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Let’s explore online, blended and flipped learning

Online, blended and flipped learning is any type of learning that is facilitated by technology that makes effective use of technology.
MAC laptop which has an image on screen. The image is a graduates mortar on a book.
© UNSW Sydney 2017
Online, blended and flipped learning is any type of learning that is facilitated by technology or by instructional practice that makes effective use of technology. Digital learning occurs across all learning areas and domains. It encompasses the application of a wide spectrum of practices including: blended and virtual learning. (Education and Training, 2015).
When you design for online, blended and flipped learning, you need to consider which particular technology will best achieve the learning and teaching goals. Learn how to use the technology and manage its use for learning and teaching, to be able to best support students in achieving the course learning outcomes. It is important that the pedagogy drives the learning and not the technology.

What is online learning?

Online learning lets students access your course from a remote location. They can complete learning activities and assessments online that are equivalent to an on-campus course (UNSW, 2015).

What is blended learning?

Blended learning uses various combinations of traditional face-to-face learning experiences with online and mobile technologies, the one enhancing the other. Blended learning can be both synchronous and asynchronous (i.e. does not have to happen at the same time as the on-campus course). It is now common practice for universities to provide blended and online courses for students. In fact, the increasing use of blended learning designs has been identified as one of the most significant technological trends driving educational change in higher education institutions (Johnson, et al, 2016, p1).
Blended or online learning does not prescribe a particular pedagogical approach or framework, but has the potential to support student-centred approaches to learning. The focus on should be understanding effective pedagogical strategies for online teaching rather than the technology itself. Here are examples of blended learning at UNSW including sample courses.

What is a flipped classroom?

There is no single model for the flipped classroom – the term is widely used to describe almost any class structure that provides pre-recorded lectures followed by in-class exercises. The flipped classroom draws on concepts such as active learning, experiential learning, student engagement, hybrid course design and course podcasting.
In the flipped classroom, students complete learning traditionally covered in the classroom in their own time (by watching videos, accessing resources, completing formative assessments), dedicating classroom time to experiential activities and interactive, personalised learning. These activities may include group problem-solving and team building games, simulations, case study reviews and group discussions. The aim is to develop deeper understanding by engaging with these experiences. As a teacher, you play a key design role in planning how the technology is integrated to achieve flipped learning.

Talking point

The flipped classroom approach to teaching and learning is fundamentally about promoting active learning through interaction between students and teachers in contexts that are traditionally teacher focused and lecture centred.
Watch this video (3:36 min), in which an academic from NC State University talks about his application of the flipped classroom and the benefits for his students.
Consider one element or activity within a single face-to-face class, in your educational context, that could potentially be flipped. How will you manage this element of your class, in an online environment? Share your ‘flipped’ element with your peers in the Comments section.

Want to know more?

If you would like to more about this topic of online, blended and flipped learning there are additional resources listed in the Want to know more.pdf for this step.
Education and Training (2015). Teaching with Digital Technologies. Victoria State Government.
Johnson, L., Adams Becker, S., Cummins, M., Estrada, V., Freeman, A., and Hall, C. (2016). NMC Horizon Report: 2016 Higher Education Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.
UNSW (2015). Blended and online learning. Sydney: Author.
© UNSW Sydney 2017
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