COVID-19 has accelerated the adoption of alternative teaching approaches, with many providers, right through from primary to higher education, closing this academic year on a strategy based almost entirely around remote and online learning. Rapidly implemented, and underpinned by technology, the digital delivery of education has enabled a level of continuity in the sector throughout the pandemic.
After an unprecedented few months, this summer break is likely welcomed by the education community with open arms. Education providers now have a chance to take a step back to evaluate the impact the pandemic has had on learners, re-asses their priorities, and create a plan for the new school year.
Although it has been confirmed that education establishments (schools in particular) are expected to re-open their doors at full capacity in September, social distancing, and other measures to limit the transmission of the Coronavirus, will still be in play. Education providers will also have to ensure they have the necessary tools and plans in place to deliver remote learning to students and young people who cannot physically be present; for example, if they are self-isolating.
Mixing online and traditional approaches
This is where blended learning comes in. Combining online activities and digital content with traditional face-to-face lessons, blended learning can reduce the need for physical attendance whilst still delivering a complete curriculum. What’s great about this hybrid model, is that it can be implemented at any proportion, whether that’s a 50/50 split, or a 10% allocation to online teaching methods.
However, it’s not just a way of enabling social distancing. It can offer richer, more personalised experiences to students, particularly those in Secondary schools; or Further and Higher education. The valuable benefits it offers are a reason why blended learning is an approach that has grown in popularity in recent years – well before the Coronavirus pandemic.
The benefits of blended learning
Blended learning offers learners greater flexibility and control over how, when, and where they work. With mobile devices and cloud-based services, students can quite literally carry their classroom in their backpack and take it home with them; giving students access to a wealth of resources, digital materials, and activities that they can work through at their own pace and preferred learning style.
This provides a more personalised experience, where the student can take the time they need to truly understand subject matter. It also allows students to broaden their understanding with access to wider reading and research.
The inherent ‘tech-centric’ nature of blended learning also enables students to develop the digital skills and competencies they will need in the future workplace. Additionally, this hybrid approach is shown to have a positive impact on engagement, due to the variety of activities, customisation, and autonomy given to students.
And with collaboration tools and video conferencing, they can contact their peers or teachers for group study or feedback from any location; meaning that even in a blended learning model that places more emphasis on digital methods, social learning and communication is still at its core.
Stone can equip your education establishment with the technologies that help you deliver a blended learning strategy. To find out about our range of solutions or for advice on how we can help, contact us today.