Engaging blended facilitation
Blended learning combines teaching and learning methods from both face-to-face and online learning, and can include elements of both synchronous (live) and asynchronous online learning options. Facilitating blended learning brings with it some additional challenges. Not only do you need to ensure that your face-to-face class time is engaging and interactive, but that the online components provided before and/or after the class are also engaging and relevant to create a seamless learning continuum.
Student satisfaction with the blended format is often dependent upon the level of interaction with teachers and other students. Teachers can increase interaction opportunities through face-to-face discussion sessions and by using online tools such as discussion forums, virtual classes and online games. These online tools can also enhance interaction with content and information in a time and space that suits the learner, and that offers opportunities to reflect, consolidate, collaborate and apply real-world relevance.
The ‘flipped’ classroom is the most common approach to blended learning. Quality ‘flipped’ learning is facilitated by creating a seamless and purposeful link between the online and f2f elements. Students need to clearly understand the relevance and context of the work they are required to engage with online prior to class and appreciate how it is going to be developed upon in the face-to-face class. When students fail to complete work prior to class, it is often because they do not understand the link between the two. Students require clear instructions of what to do, when to do it, and WHY they are asked to do it.
For more information, resources and strategies for facilitating a ‘flipped’ approach to learning for your students, visit Models of ‘flipped’ facilitation.
Strategies for implementing blended learning
Facilitating a blended approach to learning can take the form of an individual class, a topic or theme, right through to a whole course. When implementing blended learning, it is recommended that you start with small incremental changes, experiment with the adoption of new facilitation methods and consider the impact that these have on student learning before commencing a full scale blended curriculum. The video below comes from the Epigeum International Consortium – Blended Learning and Teaching Package, which shares the experiences of academics as they moved into a more blended approach to facilitating student learning.
Resources, strategies or assistance
- Vanderbilt University – Blended and Online Learning
- Teaching practice - Models of ‘flipped’ facilitation
- Teaching practice - Engaging online facilitation
- Teaching practice - Engaging face-to-face facilitation
- Contact your School’s Learning Designer to discuss innovate ways you can improve your integration of both face-to-face and online teachings to enable more student engagement in the blended learning continuum.