During COVID-19 pandemic, physical brick-and-mortar classrooms moved online. Virtual e-learning has sustained both students and teachers, allowing them to continue advancing in the world of knowledge. Soon after, methods of hybrid learning and blended learning gained popularity. This trend, incorporating virtual learning and physical learning spaces, is growing and gaining support in education institutions.
Why is blended learning appealing to students and educators? It combines traditional face-to-face teaching with remote learning in an online classroom. It provides flexibility but also more support to students individually that have different learning needs. Additionally, blended learning prepares teachers and students for any future disruptions, equipping them with skills to utilise digital tools.
Understandably, remote learning alone has created tension in the education space. The global pandemic has kept everyone at home, working and learning remotely. Students and teachers are keen to explore the blended learning method because it incorporates the best of both worlds – face-to-face but also online learning.
Read more: What is Blended and Hybrid Learning?
Accommodating the shift in education, different methods of blended learning are practiced by teachers and students. While there are multiple variations, let’s explore some of the most common types of blended learning. The future of learning will entail some or all types, creating an engaging and flexible learning environment for both students and teachers alike.
The most widely known type of blended learning is Flipped Classroom. This teaching method focuses more on online learning rather than face-to-face learning, giving students the freedom to approach tasks at their own pace. The learning materials are created, analysed and provided to remote students. These materials help students to prepare for in-class active learning activities. This method allows students to develop new skills such as time-management and critical thinking, whilst also encouraging a personalised approach to knowledge.
Classrooms then become a place to apply newly acquired skills, facilitating engaging discussions through debates, case studies or group projects, building confidence and fostering self-sufficiency
Three rotation blended learning models are interconnected as their primary goal is to rotate students through stations on a fixed schedule, incorporating online learning.
These blended learning types are prevalent in compulsory education as teachers are already familiar with the rotation of different stations. Also, it makes use of existing computer set ups within the school environment.
As it says in the name, Supplemental blended learning model provides students with additional experiences outside of their fixed environment. For example, if students are in a traditional brick-and-mortar classroom, they would be provided with materials to supplement their school experiences online. These materials vary from assessments to online courses. This works the other way around too; students come to the physical classroom to complement the learning that was gained online.
This type of blended learning focuses on adding value outside the main space of learning, supplementing critical learning objectives that could not be entirely met in one space.
Self-directed blended learning allows students to take responsibility for their learning objectives, putting the importance on individual accountability. This learning model allows a combination of online and face-to-face learning that is guided by students themselves, creating a personalised learning experience by connecting with teachers physically and digitally.
The freedom to adjust your own learning comes with challenges for both students and teachers. It is vital for students to stay engaged with the learning materials and processes but also keep track of things that work and don’t work for them. It requires students to be self-aware and involves high levels of autonomy and self-criticism while at the same time acceptance and determination to seek out help when needed. Teachers must respond to the needs of students, either giving them the necessary freedom or support while not compromising the self-directed learning method.
In Enriched Virtual blended learning, students focus on their online coursework, establishing independency and freedom from the classroom while only meeting with the teacher as needed.
This type of learning is similar to the flipped classroom blended learning; however, Enriched Virtual method eliminates the need to work with the teacher on a daily basis.
Inside-out and Outside-in blended learning types are the opposites of each other, focusing on where the learning process starts and finishes.
In Inside-out blended learning, learning starts in the classroom but is planned to finish outside the classroom to gain wider experiences online or other relevant spaces. This model puts emphasis on the importance of outside learning sources and involves communities in the process.
In Outside-in blended learning, learning starts outside the physical classroom, creating opportunities for students to gain experiences online or within other learning spaces to then bring back to the classroom.
In both cases, students are given guidance by teachers, this is necessary to fully utilise the benefits of outside-in or inside-out blended learning types. Complementing environments encourage student authenticity and engagement while also providing them with tools to explore learning options outside the traditional classroom environment.
This personalised blended learning type focuses on rotating students between online and face-to-face learning based on their achievements and completion of Mastery-based learning objectives.
Different assessments are designed for students to elevate their personalised learning experience through various activities, projects, etc. These assessments are crucial in keeping students engaged, both in physical classrooms and virtual classrooms alike.
All blended learning models involve a remote or online learning component. To avoid distractions online, both students and teachers need the right tech to be successful.
To find out more about compulsory education technology, visit our Blended Learning Hub!
Digital tools and solutions are going to play a vital role in this shift blended learning. In April 2020, Jabra, a world-leading video and audio brand, have surveyed hundreds of teachers across multiple institutions to understand their key challenges and discovered that:
With more and more education institutions incorporating blended learning types into their curriculums, right technology can help to minimise distractions and engage students even further.
Each product is designed to offer maximum flexibility, portability and ease-of-use, so no matter where your teachers are, they’re only ever seconds aways from their students.
When it comes to classrooms, creating an inclusive, engaging environment is everything. Different types of blended learning, incorporating in-class and online learning are setting a new standard for educating future generations. As with any change, challenges arise but, in this case, the right technology can really help students to stay focused and motivated. Jabra provide digital solutions to elevate blended learning experiences and create environments where knowledge takes the centre stage.
 Jabra Customer Database Survey, April 2020.