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5 Benefits of Blended Learning for Increased Student Engagement

COVID-19 has made providing instruction via digital learning environments a necessity. A blended learning approach encourages flexible conditions that ensure access and participation by all students, without lowering expectations or standards.

Pre-pandemic, most people talked about blended learning as a combination of online digital media and traditional classroom methods. And sometimes, blended learning can be confused for a one-to-one initiative where a device simply replaces a book.

Now, we recognize that blended learning is the combination of delivery methods for instruction—a physical classroom, a live webinar, an Adaptive Academic platform like Mosaic™ by ACT®, or other multi-modal formats.

Students can interact with each other or their teacher, innovate and create on a device, and take what they have learned online and apply it to a higher-level activity within the classroom. These experiences are asynchronous or synchronous, but when we combine formats well, the learning experiences complement and supplement each other to engage students and increase student learning. The benefits of using an adaptive learning platform or blended learning curriculum like Mosaic™ by ACT® along with traditional instruction are notable.

Access


One benefit of blended learning is the ability to provide full access to students with differing abilities through supportive technologies like captioned video or text-to-speech options. Blended learning is designed with fairness in mind, giving all learners more time to master content and skills. Blended and adaptive learning is incredibly beneficial for English Learners. The online learning portion of a blended learning model gives learners some control over time, place, ways of learning, and/or speed of learning. When done appropriately, language acquisition increases, and students discover the content without feeling overwhelmed. Students are free to innovate with pride.

Time


Time is the gift that learners receive in a classroom that applies blended learning structures. When teachers put appropriate content into their online classroom portals, students benefit from using those resources at their own pace, replaying modules if needed. They are able to replay and review the lesson repeatedly until they understand the concepts. It is a huge advantage when students can activate prior knowledge, build background before a lesson, and review the content after a lesson.

More Face Time with Instructors – Just in A Different Way


In addition to spending more time learning a lesson, if the instructor uses a video conferencing platform to review content and reach more students, a student gets more face time from their teacher. This helps relay understanding. Teachers can also provide different videos for different students, tiering their instruction and their face time based on that student’s level of understanding.

Choice


Learning experiences are also supported by the choices students have in a blended learning environment. Students choose their pace when a classroom has a blended learning structure. They choose their path for pursuing content or even what elements of the content they want to learn, depending on the content area or assignment. This helps differentiate instruction for all learners based on their knowledge and interests.

Better Opportunities for In-Class Critical Thinking


When students are given more time, opportunity, and choice, they learn and absorb content, but they can also use that content to create and compose ideas within the classroom. Not only that, they think more critically about concepts. This is ultimately what we want: students engaging with content and using it rather than decoding it.

In addition to the benefits for students, proper professional development helps teachers understand how to leverage blended learning. Schools cannot be quick to purchase devices and programs without having a plan and training for using them. Teachers need time to focus on studying how to use devices for learning experiences correctly, and they need to learn models of blended learning and get examples of how to implement them. They also need in-class coaching from experts.

With the proper training, planning, data management for student plans, and knowledge of technology tools for blended learning implementation, teachers help students grow at their own rates.

Even as students return to physical classrooms full-time, we hope the benefits of blended learning models and adaptive learning platforms for engaging students and increasing student achievement are clear.

For more tools and approaches for using blended learning, watch our on-demand webinar, “Strategies and Resources for Engaging Learners in a Digital Environment.”

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