Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Blended Learning and Personalized Online Tutoring

A lot of discussions happen on Blended learning. What is actually Blended learning? Blended learning, as the name implies is a blend of classroom delivery along with digital or online content, typically where face to face classrooms sessions are combined with computer meditated or other digital activities.

It signifies a fundamentally different approach that teachers and students need to adopt in the teaching learning process. Another popular term used in this is “the flipped classroom” or other terms like hybrid, mixed, or integrative to describe the same trend.

In 2000, an estimated 45,000 students from K-12 curriculum took online courses, and a decade late, the numbers have escalated to approximately 3 million, computers in schools catalyzing the whole process.

Blended learning has the following important components

  • In-person classroom activities facilitated by an experienced educator
  • Online learning materials, pre-recorded lectures, animations, videos or other tools to enhance the learning process, often used to explain difficult concepts
  • The instruction followed by reading material, worksheets, assignments and other aids to reinforce the concepts already delivered.

While there is many a discussion on the effectiveness of blended learning and its impact on education, one of the applications that this could be extended outside the class room is in educational environments such as online tutoring. An online tutor could adopt the following characteristics to enhance the “facilitator” role
 
  • While course content is vital, pedagogical technologies and strategies to enhance the learning process are indispensible.
  • Creating a learning environment by facilitating interaction among students and personalizing it according to the individual needs of the student may be very effective in one on one tutoring environments such as online tutoring
  • Making assessments and grading a little unconventional can greatly help in keeping the student engaged in the online class.

A true learning experience is a combination of relevance of the material as well as applications of concepts and ideas in a “real world setting”. These in fact can be beautifully combined in a blended learning environment - A teaching- learning experience that can be an interesting blend of the conventional and the modern.