Presenting information to students the right way can be the key to achieving learning outcomes. We see them developing higher levels of interest in what they need to learn. Beyond that, we make learning exciting enough to become a lifelong pursuit for them. There are many different ways to do this in a modern classroom, and one of the most popular today is using blended learning strategies. There are many benefits of using blended learning in the classroom. However, many teachers lack the experience of using technology to help their students.
Incorporating blended learning strategies into the classroom can be a difficult and frustrating experience. Nevertheless, this can be turned around with time and an interest in connecting students to meaningful learning. Using blended learning in the classroom can help students learn more easily by helping them become interested in the both activities and knowledge. We’ll discuss 8 strategies to employ with blended learning. Next, we’ll suggest 3 projects that students will love for you to incorporate your brand new blended learning strategies.
8 Solid Blended Learning Strategies
1. Create Relevance
Students must become personally invested in curriculum. If they don’t see the point of what we ask them to do, they’re less likely to do it. When incorporating blended learning it’s important to offer relevant work to students. The projects they do must connect to their interests and have a meaningful purpose. Creating solutions for real-world problems is a good example of this.
Also, we must create relevance from the very beginning. Explaining relevance after the fact doesn’t help the student or the instructor, and can also slow down the learning process.
2. Build Skill Levels
Blended learning incorporates both face-to-face and online connections. As such, it gives students opportunities for multiple levels of interactive learning making it much more varied and effective. Also, if the teacher is clearly passionate about something it will spark student interest.
Students do things on their own, with their teacher, and with other students in class. Each one of these requires a different set of skills. The opportunity to socialize and share ideas with others matters more than you know. Students need one-and-one and private learning time just as much. A healthy mixture of these things helps students get as much interaction and information as possible.
3. Make Mobile Learning Tools Available
Learning on-the-go is vital to the success of most blended learning classes. When an instructor doesn’t provide students with mobile learning tools, it’s very hard for those students to get the information they need to complete their work. By offering mobile tools, more can be accomplished no matter where the student is at the time.
4. Meet Individual Student Needs
In blended learning, much of the work completed online is reinforcement of what students learn in the classroom. If the student doesn’t need that work, he or she shouldn’t have to complete it. Some students grasp concepts faster than others. Being open to this can help all students learn and retain information more easily.
5. Set Goals
To keep students interested, they need to be agents of their own learning. Without goals, they are just passive learners. They are being given information that may or may not factor into what is important to them. Keep them engaged by helping them set goals that work with their interests and the knowledge they need.
6. Make Content and Instruction Clear
Confusing instructions can cause disengagement when using blended learning strategies. Without a good understanding of the work required, learning will be slow. It’s far easier for a student to disengage from the learning activity. The instructions have to be clear for students. The content the student is working through must also be so.
7. Create Challenging and Authentic Tasks
Students can tell when something is authentic. They’ll respond to it much better than to other options. They can also tell when they’re being challenged for a good reason. They know when they’re just being given something to do that’s difficult but lacks substance. Great blended learning ideas include combining authenticity with a challenge. In this way, students will have a much better response to it.
8. Reach Out to Disengaged Students
This needs no explanation. Students who disengage need to be re-engaged fast, before they lose further interest. The sooner we connect with them, the better for all involved in the learning process.
3 Fun Blended Learning Projects
1. Virtual Debate
This blended learning project is suitable for use in a variety of subjects. It is appropriate for students from the middle school level and higher. It will help your students develop critical thinking skills, logic reasoning, and better persuasive arguments.
Have students locate an online “expert” with a view on a topic which differs from the student’s personal view. This will take some pretty thorough research, so give them some time. Students can access TED Talks, 99u, or any other site offering video talks on various topics.
Once students have located this alternative viewpoint, ask them to create a virtual debate with the speaker. The students can be as creative as possible with this one. It can take a number of different forms as a project:
- a written article or blog post disputing what the expert believes
- a video response to the speaker
- a podcast episode
- a fictional “debate” in which a classmate plays the role of the expert
2. Buddy Up With Khan Academy
Khan Academy offers anyone the opportunity to learn new skills. Most of the skills covered on Khan Academy focus on math and sciences. The site offers limited resources in other subjects.
In blended learning, a teacher can use Khan Academy to reinforce taught skills. It can become the basis for a lesson. A typical in-class lesson using Khan Academy can be set up in the following way:
- A teacher shows students a video from the site to introduce a new topic or skill.
- After watching the video, the teacher leads a classroom discussion on the topic.
- Following the discussion, students can practice the new skill during class time while the teacher offers feedback.
- At the end of the class the teacher will assign practice exercises from the site for homework.
3. Foreign Language Classroom
Foreign language classrooms have traditionally used multimedia. Expanding multimedia use from simple audio recordings to a full-blown blended learning classroom can have an immediate positive impact on students.
Getting students actively involved in languages is easy using online resources. A great activity for your learners could be to create a “comical” dialog:
- Group your students into teams of two or three students.
- Have each group of students find a video online.
- Tell the students to watch the video without sound or subtitles.
- Assign the group to write a language dialog using the video for inspiration.
- Let the students practice.
- Play the video with no sound in class while the students dub in their own comical dialog.
Create Your Own Blended Learning Projects
Create your own blended learning with any TED Talk video. Go to TED Ed, and then follow the instructions for creating your own lesson. Teachers can easily add questions for their students to answer. You can also add additional resources to create a course-specific lesson.
- 5 Simple Blended Learning Strategies for the Connected Classroom
- How to Begin Your Own Blended Learning Practices
- 12 Different Ways to Guarantee Blended Learning Engagement