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.

What is Case-based Learning?

The principle of case-based learning (CBL) is to offer cases to motivate students to learn and structure their learning. A case is a realistic situation that students may encounter later in their professional practice. The students will work together and come to several good solutions or understanding of the case through discussion. The role of the teacher is to guide this process. Where necessary, the teacher will stimulate the discussion and ask broadening or deepening questions and possibly provide explanations.

Working from a case, it is clearer for students why certain knowledge and / or insights are necessary within the learning context. With the case, learning objectives are given that a student must acquire during the self-study period in order to be able to work with the case. A case is a realistic situation that students may encounter later in their professional practice. The discussion of the case will be discussed in an education group. The students will work together and come to several good solutions or understanding of the case through discussion. The role of the teacher is to guide this process. Where necessary, the teacher will stimulate the discussion and ask broadening or deepening questions and possibly provide explanations.

The advantages of using CBL are that it promotes the collaboration of learning. The student collects prior knowledge and will add the newly acquired knowledge and insights. In addition, CBL will ensure more integration of knowledge and insights gained in various places. CBL is intrinsically and extrinsically motivating and promotes the students' self-reflective ability to assess whether they have understood something well (Williams, 2005) .

ICT Tools

What is Team-based Learning?

Students prepare for class and are asked about their knowledge at the start of class (first as an individual and then in a group). A group receives immediate feedback on their performance and the teacher increases understanding through mini lectures.

It is based on 4 underlying principles:

  • Groups of 5 to 6 students are formed at the start and stay together throughout the course.
  • Students are responsible for their own self-study and for working in teams.
  • Team assignments should promote both learning and team development.
  • Students should receive frequent and direct feedback.

Team-based Learning works according to a coherent 4-step model: preparation, individual and group review, application-oriented assignments and peer feedback.

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor team-based learning sequence

  1. Preperation (self-study)
    Students go to work through self-study. In the course environment in Brightspace they will find literature, knowledge clips and other educational resources with which they will become familiar with the subject matter.
  2. Individual and group assessment
    Each course unit starts with a multiple choice test about the subject matter. Every student first answers the questions individually. Exactly the same questions are then offered in a team context. On a scratch card (a kind of scratch card), each student team chooses the correct answer to each question after mutual discussion. This is also possible in the Socrative tool. The results of these tests naturally count towards the final mark. The teacher assesses directly on the basis of the scratch cards or Socrative which questions still cause problems. The items that score low are explained: this is how the teacher connects with actual learning questions and prior knowledge.
  3. Application-oriented team assignment
    The team assignment is intended to teach teams to apply the theory. The assignment is offered in the form of a relevant problem or challenge. For example, teams can be presented with a number of appealing propositions that fit into the course context. Each statement is provided with 4 possible answers, each containing a core of truth. The assignment for the individual teams is to agree on the most appropriate answer option. Each team makes the choice known on a signal from the teacher. This is followed by a plenary discussion. The teacher brings the different teams together to discuss their choices. He or she moderates the discussion by exploring the various responses and thus jointly elaborate on the theme.
  4. Peer evaluation
    Finally, peer evaluations are a crucial part of Team-based Learning. Halfway through and at the end of the course, the students evaluate each other's contribution. Each team member may divide 40 points among the 5 other members and appoint plus points and points for improvement for each team member. By evaluating halfway through the course, every student has the opportunity to improve. The Group Member Evaluation of FeedbackFruits can support this.

ICT Tools

What is Peer Instruction?

Students prepare for the lesson and give the teacher feedback about what they found confusing or difficult. During class, students receive mini-lectures interspersed with peer discussion of conceptual questions that work to generate, confront, and resolve misconceptions that students may have.

An example is shown in the figure below. The teacher places a reading assignment on the digital learning environment. Students read the assignment and ask questions on the digital learning environment. The teacher can then see how well the questions have been made and where there are still misconceptions. The teacher prepares his lesson based on this data and gives a mini-lecture during the lesson. The teacher then gives an individual assignment in class and the students have to answer a question via a voting tool. The teacher and students can see how many students have chosen which answer. Afterwards the students must discuss the answers in groups in order to answer the question again via the voting tool after this discussion. The teacher then discusses the correct answer. This method is called 'peer instruction' of which Eric Mazur, Dutch physicist, is the founder of.

ICT Tools

What are knowledge clips?

A knowledge clip is a short video that stands on its own and deals with a defined (sub) topic. The video can be used outside the context for which it was made. However, prior knowledge of the content may be required to understand the knowledge clip. Substance that students generally stumble over is well suited to make knowledge clips. A teacher has to explain some difficult subjects over and over again. That costs a lot of time. By recording the explanation well prepared - with or without a PowerPoint presentation or animation and where necessary edited - a knowledge clip is created in which the explanation is optimally presented. The challenge is to visualize the material in an attractive way. These knowledge clips can often be used for a longer period of time and can be consulted as a 'reference work'.

Educational added value

Knowledge clips offer several advantages: The explanation of complex concepts and actions during lectures can be shortened if also knowledge clips are used. By making knowledge clips prior to the lecture as compulsory curriculum, there is more room for deepening during the contact hours. Consider, for example, the concept of Flipping the Classroom. Knowledge clips are an additional self-study option for the student and promote 'deeper learning' because the student chooses the option if necessary. Also in refresher programs as a remedy, or as a collection to activate background knowledge be deployed.

Preparation

There are several options for creating knowledge clips. The preparation time varies depending on the teacher's wishes and content. Within the framework of the faculty strategy activating work forms and blended learning there are means to realize this. As a teacher you only have to work out the content.

ICT Tools

View the tool guide for more information about the tool.

What is the Jig-Saw method?

The Jig-Saw method is a way to organize collaboration and division of tasks among students. Students study part of the material, explain the essence of it to their group members and jointly make a summary in which the material that the different group members have studied must be used.

Didactic added value

Students are placed in an active role and all have room for their own input . There is mutual dependence whereby students must work together towards a common goal. Piggybacking is made difficult and immediately noticed. In addition, students learn from and with each other. For teachers, this method means that clear insight is gained into the learning process and the difficulties and misconceptions of students. In addition, they do not have to give a long explanation about a certain learning content.

Preparation

Divide the material / teaching material into a number of equivalent and logical parts (maximum 8), depending on the number of students in the group. A maximum of 5 students may study the same component. Each part can be studied independently of the other. Assign each student one of the components with the self-study assignment to make a summary of the main points of view herein. Put students who have studied the same component (that is a maximum of 5) together in groups. In the groups, the students check the understanding of the material among themselves. Then assemble new groups in such a way that all parts of the material are covered in each group. Students explain to their fellow group members what they have studied, so that the entire material is ultimately discussed and summarized.

ICT Tools

View the tool guide for more information about the tool.

What you can do with exams

Exams are often seen as a summative final assignment to test the extent to which students have achieved the learning objectives. However, they can also be used for activating work forms. This way you can let students take an exam with consultation. They then take a (partial) exam together and are challenged to discuss the questions and possible answers. The students argue with each other, but each ultimately chooses an answer individually. Afterwards, attention is given to the results for a short time. Another form is allowing students to create exam questions. Students then individually submit an exam question with answer model. These questions, or a selection from them, are used for the exam. You can also choose to have students post their questions on a forum, after which discussions can arise. Exams can also be used formally to chart progress. For example, students can quickly see how they are doing with old test exams. A multiple-choice exam can then be digitized, giving students immediate feedback. If you work with open questions, then opt for a peer feedback model in which students check each other's answers.

Didactic added value

Allowing exam questions to be created activates students to look for the correct answers and provides a database of possible exam questions for teachers. When students have to consult, discussions arise in which knowledge is jointly constructed. Formative assessment provides insight into the progress for students and teachers.

Preparation

These methods take relatively little preparation time. Often there are old exams that can be digitized. Resources for this are available within the project.

ICT Tools

View the tool guide for more information about the tool.

What is online discussion?

Students gather information and take a position based on propositions. They discuss this with each other online via a forum. This online discussion forum is a written asynchronous communication tool. Someone starts the discussion with a question or statement, and others can respond to it. Contributions to the forum are made in writing and the participants do not have to be present in the forum at the same time. This has the advantages that forum participants will think about the formulation of their input and that they have the time to do so. This increases the quality of the contributions.

Educational added value

Discussions on their own require not only knowledge and application but also empathy and analytical skills. They analyze the subject and thereby learn to view the subject or problem from different angles. Through discussions, students also learn how to formulate arguments and arguments and work on their presentation skills. By having discussions take place online, students can participate wherever and whenever they want. In addition, by writing down their arguments, students are forced to substantiate their arguments well. Furthermore, an online discussion forum offers the opportunity for modest or shy students to actively participate in the discussion.

Preparation

The Digital Learning Environment, such as Brightspace, can be communicated in a forum. Students can create their own discussion lines for their questions to which students and teachers can respond. Teachers can submit statements or leave this to students. There is also the possibility to vote for propositions. Working with this method takes little preparation time, both online and offline and contributes to activating students.

ICT Tools

View the tool guide for more information about the tools.

What is collaborative learning?

Collaborative learning refers to an educational situation where students share the responsibility to perform tasks with a common goal or end product in interaction with each other. In practice, collaborative learning is often confused with collaboration. However, there is a difference between the two. With collaborative learning, the focus is on the content / course material, with collaboration the focus is more on the process / collaboration. There is no strict separation between the two, but it is important for both you and the students to know where the focus is on a collaborative assignment; on the content, on the process or both.

Educational value added

The underlying idea is that students not only learn from the interaction with the teacher, but also from the interaction with each other. With collaborative learning, not only the curriculum is important, but also the collaboration. There is a cognitive and a social goal.

Forms of collaborative learning

Collaborative learning is often used in practice. Consider, for example, jointly doing research and presenting about it. An increasingly applied form of collaborative learning is Team Based Learning (TBL). Team Based Learning is a form of collaborative learning that uses a specific order of individual work, group work and direct feedback to create a motivating framework in which students increasingly hold each other responsible for prepared participation in classroom activities and contribute to the discussion.

There are many ICT Tools that can make collaboration easier for students and offer teachers insight into the collaboration process. In addition, there are many different forms of collaborative learning where, for example, students come to a product or not or where the emphasis is more on the elaboration of learning material. Edulab can, depending on the content of a course, give specific advice about which forms best suit that content.

ICT Tools

What is Flipping the Classroom?

Flipping the Classroom flips college and self-study. In a traditional college, knowledge transfer is central and there is usually little interaction. The teacher tells and students are passive listeners. By letting students do the knowledge transfer at home, the contact time in the lecture room can be used for interaction and deepening. During the lectures, the educational material is actively studied, for example by solving a problem in groups and presenting the results or through structured discussions.

Didactic added value

First, Flipping the Classroom provides students with more autonomy about the learning process. Students can decide for themselves when they watch a video and if something is not immediately clear, they can watch it again. Secondly, research shows that Flipping the Classroom has a positive effect on pass rates because it activates students more in their learning process. It also offers teachers the opportunity to make better use of their expertise. This is because they can look up more in-depth during the lectures.

Preparation

Transforming a course into a Flipping the Classroom model requires relatively much time in the beginning, but in the long term it offers time-saving. For each lecture, a video must be searched for or made and made available via an online learning environment, such as Brightspace. A three-hour lecture can be reduced to 20 to 30 minutes on video. Speaking the text with the slides takes a little more time, but the recordings can be used for several years. Edulab can support this. Next, the content of the lectures must be considered. There is time available for deepening and space for new and other activating learning activities. The role of the teacher also changes.

ICT Tools

View the tool guide for more information about the tool.

What are (short) activating assignments?

Teachers often provide traditional frontal education in which students listen passively and take notes. However, research shows that active learning leads to better learning outcomes. That does not mean that lectures are a thing of the past. It only needs some adjustments. This requires, among other things, the use of activating teaching methods, often supported by ICT tools.

Educational added value

By using (short) activating assignments, students become more actively involved in lectures. This changes their role from passive listener to active participant. In addition, higher thinking skills, such as analysis and evaluation, can be addressed. This leads to a better transfer of knowledge and skills.

Types of assignments

There are many types of (short) activating learning activities. We therefore give a few examples. If you want to know more about it, contact your Blended Learning consultant.

  • Wordcloud: During a lecture, a wordcloud is made live based on input from students, so that you can quickly see what “the group” thinks about a statement or topic and can respond directly to this.
  • Voting / polls: Students vote on propositions presented by the teacher during the lecture.
  • Test exam: Students take a partial exam and are challenged to discuss the questions and the possible answers.
  • One-minute paper: Students are instructed to write down the essence of the material in one minute during a meeting or based on studied literature and discuss this.
  • Thought-share-exchange: Students think about an assignment and share answers with each other and afterwards in the lecture.

ICT Tools

View the tool guide for more information about the tool.

 

What is Peer Feedback?

Peer Feedback is having students assess students. Students assess each other's work on the basis of rubrics: criteria based on which they form an opinion about each other's work.

Didactic added value

Peer feedback has a great added didactic value. When students assess each other's work with the help of rubrics, they learn to form a better opinion about what is good and bad quality, they also learn to see shortcomings in their own work and can therefore better assess their own work. In addition, they learn that there are several ways to tackle a problem. In addition, students receive feedback from other students in terms they selve would use and in their own language. Finally, the role of students change from passive consumers to a more participatory role.

Preparation

To start with peer feedback, it is necessary to work out assignments prior to the course. The assessment criteria must also be written out. This whole can be loaded into a digital tool. However, it is also possible on paper or with voting software.

ICT tools

View the tool guide for more information about the tools.