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Tips to Create a Blended eLearning Strategy

Why Blended Learning? 

The concept of blended learning relates to the applied practice of using both online and in-person learning experiences when teaching students. Blended learning utilises technology, such as computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones to provide teaching capabilities previously unattainable through solely in-person learning and textbooks. The creation of a blended eLearning strategy provides the benefits from both synchronous and asynchronous learning strategies. Allowing learners to gain both the personal rapport with a teacher, as well as the flexibility and interactivity that can be gained through eLearning platforms. 

How to create a Blended eLearning Strategy 

Clearly identify the blended learning course’s objectives – Before the creation of the eLearning strategy it is critical that the course objectives and goals of the teaching programme are clearly understood and stated. This is an essential step as it will guide the teaching material, structure of the learning and level of support offered to students which will ultimately determine how well learners can adapt and derive value from the blended eLearning courses.  

Create a blended learning course outline and syllabus to keep your learners motivated – A blended learning course outline and syllabus offers benefits for everyone involved. The access of this outline for students will enable learners to follow the progression of the course closely and ensure the correct pace-setting for the blended learning processes. Furthermore, learners will be provided with the necessary transparency regarding participation and attendance that will empower them to engage in the course, reducing the mandatory everyday classroom attendance that can lead to disengagement and lower morale.  

Determine the blended learning course’s level of interactivity – Before implementing an eLearning strategy, it should be pre-decided which learning concepts are best suited to eLearning and which are most suitable for traditional in-person learning. This is to ensure the best quality learning experience is provided to students. It is important that the structure of the blended learning is pre-determined and not spontaneously chosen, as this may lead to concepts being taught online when they may be better suited to in-person teaching. Ideally, teachers should assess each module or topic to assess where synchronous or asynchronous teaching is necessary. 

Integrate group collaboration activities – Group collaboration is a pivotal component of a blended learning strategy. In this setting, learners can gain the ability to share their knowledge with their classmates and to benefit from the transfer of knowledge among peers. Therefore, group collaboration exercises should be implemented within the eLearning strategy in order to contribute to the diversified methods of learning. With learners being able to benefit from being able to teaching other learners, which will aid with the re-call of learning concepts. 

Develop communication and feedback guidelines – Teachers and support staff should create clear channels of communication, facilitating support and dialogue between teachers and learners that will help to ensure successful learning delivery. For instance, teachers should provide a communication protocol, e.g., to expect a reply to an email within 24 to 36 hours. This will leave learners feeling they are connected with their teachers and can receive feedback and advice whenever they feel they need it. 

Although there are no two courses that are the same, the aforementioned list of tips to implement an eLearning strategy are important to implement to ensure an effective level of organisation and understanding regarding the implementation and benefits of blended learning among not only the teachers but the students. Each course is individualistic in nature but can apply similar planning, reviewing and execution process to ensure the best possible learning experiences for the learners. 

The BLENDED LEARNING in ELT project aims to combine traditional education methods with technology-supported materials or blended learning models to: plan blended lessons; to manage distance education environments; to make the lessons interesting and keep students motivated; to increase the knowledge/skills of teachers regarding digital education; to integrate mobile devices into the lesson; to use technology more effectively and safely; through training activities taking place in five different European countries covering topics such as blended learning approaches etc. for teachers, educators and trainers.  

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