Blended Learning

Blended learning is a mix of both face-to-face and ICT-based teaching and learning activities, materials and tools. Both kinds of activities are vital components in the teaching process, and ideally, they should reinforce one another. The goal is to develop educational programmes that use ICT to boost the efficiency, effectiveness and flexibility of learning and increase learning returns and student/lecturer satisfaction.

As well as allowing students to learn wherever and whenever they choose at a pace that suits them, blended learning also enables more efficient use of resources. Instead of being added to programmes as extra facilities, IT tools such as knowledge clips and e-modules are – wherever appropriate – to reinforce the traditional forms of contact learning and self-study. This enables students to acquire a large proportion of the required knowledge and insights via location and time-independent self-study (both alone and in groups), while classroom teaching encourages in-depth dialogue, application of knowledge and insights and discussion of complex issues.

Many types of blended learning exist, and at Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, the most frequently applied variety is the flipped classroom model.

The flipped classroom model is a type of blended learning that allows students to prepare for contact hours, enabling more focused attention to be paid to application and deeper understanding of the material during the contact time. This is usually done via short videos that students can view before class, and the lecture can then be used to discuss important issues relating to the material and to determine the students’ level of understanding. These discussions can be between the lecturer and students, or – as is often the case with large groups – it could also take the form of ‘peer discussion’, which involves the students discussing the issues among themselves and then giving answers via an online voting to ol. These answers give lecturers insight into which topics the students understand well and which require more explanation. Students can also process the material after class. This reverses (or ‘flips’) the traditional model, in which students first encounter the material in class and then process it later.

The flipped classroom model helps to boost the efficiency and effectiveness of the contact hours for several reasons:

  • You can anticipate your students’ prior knowledge of the material and gain greater insight into and control over this knowledge (after all, the students’ prior knowledge is directly determined by the preparatory work you select).
  • You can quickly identify misunderstandings and point them out to students during contact hours.
  • You can give students more effective and timely feedback.
  • You can use teaching methods that encourage higher-order learning activities. In this way, you can focus on learning objectives such as application, analysis, evaluation and creation.

The design of a flipped classroom module is the same as a regular module. The learning objectives must be compatible with the assessment methods used and the assessment must be compatible with the teaching method used. The timetable of activities for the module is formulated based on the selected teaching method. The module must be compatible with the objectives specified within the curriculum and the individual activities must result in an effective assessment. Students will no longer have to ask ‘will this be on the test?’ as it will be clear to them how the individual activities within the module in question will be assessed. As a result, the cohesion between the objectives, teaching methods and assessment is also vital to the design of flipped classroom modules.

Lecturers wishing to boost the effectiveness of their education often have different educational needs. Many of them want their students to be better prepared for class or to interact more during the contact hours, while others want digital assessments, digital marking of written assessments or improvement of online communication skills.

To help meet these needs, Edulab provides lecturers and teams with support during the design/redesign of education and well-substantiated implementation of IT tools. Over the course of a few design sessions, a systematic method is applied to formulate a design/redesign and boost the lecturers’ expertise, e.g. with regard to learning technologies. Edulab offers scheduled workshops addressing this process and teams can also request private workshops via edulab.fbe@hva.nl.

Here you will find an overview of learning activities that you can use to get started with active learning and Blended Learning. The methods are carefully selected by Edulab. It is intended to offer teachers an impression of the possibilities that are available. For each learning activity we pay attention to the content, didactic added value and preparation.

Difficulty

Peer feedback

Difficulty

(Short) activating assignments

Difficulty

Flipping the classroom

Difficulty

Collaborative learning

Difficulty

Online discussions

Difficulty

Formative assignments

Difficulty

Jig-Saw method

Difficulty

Knowledge clips

Difficulty

Peer Instruction

Difficulty

Team-Based Learning

Difficulty

Case-Based Learning

Assessment can be conducted either during the module (formative) or after the module (summative). The flipped classroom model mainly improves formative testing as students are able to tell if they are keeping up with the pace. Various activities are possible during the lectures: based on current issues, students can conduct discussions, give presentations and work on assignments. This provides students with feedback from both their lecturer and their fellow students. Systems that enable quick and easy feedback are particularly useful for larger groups.

  • Students gain insight into topics they are not yet familiar with or skills they have not yet mastered.
  • During the contact hours, lecturers can see how thoroughly the students have prepared and how effective the teaching was.
  • Students are encouraged to prepare properly for and participate during classes.

You can evaluate students during contact hours using tools such as Kahoot!, which allows students to cast votes either individually or in groups. Another example of implementing technology into your contact hours is known as ‘student videos’, which involves getting students to produce a short video about a specific issue over the course of several contact sessions.