blended learning in higher education

Blended learning has been discovered as a new educational phenomenon within the academy in this pre-digital age. It combines different modes of delivery, approaches of teaching and styles of learning within an interactively meaningful environment. In higher education, blended learning is often referred to as the combination of online and face-to-face class components. Students, faculty and administrators are three major groups that involve in blended learning environment. (Vaufhan, 2007). Therefore, blended learning can be fully analyzed these perspectives.

Oblinger (2003) states that those students belonging to generation X (born 1965-1980) and millennial (born 1981-1994) make up the majority of today’s university population. Those groups grew up with technology and enjoyed the scientific achievement. Blended learning offers a university model that more congruent with their norms. Students become more active in their learning and some technological skills that beyond the traditional class. They can access the flexibility that provide by blend learning. It means that they learn anytime and anywhere with their own pace. This learning model also encourages students’ interaction with instructor and peer. However, with the fact that the rhythms of blended courses differ from those in face-to-face classes, the student must relearn how to learn. Further, a good blended learning is depending on well self-management of students. So how to manage themselves maybe another problem for students.

The blended course initiative has experienced a significant growth on campus. The majority of the faculty are satisfied with their blended learning courses and indicate that would keep use this approach in future. (Charles, D., Joel, l. &Patsy, D., 2004 ).The reason for faculty provides a high level of support is the convenience and increased instructional quality. Besides, in order to increase student engagement and improve their academic performance, the faculty should shift their role as designers of active learning environment. Just as students have to relearn how to learn, faculty have to relearn how to teach.

At the institutional level, administrators should see what others cannot. Generally, administration is able to respond needs of blended learning and offer more flexible learning opportunity. The institution must make necessary policy, planning, resources, scheduling, and support systems to ensure that blended learning initiatives successful. (Garrison & Kanuka, 2004).Of course, they need change their role just as do faculty and students.

Blended learning in higher education is an evolving phenomenon and offer possibility for flexible access, low cost, high efficiency and timely degree completion. (Charles, D., Joel, l. &Patsy, D., 2004). It has changed the way learning is perceived and delivered, brought about institutional transformation.  And this is only beginning.

References

Charles, D., Joel, l. & Patsy, D. (2004). Blend learning. EDUCAUSE Research, 2004(7).

Trasler, J. (2002). Effective learning depends on the blend. Industrial and Commercial Training, 34(5), 191-193.

Vaughan, N. (2007). Perspectives on blended learning in higher education. International Journal on ELearning, 6(1), 81-94.

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By nancyzhangedpc5003

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