Blended Learning - Mixing The Best of Distance and On-Campus Higher Education Start studying abroad

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The idea of learning in our time has come to a whole new level, thanks to modern technology. Today, you can be a student without having to actually commute to a university. You can take advantage of different formats of learning that include using smartphone devices, laptop and desktop computers, and hand-held computer tablets that can be integrated into the physical classroom experience.

The option of using these devices enable your access to endless resources of information that will inevitably enhance the higher education experience. You, along with a number of students can now choose the information that is important to them as learners.

In this article, you can read more about

  • What is blended learning?
  • The advantages of blended learning
  • Students’ common challenges in blended learning
  • Types of blended learning formats
What does blended learning mean?

Today, universities worldwide have included a wide range of study fields for all degree levels in the blended learning format. In blended learning, students can combine interactive online teaching through video conferences and debate forums, with short face-to-face periods at the campus, sometimes it does not necessarily imply to attend the campus of the same university. For some degree courses, in the case of a student from Russia who applied to a university from Germany, the student can attend lectures at a local university. This is possible due to partnerships between universities, but you have to keep in mind that it will not always be an available option.

During the online weeks, students work on assignments, projects, papers, and assessments. Using a non-traditional learning format that combines what students already understand from on-site classroom experience, the developing concept of the virtual classroom allows students to take their learning environment anywhere they want to go (both physically and mentally).

The advantages of blended learning

As a blended learner, you can enjoy the physical presence of peers and teachers, while taking advantage of the opportunity to enhance your learning experience through distance-learning courses or by joining an online learning group.

Let’s take an example. Julie is a student in her last year of high school studies and is looking for a flexible college experience. She is interested in continuing her studies in German language and literature. She wants to find a programme that will help her get started with learning the language and customs of the culture. Additionally, she wants to visit Germany at least three or four times during her college career.

At the same time, she needs a way to stay connected to her learning environment at her college through online courses or through maintaining virtual contact with others in her programme. Julie knows she will need the support to keep learning about the culture, as she travels and becomes a more proficient student and speaker of the German language. Julie is the perfect candidate for a blended learning environment.

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Students like Julie who seek a well-rounded comprehensive college experience have become less of an exception and more of the rule. For this reason, universities have been providing the opportunities for this kind of experiences, now, more than ever before.

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Overcoming the challenges of blended learning

Blended learning is enjoyable and perfect for students who appreciate a good academic challenge. However, the perception that blended learning experiences are generally easier than the physical classroom-based experience can take some students by surprise once they have begun their studies.

A useful tip for students enrolled in a blended learning programme is to attend or watch and read online training courses or seminars that give several instructions and advices on how to succeed in a blended learning environment.

For instance, a simple talk or e-mail to your instructor and letting them know how you are progressing, are a step forward to your success as a blended learner.

Common challenges of blended learners

1. Typing out a paper to turn into your instructor in class, when in fact, you had to submit it online by midnight

2. Difficulty to adapt to different types of discussions: online communication with peers and instructors, classroom discussions

3. Following the discussion threads that are going on between the classroom and the online discussion spaces may seem endless, confusing and difficult to keep track of

Despite these possible stumbles, don’t be afraid to try a blended format, especially if you like the idea of learning in an international environment. You could study polymer science from one of the best labs in the United States, while staying connected to your host university through a shared learning community that keeps you accountable for your work in Taiwan.

While blended learning may take some time to get used to, the benefits are worth it, if you only consider the fact that you will learn new technological skills.

Different types of blended learning formats to consider

One of the most interesting features of this type of information transfer is that blended learning can be delivered in many ways. Blended learning can mean combined different web technologies, combined different pedagogical approaches, combined instructional technologies with classroom-based teaching styles, or variations of all three!

As a student interested in taking advantage of the of the best that blended learning has to offer, make sure to investigate the types of blended learning combinations that are best for your future potential learning environments Choose combinations of blended learning that will best serve your academic and personal goals. Blended learning can even be used to help address some of your learning needs that may fall outside of a traditional learning format (i.e. Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder or ADHD).

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Some of the most common fields of study available in blended learning

Business Administration – this field is particularly attractive for business professionals and people who are currently involved in a job and are interested in enhancing their skills, advancing in their career or even want to change their profession. A distance learning blended programme allows them to continue handling their work responsibilities.

Computer and Information Sciences – computing degrees always include hands-on labs and activities to develop technical and business-critical skills. The advantage of a blended programme in computer sciences is that students can directly check with instructors how much they progressed with their skills and understanding during the campus attendance. This facilitates a stronger communication between students and professors, as opposed to the online format.

Education – teachers, researchers and administrators pursue online and blended programmes as these allow them to continue their current roles while building advanced endorsements and accreditations that are required for some educational professions.

Public Health – this field is mostly appealing for students that come from professions like physicians, researchers, nurses, pharmacists, hospital and clinic managers, as well as public health practitioners.

Social Sciences – a blended learning degree in social sciences offers a broad grounding in sociological theory, social systems and social policy. You can find diverse study programmes in the field and specialise in areas like psychological science, occupational therapy, counselling, child studies, conflict management, criminal justice and more.

Choose a blended format that best suits your needs

Blended formats are an adventurous way to start your college career. Choosing a blended learning format can help you gain the academic experience you desire without sacrificing the quality of content that you have become accustomed to in a classroom format.

Research thoroughly and choose your blended learning programme wisely! You can create an ample learning experience that will facilitate the skills and knowledge needs so you can excel in your future academic placements and professional endeavours.

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