Exploring Applications for Blended Learning

Recently, the preview of the 2017 NMC Horizon Report was published listing emerging trends and issues facing higher education learning environments. One of the “short-term trends” highlighted in the report was exploring blended learning designs. Blended learning is the process of combining multiple learning spaces, such as online or classroom spaces, in a single unified learning experience. This approach allows educators and learners to leverage the “best of” online and off-line learning experiences.

Blended learning is a strategic vision for how learning environments are designed and developed at the University of Central Oklahoma (UCO). Blended learning connects multiple types of learning spaces in ways that are intentional and strategic. At its core, blended learning advances the application of transformative learning by connecting students across spaces that support applied and contextualized learning experiences. This allows learners to engage and reflect in more critical ways, leading to an expansion of perspective and redefinition of who they are as a learner.

As we extend the possibilities of blended learning, there are many exciting ways educators at UCO are leveraging and advancing blended learning experiences.

In this post, I share one such experience and provide resources you can use to advance your own blended learning skills and ideas.

During fall 2016, the Center for eLearning and Connected Environments facilitated a unique learning experience for the EDU-Innovator faculty members at the University of Central Oklahoma. The purpose of this learning experience was to provide a survey of various blended learning methods and strategies that can help inform the design and facilitating of blended learning activities, courses, programs, and broader experiences.

Each blended learning topic began with reviewing online materials posted on a public blog with an application exercise to provide an opportunity of applying blended learning skills in real-world teaching situations. We then met as a group to share progress on the application exercises and discuss ways the blended learning skills can be applied at the University of Central Oklahoma.

Exploring Topics

The program began with a general exploration of “What is blended learning?” During this topic, we explored the basic dimensions and perspectives of blended learning environments.

Next, our focus turned to exploring how blended learning can be applied to designing learning activities. Here are provided several blended learning patterns offered as examples.

We then examined how courses could be designed using blended learning methods. This, not surprisingly, is a major area of interest for people in higher education as courses form that majority of how we deliver formal learning experiences.

Next, combining activities and courses, we discovered ways programs could be designed using blended learning strategies.

Finally, we examined the broader role of blended learning in designing experiences that connect beyond formal learning contexts.

Summary

This experience provided a broad survey of different ways blended learning can help inform the way we design and facilitate learning experiences.

 

You can find the complete listing of blended learning topics and activities at the Blended Learning Certification category page.

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