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Blended learning: definitions

Professor Neil Hughes introduces the topic of blended learning.

Before introducing you to this week’s experts, I would like to share with you my own understanding of ‘blended learning’. As I’m sure you know, it’s often described as a mode of delivery that combines face-to-face teaching with online learning elements. While this characterisation is a useful starting point, it only scratches at the surface of what is involved in blended learning.

Personally, I agree with Ashraf et al (2021) that blended learning is best understood as an umbrella term that encompasses a range of different teaching and learning models including what they describe as:

brick and click instruction, hybrid learning, dual-mode instruction, blended pedagogies, hyflex learning, targeted learning, multimodal learning and flipped learning.
As Joosten et al (2021: 10) explain, what these models have in common is their explicit focus on the thoughtful integration of four learning design parameters: space, time, technology and pedagogy:
Blended learning is instruction that blends technical, temporal, spatial, and pedagogical dimensions to create actualized learning.
I also agree with Mcgee and Reis (2012) that it’s important to emphasise the human dimension of blended learning as well as the role that pedagogically sound activities, tasks and assessments play in helping students achieve learning outcomes:
Blended course designs involve instructor and learners working together in mixed delivery modes, typically face-to-face and technology mediated, to accomplish learning outcomes that are pedagogically supported through assignments, activities and assessments as appropriate for a given mode …

Finally, I believe, as you will learn in this MOOC, that the meaning of blended learning has evolved in response to a series of paradigm shifts in pedagogical thinking, technological change, ‘black swan’ events such as the global pandemic, and changes in the regulatory framework for teaching and learning in Higher Education.

What do you think? Use ‘comments’ below to reflect on this understanding and/or offer alternatives. Are there, for example, any aspects of blended learning you think it misses out?

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Blended and Hybrid Learning Design in Higher Education

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