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Blended Learning: towards a meaning for today


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A talk based on the HEA literature review of Blended Learning (Sharpe, Benfield, Roberts, Francis 2007)

A talk based on the HEA literature review of Blended Learning (Sharpe, Benfield, Roberts, Francis 2007)

Published in: Economy & Finance, Education

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  • 1. Blended Learning: towards a meaning for today Blended Learning Literature Review 01 March 2006
  • 2. History
    • A sense of déjà vu
    • 1986 WEA, Ruskin College and the Open University blended learning programme for adults, without qualifications, returning to education
      • a mix of distance (DL) and face-to-face (f2f) learning: evening/weekend courses with residential learning sessions and distance learning support
      • summer schools and monthly tutorial-group meetings were typical f2f interventions in a predominantly DL mix
    • 1990s corporate training
      • short courses blended with pre-course readings and post course activities such as action-learning sets and project-based learning teams
      • course participants receive electronic materials (i.e. spreadsheet-based project finance models, trading simulations, technical process modelling, etc.), on portable media, initially floppy disk and later CD and eventually through web services
    • 2000 web-based DL and training is “blended back” with supplementary printed manuals and optional f2f seminars (“at a location near you”)
  • 3. Driscoll
    • Four meanings of blended learning
    • To combine or mix modes of Web-based technology
      • e.g., live virtual classroom, self-paced instruction, collaborative learning, streaming video, audio, and text to accomplish an educational goal.
    • To combine various pedagogical approaches
      • e.g., constructivism, behaviorism, cognitivism to produce an optimal learning outcome with or without instructional technology.
    • To combine any form of instructional technology
      • e.g., videotape, CD-ROM, Web-based training, film with face-to-face instructor-led training.
    • To mix or combine instructional technology with actual job tasks in order to create a harmonious effect of learning and working.
  • 4. Oliver and Trigwell
    • Three meanings (drawing on Driscoll, Harrison, and Whitelock and Jelfs):
    • the integrated combination of traditional learning with web-based online approaches...;
    • the combination of media and tools employed in an e-learning environment; and
    • the combination of a number of pedagogic approaches, irrespective of learning technology use..
  • 5. Hoyle
    • The mix is in the diversity of people that can be blended
      • I would also want to widen access to all those other learning activities. I want sales and customer services staff, shop floor production workers, nurses, support workers and people from all levels within our organisations to benefit from properly structured inputs from skilled coaches, to have a chance to be part of an action learning set and to benefit from supported work-based projects where the learning gained from the task is more important than the output of the task itself.
  • 6. Valiathan
    • Focus for learning, or ‘intended’ learning:
    • skill-driven learning, which combines self-paced learning with instructor or facilitator support to develop specific knowledge and skills;
    • attitude-driven learning, which mixes various events and delivery media to develop specific behaviours; and
    • competency-driven learning, which blends performance support tools with knowledge management resources and mentoring to develop workplace competencies.
  • 7. McShane
    • Temporal dimension
    • learning technologies enable blending synchronous and asynchronous teaching and learning
  • 8. Schrittesser
    • blending an apprenticeship approach to learning with a reflexive approach to learning
  • 9. QAA
    • This model considers three modalities.
    • Collaboration is the extent to which the learning programme is dependent on learners working together to learn or work individually.
    • Collocation is the extent to which the learning programme is advanced and propagated through face to face sessions where the learners are gathered in a room for lectures or seminars, or through distributed (distance) learning.
    • Computerisation is the extent to which information and communication technologies (ICT) is used in the learning programme
  • 10. Blended learning: 3-C hi collocation hi collaboration traditional laboratory lo computerisation hi collocation whiteboards in classrooms hi collaboration virtual field trips hi computerisation lo collocation CACL, online forums hi collaboration “Learning to teach online” hi computerisation hi collocation lo collaboration video link lecture hi computerisation lo collocation lo collaboration “traditional” DL lo computerisation lo collocation lo collaboration CBT training hi computerisation
  • 11. Modes of Engagement Mode 1: baseline admin and support Mode 2: Blended Learning Mode 3: FDL
  • 12. Summary
    • This leaves us with the possibility of blending
    • delivery different modes (face-to-face and distance education)
    • technology mixtures of (web based) technologies
    • locus authentic/work-based and class-room based learning
    • pedagogy different pedagogical approaches
    • chronology synchronous and a-synchronous interventions
    • roles multi-disciplinary groupings of learners
    • focus different aims
    • direction instructor-directed vs. learner-directed
  • 13. Blended learning is ubiquitous
    • most standard practices in post compulsory education now involve a mixture of approaches
      • providers of face-to-face training enhanced their courses with on-line elements and preserve the values of the face-to-face experience
      • providers of distance-learning courses converged on a blended model from the other direction, offering optional printed manuals and supplementary face-to-face workshops
  • 14. 2 different conclusions
    • Driscoll
      • The point is that blended learning means different things to different people, which illustrates its widely untapped potential
    • Oliver and Trigwell
      • The fact that this model is already prevalent within practice in higher education means that the term is redundant
  • 15. A reason for the acceptance of blended learning
    • Innovation fatigue
    • The past ten years have seen institutional learning and teaching practice impacted upon heavily by learning technologies.
      • e-mail, portals, virtual learning environments, computer aided assessment
    • If e-learning is reified as unidirectional, transmissive, computer-based learning,
      • any "blend" is bound to find greater acceptance by academics
      • anything that allows non-e into the blend is more acceptable than all e
    • Blended learning
      • preserves "... pleasurable opportunities we have for face to face contact with our students."
      • makes "... person-centered learning and teaching more effective and feasible by enriching it with elements of computer-supported learning"
  • 16. The problem
    • When we try to pin down the meaning of any modification of the term “learning”
      • e-learning
      • blended learning
      • distance learning
      • work-based learning
      • etc
    • we will ultimately have to address what is understood by learning
  • 17. Theories of Learning
    • Associative, whereby people learn by association
      • initially through basic stimulus-response conditioning, later through the capacity to associate concepts in a chain of reasoning, or to associate steps in a chain of activity to build a composite skill
    • Cognitive constructivist, whereby people learn by active construction of ideas and building of skills
      • through exploration, experimentation, receiving feedback, and adapting themselves accordingly. Cognitive constructivity leads to integration of concepts and skills into the learner’s existing conceptual or competency structures.
    • Social constructivist whereby people and groups learn with the support of dialogue and in the process of collaborative activity.
    • Situativist, whereby people learn through participation in communities of practice
      • progressing from novice to expert through observation, reflection, mentorship, and legitimate peripheral participation in community activities. Situativity leads to the development of habits, values, identities and skills that are relevant to and supported by that community.
      • (from Beetham)
  • 18. Theories of Knowledge
    • Positivism: the “traditional” empirical-idealist view
      • Reality is objectively “out there”
      • Positivists aim to construct value-free laws arguing from the observation of phenomena to the creation of theories (the specific to the general) in order subsequently to explain other phenomena through deductive reasoning (general to specific), rules and procedures. ...
    • Social perspective: the new orthodoxy (Goodman, 2003)
      • Knowledge is emergent rather than given or discoverable, it arises from social practice and is constructed.
      • There is variation in what is known and how it is known and this variation is context-dependent. ...
    • Tacit communitarianism
      • Commonsense epistemology of normalisation which adopts forms from both the social perspective and positivism in order to reproduce a culture through its many tacit codes. ...
    • New critical (post-foundational) approach
      • Acknowledges the cognitive disconnect in much learning and teaching practice. Learners assert their desire for student-centred programmes, yet ask, “is it on the exam?”
      • (from, Oliver, Roberts, Huggins)
  • 19. Leads to more blending…
    • Learning styles
      • Associative, Cognitive Constructivist, Social Constructivist, Situative
    • Approaches to knowledge construction
      • Positivist, Social Perspective, Tacit Communitarian, New Critical
  • 20. but … simply hides the politics of the situation
    • Blend of covert and overt curricula
    • Overt curriculum of the industrial era
      • “ 3 Rs”: reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmatic.
    • Covert curriculum
      • punctuality, tolerance of repetition and subordination
      • compliance important for the functioning of industry
    • Overt curricula are presented as being beneficial for all.
    • Covert curricula benefit particular positions
      • dominant elites or their powerful oppositional forces...
    • Overt benefits of e-learning
      • flexibility, community and individualisation
    • Covert possibilities, against
      • flexibility, a return to piecework and insecurity.
      • communitarian, normalisation and a re-expression of hierarchies.
      • individualisation, tolerance to surveillance and a willingness to surrender personal information to anonymous, autonomous agents
  • 21. 10 Dimensions of blended learning
      • delivery
      • technology
      • locus
      • pedagogy
      • chronology
      • roles
      • focus
      • learning
      • knowledge
      • politics
  • 22.
    • Thank you!
    Benchmarking at Brookes [email_address] +44 (0) 1865 484871 +44 (0) 7711 698465