodate your students’ needs and improve student engagement.
Three Ways to Personalize Pace in Blended Learning Environments
There are different ways to personalize teaching for students. We look at three ways you can easily individualize pace in a classroom.
1. Establish Pacing Guidelines
Giving students flexibility in their pacing lets them spend time on the topics they find interesting or difficult while allowing advanced learners to continue challenging themselves. Although flexibility is important to have in a classroom, it’s equally important that students have a pacing baseline. This ensures that all students are progressing at a level that works for them while still meeting learning outcomes. You can establish pacing guidelines by:
- setting weekly pacing targets for students to reach
- including formative assessments to make sure students are progressing at the right pace
- sharing announcements to remind students what’s expected of them and what they need to accomplish by certain dates
By offering a baseline that’s attainable to all, you can help make sure that students are progressing in a way that meets their needs while maintaining structure.
2. Create Flexible Learning Environments
So how do you provide students with the tools to thrive with personalized pacing? The key is in making sure their learning environments are flexible. Blended learning makes this easy by allowing students to do classwork when and where they’re most comfortable while still providing ample face-to-face teaching time for questions and groupwork. You can achieve flexibility in a learning environment by:
- encouraging students to access content and work on assignments outside of the classroom
- sharing content on your learning management system (LMS) so students have access to class material, allowing them to refer to concepts they don’t understand and move past the content they do
- creating spaces for groups of students to work collaboratively depending on their individual paces
Empowering students to approach their education flexibly, wherever and whenever suits them best, is a consistent mark of a successful blended learning environment.
3. Provide Timely Feedback
For any student, receiving timely feedback is critical to their educational journey. This is especially true for those who are learning in an environment where they can personalize their pace. You can ensure that your feedback is helpful and timely by using LMS tools such as:
- using automatic grading features to mark tests and quizzes quickly when a student is moving at their own pace
- providing audio or video feedback to students in order to guide their learning
- making rubrics easy to understand and simple to access before and after an assignment so students can understand where they can improve
An LMS can help teachers quickly give their students grades and offers opportunities to provide and expand on feedback. This can empower students to bridge any smaller gaps in their understanding, allowing them to remain engaged in future content and assignments.