Blended Learning

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blended_defBlended learning refers to delivering some portion of course content online, meaning a mixture of in-person and offline interactions (see Online Learning Consortium image at right).  The main advantage is that in-class time is freed up to do more active learning activities.  A popular example is flipping the classroom, a form of blended learning where in-class lectures and more fact-based content are consumed by the student outside of class, via videos, interactive modules, and other learning objects.  An accessible option to create and edit lecture videos is with the Instructional Video Modules Service from NYU Libraries/ITS.

The rationale behind blended learning is that fact-based content, which can be learned effectively through well-designed modules, multimedia lessons, and assessments, is offloaded to non-course time.  This allows students to go through the content at times and in doses that make sense for the individual student.  Those who need extra resources to understand the content have them.  Additionally, in-class time is freed up to engage in real-world applications of the content.

Generally, most courses can benefit from introducing blended learning.  The process involves the following steps:

  • Content analysis: examining the syllabus to see where in-class lectures can be made online to free up valuable class time for more in-depth exploration of the material.  The main questions are, what are problems that I have noticed throughout the semester?  How could online content serve as solutions?
  • Learning object design: outlining online content and determining where in the course sequence it will fall; designing assessments that will accompany the learning objects and gauge learning/ areas of improvement. The main question is: how can we best design this content to maximize learning?
  • Learning object development: creating learning objects and assessments that students will use.
  • Implementation and Analysis:  applying new content and assessing its effectiveness.


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