The pandemic has completely changed how schools operate, as many schools are now opting for hybrid learning models. There is now importance on home-based learning along with what children learn in school. That is why even Singapore has implemented blended learning at various levels.
If you want to know more about this type of learning, you are in the right place. Here is what you need to know about it.
The Implementation Of Blended Learning
According to Lawrence Wong, the Ministry of Education Minister, blended learning will be applicable to specific levels of education. These include junior colleges, secondary schools, and the Millennia Institute. The announcement came in December 2020 during Term3.
It also stated that once blending learning has been applied in Term 3, it will also be implemented to all the levels in every school as the new normal by Term 4 of 2021. Schools were also told to offer a learning device to students, such as a laptop or tablet, by the end of the year.
Doing this would ensure that students have the adequate tools to get used to the blended learning model. Now that you know the announcement of the government and its application, you must understand what blended learning offers.
How Does Blended Learning Work?
It is important to understand how the model of blended learning works. As this method is implemented, the school will divide its classes between in-person classes and online classes. Besides that, the teachers will give tasks to students to complete at home, and they can discuss them later in class.
An example of such learning is that they will be given a specific concept in Mathematics that they will learn through interactive mediums, such as videos. Teachers can also use AI or virtual reality tools to help assist the students in understanding concepts.
The primary aim of introducing blending learning is to ensure flexibility. After all, no one foresaw the lockdown of the entire world, and students suffered a lot as many didn't have the means at the time to offer blended learning.
The Cultivation Of Independent Learning
One of the most important aspects of blended learning is to cultivate independent learning in students. A key aspect of blended learning is frequent home-based learning (HBL) days that will be implemented. These days will be much more flexible than the rigid structure of a classroom.
Because of this, students will have the opportunity to learn how to balance the expectations of their curriculum while also having time for their own interests that go beyond school learning. Blending learning is there to nurture independent learning skills in the students.
It will enable the students to take control of their learning and develop some skills to self-regulate the curriculum. Blended learning offers the best of both worlds, as students will benefit from social interactions and hands-on learning in the classroom, and they will also study independently.
What Is Needed For Successful Blended Learning?
Education institutions have to ensure that the teachers are ready for the technological change that comes with blended learning. All teachers must be proficient in utilizing and integrating technology in their teaching. That is why schools also have to focus on teacher development before implementing blended learning.
Teachers have to be trained in planning, designing, and implementing blended learning curriculums. Of course, it is up to the school to offer proper infrastructure, such as equipment and training to all the teachers. Besides that, teachers must also understand that students will be distracted online.
For example, students can wander off to other online spaces and not pay attention to the learning. While teachers might not have a lot of control over this, they can still offer interactive learning that can keep the students engaged. The key is to guide the students and equip them with independent learning skills.
The Top Benefits Of Blended Learning In 2022
Now that you understand the basics of blended learning, you are familiar with how it works. Here are the top benefits that this type of learning model will offer to students and teachers in 2022:
1. Flexibility For The Teachers
As a teacher, the blended learning model will be incredibly flexible for you. That is because it will free up your time to connect with students in more meaningful ways. When you are using such technology to teach, you have a lot of tools at your disposal you can utilize to challenge students and engage them in learning.
Besides that, the flexibility will also guarantee that it is easy for students to learn the material from digital sources. In the learning and studying environment, it is important for students to have flexibility. It encourages them to learn better and get the most out of the classroom.
2. Boosts Student Engagement
Students are now growing up in the digital era, which includes smartphones, tablets, and much more. That is why they are already comfortable with using these gadgets and learning from them. Implementing such technology into the classroom environment will encourage better engagement and learning in students.
It will enable the teachers to communicate with the students and share materials on a medium they find secure and comfortable. Students will also be eager to learn more from this medium. That is why it is also crucial for teachers to learn how to use this medium in the best way possible for better student engagement and interaction.
3. Variety For Students
One of the best parts about blended learning is that students will have a lot of variety at their disposal. For example, in-person classes have limited resources, as students can learn through textbooks and hands-on experiments. On the other hand, digital learning offers endless options that teachers can use, such as interactive games, videos, applications, and much more.
Using these options will offer more variety to the students in terms of learning. Each student has a unique learning style, and this medium will cater to most learning styles. The digital medium will also provide students with more power over their learning process.
4. Stability Of The Education System
Students need stability in their lives because they are young and still learning. This stability was thrown off track when COVID-19 first hit, and suddenly schools shut down. However, the primary aim of implementing blended learning is to ensure that the education system remains stable for the students.
Even if any natural disasters occur, students can still continue their education in the comfort of their homes. Parents will also be able to help their children to adapt to this change. So, in the long run, this will allow schools to offer a stable education to children.
5. Collaborative Learning
Blended learning allows for more collaboration between teachers and students. That is because the skills of communication, collaboration, and problem-solving will be cultivated in the students through the use of blended learning. The key is to nurture them to become more self-directed so that they can take control of their learning process.
Of course, it is up to the teachers to facilitate this process and guarantee that students get the most out of it. Teachers will have to find new ways to offer innovation and interactive learning to students, leading to better collaboration.
The Role Of Parents In Blended Learning
Learning is not just about the teachers and students any more, as blended learning also involves parents. There are a number of ways that parents can encourage students during blended learning. These include:
1. Taking Charge Of Learning
One of the most important roles of parents in blended learning is to encourage children to take charge of the schedule. Parents should encourage students to set goals, get all the resources they need for their classes, and set aside time to reflect on what they learned. They have to facilitate this process for their children.
For example, parents can help children with goal setting and reflecting after each class. That is especially true for students in secondary schools, as they require more encouragement from parents. Once parents set some guidelines, students will find it easier to direct their learning.
2. Setting Ground Rules
Another important role of parents is to create a learning environment at home where students can thrive. When it is time for blended learning, students must be in a space where they can study without any distractions or interruptions. Besides that, even parents should not interrupt the learning of students during that time.
It is good to set some ground rules that will facilitate the learning of students as they require an environment where they can learn better. You can dedicate a small space in your home where children can sit down and learn online. Doing this will allow the students to have a space where they can come to study without outside interference.
3. Checking Progress
Parents must talk to their children frequently about their progress in school. You need to create an environment where your child feels comfortable talking about their learning. Once you know what they are doing, you can challenge them to do even better.
Talking with your children will also enable you to understand if they have any issues with the current setup you have created in the home. If they do, you can ask them what changes they can make for their comfort. It is crucial to take the input of your children, as they need an environment where they can thrive and learn in the best way possible.
4. Help Them Stay Connected With Peers
Social interactions are one of the most important things for children, as it allows them to find meaning and connection in the classroom. Of course, they also need this connection outside the classroom. It also enables the students to stay more engaged with academics.
That is why you must help your child to stay connected with their peers. Encourage them to take part in extracurricular activities so that they can make more connections and friends. Doing this will add more to the blending learning experience, as it will motivate your child to do better.
5. Ensure A Good Internet Connection
A good internet connection is an essential component of blended learning. After all, children will be using video calling, and they need good quality and high speed. That is why we recommend that you create a space for your child which is close to the WiFi.
It will allow them to have an impeccable internet connection that will not disrupt their learning. You can also connect to the router by using an Ethernet cable to guarantee great speed. Be sure to check the internet connection from time to time as your child is learning to guarantee that they don't face any disruptions.
6. Create Structure And Routine
On the days when children engage in home-based learning, they might not follow their normal routine and structure. It is up to you to provide them with this structure by creating a schedule for them. When you do this, your child will know what to expect for the day ahead.
The key is to ensure your child stays focused and engaged. If they don’t, then they will procrastinate or become lazy and not take any interest in online learning. So, be sure to prioritize a structure on all days to cultivate more discipline and independent learning in your child.
That is everything you need to know about blended learning, which has taken over the education system by storm. Parents, students, and teachers have to come together to facilitate learning and guarantee that students are getting the most out of this model. After all, we are living in the digital age, and it is time to incorporate technology into learning.
In the long run, students will depend on their teachers and parents to help them navigate this new learning system. So, don’t forget to play your part and help the children stay focused and get the most out of blended learning in 2022