Month: February 2015

Blended Learning Basics


This spring I am participating in a MOOC about blended learning design. It’s something I am required to do for my new job, but also something in which I have a distinct interest as an instructional designer that works heavily in eLearning. I have done some research on the flipped classroom (which is one particular way to blend a course) but this will be a broader look.

As part of the course I will be blogging here about some of the topics we discuss. This first week is really just about what blended, or hybrid, learning is. This is a more complicated topic than it might seem as there are lots of different ideas floating around about what constitutes blended learning.

First, let’s be clear on what blended is not.
It is not:

  • Video lectures instead of classroom lectures
  • Doing routine type of homework in class
  • Simply moving half of your assignments to an online platform
  • Meeting via a web conferencing tool instead of in a classroom
  • Showcasing your new fancy technology

So, then, what is it?
Blended learning:

  • allows you to replace parts of a course that were checkbox-303113_1280traditionally face-to-face with online (asynchronous) learning components
  • means you do the above in a way that uses technology wisely
  • is meant to create a richer learning experience
  • offers benefits of face-to-face instruction (personal interaction,
    ability to use a lab, proctored exams, etc.)
  • offers benefits of online learning (convenience, new opportunities for student engagement, reduced need for classroom space, etc.)
  • allows students to interact with the content, the instructor, and each other

The key to blended learning is to decide what method is best used to achieve your learning goals and then make sure you present a coherent course by tying together the online and face-to-face sessions.

How do I get started?

  1. First, you need to map out your course. If this is a course you have done before, you can start with your course outline and learning objectives. This course blueprint is a great resource to help you map out this information.
  2. The next step is to decide what should go online and what should be done in a classroom. This mix-map can help you. (Here is a completed example.) Just remember that the online and face-to-face parts should support and complement each other – don’t relegate any topic to one particular realm!

If you’re interested in learning more, I would encourage you to sign up for this MOOC or a similar one. Feel free to also follow this blog series as I will be posting summaries of important information each week, including resources that can help you blend any course. Next week: types of blended learning interactions.

Questions? Comments? Leave them below!