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Creating Blended Learning Environments in Higher Education

  • 2 Min Read

Get tips to help you implement effective, engaging blended learning environments.


Today, teaching is no longer focused on students putting pen to paper and memorizing facts. Rather, it’s centered on using technology such as robust systems and platforms to assist traditional pedagogical practices or create new ones. In this new teaching environment, the variety of digital tools is not only vast but also still evolving. So how do we successfully use technology in daily teaching practices?

In this blog, we look at how digital tools can be used to create blended learning in higher education.

How to Integrate Blended Learning in Higher Education

Blended learning is an instructional model that combines both online and offline instruction and uses online components to supplement face-to-face learning. It does not mean that a course is restructured so a majority of it is online; instead, in this environment, the in-person and online elements work together to create a richer learning experience for students.

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

For blended learning to be successful, online learning and face-to-face learning need to be differentiated and harmonized. The online portion of blended courses should serve to enhance the effectiveness of classroom learning. For example, recorded lectures can serve as the basis of online learning. This helps lay the groundwork for in-person learning, which could then be used for seminars, tutorials, and different learning activities.

Reversing this type of blended learning is another option. Depending on the subject taught, it may be beneficial to use digitally enabled learning opportunities such as discussion forms of video conferencing to add a more collaborative element to in-person lectures. In this type of blended learning, educators can follow up on topics of interest that come up in the online element, giving students space to ask clarifying questions and further explore issues.

Overall, it’s important to remember that online learning and face-to-face instruction are not differentiated unless teachers specifically utilize the various tools and technology to create these learning experiences.

2. Provide Flexible Learning Options

A blended model means that learning is no longer constrained by the timing and location of a traditional lecture. Instead, coupling face-to-face learning with online instruction can provide students and educators with more flexibility than the traditional classroom can. In this environment, students have access to supplementary course material such as readings or recorded lectures. This means students can choose when and where they study as well as how often they access material to fully understand a concept.

Blended learning also gives instructors additional flexibility. This learning environment helps expand the range of pedagogies allowing educators to share additional resources such as videos or supplementary information compared to traditional face-to-face teaching. Additionally, instructors have flexibility in providing their students with feedback. In blended learning, this is no longer limited to writing a letter grade on a test or exam and giving it back to students the following week. Instead, educators can provide feedback instantaneously or through different mediums such as video and audio.

Facilitating a flexible learning and teaching environment rests on using the right digital tools and technologies that not only allow educators to share teaching materials but also allow students to access these materials anywhere, anytime.

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.

In a blended class, this may consist of using different digital tools such as online quizzes or self-assessments that students can complete on their own time. These types of formative assessments can be used to provide students with immediate feedback and to gauge learner retention. On the other hand, face-to-face instruction can help facilitate summative assessments. In this learning environment, students can complete tests or exams to demonstrate what they have learned or show mastery of specific benchmarks or standards.

Enabling High-Quality Learning Experiences

In today’s world, hybrid and blended learning models have helped educators deliver meaningful content to learners everywhere, continually trying to create an environment to be both engaging and motivating for the leaders of tomorrow to attain educational success.

In that spirit, D2L and Zoom have teamed up to provide educators with the platform and tools they need to successfully enable education in the hybrid world. Integrated into D2L Brightspace, Zoom’s solution helps learners express ideas, connect to others, and build toward a future limited only by their imagination. Its frictionless integration provides a single platform experience and is the only one that started with video as its foundation, setting the standard for innovation ever since.

Learn more about How to Enable Education in the Hybrid World

Written by:

Zeina Abouchacra
Zeina Abouchacra

Zeina Abouchacra is the EDU Content Marketing Specialist at D2L. She has worked in the higher education sector in various communications positions as well as a researcher and a teaching assistant. Specifically, teaching undergraduate-level communication university courses. Zeina is currently working towards completing her Master of Arts Communication degree at the University of Ottawa.

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Table of Contents
  1. How to Integrate Blended Learning in Higher Education
  2. 1. Create Harmony Between Online and Face-to-Face Instruction
  3. 2. Provide Flexible Learning Options
  4. 3. Adapt Traditional Assessments to Fit Blended Learning Expectations
  5. Enabling High-Quality Learning Experiences