Key benefits of blended learning in higher education
The way that education is delivered has seen a huge change over the last decade with technology being used more and more to connect students. However, throughout 2020 and 2021, finding new ways to engage students and deliver courses has become a necessity.
Many higher education organizations are now looking to implement a mix of both on campus and off campus learning approaches to provide students with more flexibility. Blended learning is just one of these approaches and it’s important to know what the benefits are for both students and organizations to discover how effective it could be.
Blended learning is a combination of physical educational materials with online learning. It’s not as simple as just online learning as, in many cases, the learner and teacher will need to interact in a way similar to the way they would in a classroom.
In a blended learning environment, students should be able to take an online course with webinars and other materials provided, with some instructor-led sessions which can either be provided via online learning platforms or in a physical classroom.
Blended learning may be one of many approaches for providing a more flexible approach within higher education, however, it’s become an extremely prominent approach.
This method is important to the future of higher education as a whole, as it provides a range of ways for students to engage. In a changing, increasingly technologically savvy world, blended learning is a valuable way to utilise technology for e-learning without reducing the importance and value of in-person teaching.
Blended learning is important in a number of ways:
- Takes the best attributes of online and in-person learning, in order to maximise the benefits of both
- Focus on individual rather than group work, allowing teachers to get a better grasp on the strengths and weaknesses of each student
- Can promote closer relationships and allow tutors to understand how to tailor their approach to each student
- More personalised instruction to suit the learning style of individual students
Finally, blended learning is important when you take into account the events of the COVID-19 pandemic. This caused higher education organizations to reflect on how they can best adapt and change, both in emergency situations and for those with individual complications.
Both of these scenarios can interrupt and impact education. Blended learning being implemented as a long-term option allows students and staff to be able to adapt quickly rather than needing to shift entire working strategies at short notice.
There are many benefits of blended learning for students. When compared to traditional classroom based learning or other online models, blended learning allows for a more interactive learning experience.
Blended learning provides students with an improved level of flexibility. Students can access material from anywhere at any time, which means that they do not miss out on education if they cannot be on campus. This is especially valuable for students who may have physical or geographical challenges and has proven to be very useful during the global pandemic, which made in-person learning either impossible or very sporadic.
Work with faculty staff
Blended learning also provides students with time to work with faculty staff, as teachers are able to connect with them individually through technology. This provides a greater level of bonding between students and their teacher, and lets students who may be less confident in group environments to reach out. If students are struggling, they have the time and privacy to ask for extra support.
Study at their own pace
Student learning is more flexible, allowing students to study at their own pace and give them more ownership over their learning, and the variety of ways in which information can be delivered allows for deeper learning and engagement.
Improved student retention
The level of freedom and trust in students to control their own learning, combined with the flexibility of time and location, can improve student retention overall. With students encouraged to stay on in education, this way of learning can help to prepare them for their working life, as they have more control over when and how they learn, managing their own time and workload to suit their lives. These are invaluable transferable skills for the future.
Students are not the only ones who benefit from a blended learning approach. For higher education organizations themselves, there are plenty of positives associated with using this method of teaching.
Implementing the right technology and allowing students to work while they’re away from campus can help organizations to save costs on hardware on campus, as well as software licenses and IT support. IT support’s time can be better spent on supporting student and staff needs and not on updating existing hardware.
Improved student satisfaction
With a more flexible approach for students, blended learning has been shown to improve student satisfaction and student engagement. Thanks to this, there are often better student outcomes, which reflects well on the organization overall.
Improves accessibility and inclusion
Blended learning also improves accessibility and inclusion, which can increase the amount of students who are able to attend and continue with higher education. However, in order to enjoy these benefits, higher education organizations must work to ensure that they are prepared to utilize digital technology effectively in order to ensure continuity of education in a range of diverse circumstances.
It is vital to acknowledge that simply moving course content online is not enough, and a blended learning approach helps to bridge the gap. Working to make sure that the correct technology is available to students is essential for creating a more personalized learning experience.
Solutions such as AppsAnywhere allow organizations to provide students with the ability to access the software, apps and resources they need anytime and anywhere. Having the correct technology in place makes the resources much more accessible for students and means the transition to a blended learning approach is much more effective.
When implemented correctly, blended learning can be a great way to keep more students engaged regardless of world or personal events, while helping organizations to save on costs for campus technologies.
Software2 can help organizations the tech they need to make the blended learning a success for students, staff and the wider organization. Please contact our team today to find out more.