Making sense of blended learning

Posted on March 17th, 2016

In this extensive report, Sir John Daniel, research associate at Contact North and former president and CEO of the Commonwealth of Learning, examines what blended learning is and how it might best be used. He describes the history of online and blended learning and looks at the growth of correspondence education, open education, and the rise of MOOCs. Daniel says that two important ways to make higher education more effective in the 21st century are that “students need to engage more fully with independent work. Online technology can help them do this and must be used intensively to free up time for students to prepare assignments and for teachers to use their interactions with students over their assignments as a prime vehicle for teaching. Second, teachers must help students, via apprenticeship-style sessions and commentary on their assignments, to develop skills and acquire academic knowledge.” He adds that the future of hybrid learning is an opportunity: “If implemented sensitively and professionally it will lead to higher student performance and greater staff satisfaction than trying to revamp an older model of higher education that was simply not designed for the masses of diverse students seeking higher learning in today’s technology-rich age. We cannot promise a golden age of learning but the opportunities for empowering humankind are enormous.”