Week 2: Reflections on designing a blended learning approach

Hi there blendkit2014 readers

In week 2 we have explored the design of a blended learning approach.

I found this really neat little video that compared strawberries and ice-cream to blended learning, an interesting analogy to say the least.

This week’s reading encouraged us to consider a quote from Dziuban, C.D., Hartman, J.L., and Mehaffy, G.L. (2014) “link the best technological solutions for teaching and learning with the best human resources“. This is so true.  No matter how you define blended learning, no matter what the context our goal is to have the best teaching strategies in place to support learners and to provide an environment that supports and facilitates learning.

The role of the educator in a blended environment was also explored.

Atelier Learning (this was very new to me).  Checkout http://www.johnseelybrown.com/CJKoh.pdf  if you want to know more. In model learners learn in full view of other similar to that of an art studio.  The master of learning can then observe practice, inform and guide.  The use of blogs is said to be very suitable to this type of learning.

Network Administrator where students are placed at the centre of a personal learning network. Checkout Fisher, C. (n.d.). Teacher as Network Administrator. Retrieved from http://www.evenfromhere.org/?p=374 to find out more.

Concierge learning where the educator directs learners to resources and learning opportunities. More information on Concierge learning can be found at Bonk, C. (2007). USA Today Leads to Tomorrow: Teachers as online concierges and can Facebook pioneer save face? Retrieved from http://travelinedman.blogspot.com/2007/10/usa-today-leads-to-tomorrow-teachers-as.html.

Curational learning under the guidance of a curational map.Siemens, G. (2007). 10 minute lecture – curatorial teaching. Retrieved from http://learnonline.wordpress.com/2007/09/20/10-minute-lecture-george-siemens-curatorial-teaching. A great online tool to help learners curate content is Pinterest.  If you are interested please feel free to watch my Connect recording on how to use Pinterest in Education.

Are these terms familiar to you?



Blended Interactions Second Edition  Edited by Kelvin Thompson, Ed.D. “New Learners? New Educators? New Skills? “ in the Handbook of Emerging Technologies for Learning by George Siemens and Peter Tittenberger

Dziuban, C.D., Hartman, J.L., and Mehaffy, G.L. (2014). Blending it all together, In A. Picciano, C. Dziuban, and C. Graham (Eds.), Blended learning: Research perspectives, volume 2. NY: Routledge.


Blended Learning

I am currently doing the BlendKit MOOC through canvas.net.  Our first task has been to read an introductory article on what is considered blended learning.  The authors of this reading highlight that there is no agreed definition for blended learning in the Higher Education sector.  This really struck a cord with me, those of you who know me will know I often say the same when asked for a standard definition for e-learning.  Personally, I think context plays a very important role in what we do as educators and there is ‘no one-size fits’ all approach to training and education so it is not surprising we can’t always agree on a standard definition.

The article encourages to ponder the question

“Is it most helpful to think of blended learning as an online enhancement to a face-to-face learning environment, a face-to-face enhancement to an online learning environment, or as something else entirely?”

Again, context plays an important role in the answer to this question. If you are a teacher who teaches mostly in a face to face learning environment, offering blended learning solutions might be an enhancement to your current teaching strategies.  You might find your learners can’t always attend classes at the time they are scheduled. They may increasingly be seeking more flexible ways to complete their learning outside of the classroom.  If this is the case you could use a learning platform like Edmodo (free, quick sign up and has some excellent strategies for keeping our youngest learners safe in the online environment) or a learning management system (LMS) like Moodle to make your class resources available for those who are unable to attend.

In my world, blended learning allows me to customise my training solutions to meet the needs of the learners I am currently working with.  I tend to use a LMS, interactive PDFS or e-books, quizzes, videos, blogs and discussion forums (for self-reflection and feedback).

So my definition might be:

“Blended learning provides teachers, facilitators and learners the means to offer training in a way that best meets the needs of those involved in the training program.  It combines a combination of classbased and online learning teaching strategies and activities”.

How does blended learning look in your world?

Just found this great infographic on connected learning


This graphic comes from the Connected Learning Website

I think the connected learning model sets the scene very nicely for 2013 as it proposes a new model for learning as well as emphasing the power and creativity of the technologies available and the users who use them.

The challenge in 2013 continues for some educators to be their ability to embrace the use of technologies in education as well as acquiring the skills to use them. Technology and the Internet offers new ways of learning that can enhance a learning program if they are used in the right way. You only need to explore social learning and mobile learning opportunities to realise that the way we source information (including news, entertainment and how we keep up to date with our friends) has changed.

A simple example of how we might acquire learning outside of a traditional class environment is the way we use and interact with social media sites. Have you heard of the term social TV viewers? Social TV viewers use social media to talk about what they are watching on TV. As a teaching tool this offers some interesting possibilities. Recent media studies suggest that interacting on a second screen makes users more engaged with the program they are watching (visit http://adage.com/article/media/social-tv-viewers-engaged/235739/ and read the article by AdAge media news, it is a very interesting read). If you haven’t participated in this type of activity, watch QandA on ABC and during the show tweet about what you are watching using the hash tag #qanda…. in fact if you search on this tag you will find a multitude of posts.

Do you currently participate in online discussions using LinkedIn or similar platforms? If so, think about what you have learnt just by lurking or participating in these conversation? Personally I have learnt a lot about the use of e-learning in educational settings just by drawing on the comments and expertise of other practitioners who are very happy to share their knowledge and expertise. So the challenge here is how do we build these learning opportunities into our training programs? Should we recognise this learning in our training programs? If so how and how much? I would love to have this conversation with you, so please if you have stopped by, take a moment to post and let’s get this conversation going?

Take care and have a wonderful 2013.