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The pedagogy of blended learning

5 minute video (talking head, overlays and teaching practice) delivered by Neil.
Blended learning can be used to support a wide range of pedagogical approaches commonly used in the VET sector. Use of mobile devices and a blended learning approach in formal and informal learning settings can support a range of pedagogies, including constructivism, social constructivism, and problem-based learning. A constructivist approach is based on learners constructing their own knowledge and meaning through experience. This includes learners engaging in real world activities, building on their prior knowledge and experience, developing relevant skills and independence and working with teachers as facilitators instead of instructors, and using formative assessments to inform future learning needs. In this first case study, think about how the mobile app used by Prospect Training Services supports a constructivist pedagogy.
iObserve is a video recording app available for Apple and Android devices which uses the video recording elements within the tablet or device. What’s quite unique about it is, when you’re making a recording, your actual qualification criteria are embedded within the app. It allows you to create a full observation of a student, highlighting everything they’ve achieved through that period. iObserve also works perfectly for evidence when your external verifies come out from your awarding bodies to check to make sure everything’s OK. The students we work with on our programmes are 16 to 18-year-olds that are studying a sports qualification. So the mobile learning, or the e-learning enables them to actually access the course materials in a fun and interactive way.
They like to come back and they can actually see themselves playing the sport on the tablet. So for them, it’s a very visual tool. It shows them actually demonstrating tasks to criteria in their qualification instead of just writing about it afterwards. I think iObserve is going on really well within our company. Getting rid of witness statements and being able to enable tutors to video something and produce evidence in that respect is very popular. Social constructivism is a hypothesis that states that individuals learn as a result of social interaction and collaboration with others. And it’s evolved from Vygotsky’s Activity Theory and the notion of the zone of proximal development.
In this digital age, social constructivism is exemplified by online courses such as blended learning essentials, where learners can share ideas and knowledge in a collaborative space to increase their own personal knowledge. In the VET sector, use of interactive, social, and collaborative tools to support teaching can encourage learners to learn from one another. In the next case study from Borders College, listen to how Nigel uses a wide range of social tools to support his learners’ success.
I use a combination of Flickr and I also use Facebook. We’re using an iPad Air to take images and video footage whilst we’re out and about doing our practical activities, which are quite often off campus. Then I can then upload those images with some narrative. And the students can do that also, onto our Facebook and our Flickr accounts. And that can then be reviewed by the students on either our virtual learning environment, Moodle, or on our Facebook site. It gives them the opportunity for reflection and to look at where they could improve themselves. But also, they can instil a sense of self-pride. I think it keeps the students very focused and centred on the course they’re doing.
It encourages them to use the social media more. They’re using it anyway, so it’s just looking at our page as opposed to somebody else’s page. Keeping themselves up to date. And they like seeing themselves doing things. It’s there for a revision tool to refer back to later on in the year, and it’s there for easy access. And I go on it quite a lot just to have a look to see what’s been put up. Problem-based learning is a pedagogical approach very commonly used across the education sector. Problem-based learning encourages active learning, use of real world scenarios, social learning, and the application of knowledge to new situations.
A wide range of digital technologies can effectively support problem-based learning, and encourage learners to develop creative thinking skills. In this final case study, Andrew at Sheffield College describes how he encourages learners to use their mobile devices for problem-based learning.
It’s always a visual outcome that we’re looking for. So that’s generally the problem, is how can we communicate visually? The pedagogical challenges are that, generally, students at this age are maybe slightly shy about being creative. And I want to encourage them to express themselves. I think they find it fun that it’s modern technology. And sometimes that masks the fact that they’re actually being really creative. I’m trying to encourage students to use their mobile devices that they have access to. What I’d like them to realise is that in fact, you don’t just have to design in a classroom or in a studio, in a working environment. The technology now allows you to design when you’re out and about.
I prefer it, because I think it makes the lesson more alive. So you’re not really sat at a desk, not wanting to do much because it’s too boring. It engages you a lot more. I certainly think the apps enhance creativity. It’s a new challenge for students that they’ve not met before. They enjoy using mobile technology for their social lives. And I’m trying to convince them that it’s also useful in their professional lives.

In this video Neil introduces blended learning and defines some of the pedagogical theories and teaching approaches which underpin it. Whilst most participants on this course are likely to be practitioners with a focus on delivering teaching, it is useful to spend a little time on the theories which underlie your pedagogical approaches.

Neil has chosen to focus on introducing the following pedagogical theories and teaching approaches: constructivism, social constructivism and problem-based learning. These are defined in this video, and then exemplified in the case studies from practitioners using blended learning approaches to support their learners. For more information about pedagogical theories and teaching approaches commonly used to support technology enhanced learning, you can read a comprehensive literature review on the subject. This article includes discussion of other pedagogic theories such as behaviourism and cognitivist approaches.

The case studies focus on the pedagogy of curriculum design and teaching approach and clearly demonstrate the practices described from an educator and learner perspective.

Have your say:

Reflecting on one of the case studies highlighted in the video, describe how it might be beneficial in your context. Then take the time to read a contribution from another participant and comment on their idea.

If any of these case studies relate to your practice take the time to view the full length videos in the See Also section below.

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