Have you ever wondered what blended learning is, and how you can make the most of it as a student?
Well, we’re here to help you out and give you all the deets, pros & cons and any extra info you may need.
Blended learning is basically a combination of distance & on-campus learning, and COVID-19 has definitely played its part in making it a much more common practice.
Whether you’ve chosen a blended learning approach yourself, or have been made to, it has many pros & cons.
There tends to be some real ambiguity in the idea of blended learning, and we’re here to clear it all up.
What Is Blended Learning?
So, in a nutshell, blended learning combines online educational materials as well as traditional based classroom methods.
A portion will occur online so that the student can really manage the pace effectively, another section is instructor-led.
Learning in the classroom can offer face-to-face feedback, with online learning being very self-paced with interactive learning.
It can involve things like quizzes, games, videos, quizzes, and even social media for a nice mixture.
The best part though? You can access it from wherever you are in the world great for international students.
For more information on blended learning, check out this handy video here!
The Pros Of Blended Learning
1. Better Communication
One big pro of blended learning is the fact that it brings better communication for everyone!
It can provide many communication tools such as e-mails, instant messages, online discussions, online grading, and many more.
It allows students to connect with each other, especially ones that may not be as confident as others – which is a big plus.
Blended learning really adds better collaboration between students and teachers, making the process much more enjoyable.
With blended learning, learning is constant, and the time is variable, which means the approach can be personalised to fit the student.
It gives tutors a great way to personalize content tailored to the needs of the student and their career aspirations.
Students will definitely feel much more independent and grown-up with blended learning – a definite pro.
3. Access And Flexibility
Blended learning is so easy and simple, with some really good access and flexibility benefits!
It’s really quite easy and gives the student a chance to access content anywhere, anytime, and do some studying.
There are different types of models of blended learning, tailored to fit the individual.
Some of these models include online, rotation, flex, personalized blend, online lab, self-blend and face-to-face.
Good news! Blended learning can bring you so many cost-savings, perfect for students wanting to save some dosh.
You can forget about the expense of travel costs, whether that be a taxi from your student accommodation, the bus or train.
This also has an influence on general morale, with less commuting, and more time to focus – so it’s a bonus!
5. Preparation For The Wider World
The blended learning approach is a great way of preparing students for the wider world, it gives you valuable lessons!
It’ll teach students time management, organisation, and being responsible for themselves and their studies.
Especially these days with lots of companies taking on board the concept of remote working, blended learning is a much-needed life lesson.
The Cons Of Blended Learning
1. Technological Dependence
We all know that technology can sometimes be super annoying, especially when it doesn’t work!
One con of blended learning is the fact that we have to rely heavily on technology – and it doesn’t always play ball.
For those without a decent Wi-Fi connection, video calls can lag, and it can be very hard to communicate.
This of course results in students missing out on key information and struggling with their work.
Luckily with our fab student accommodation, fast, reliable Wi-Fi is included, so you can get your studies done easily!
2. Students Can Fall Behind
As much as blended learning gives students the chance to be independent and work out what’s best for them, they can fall behind.
Working to your own timeframe definitely has its pros and cons, and if you struggle with time management, it may be difficult.
Another reason why students fall behind is because some may wait to watch the recording of lectures.
Putting off watching the content will, of course, make them fall behind – and we deffo don’t want that!
3. Lack Of I.T Knowledge
If you’re a student wanting to access course material, you may struggle if you have a lack of I.T knowledge.
It can be difficult getting technical support if, for example, your lecturers are busy, and you can’t get hold of anyone.
4. Pace Of Advancement
Blended learning can be super beneficial for those students who are motivated, but those who aren’t may struggle.
The pace of advancement may vary for those who find it difficult to stay on track because online learning has an element of freedom.
Learning online gives you less pressure, so you may not be concentrating as much – which may result in slower advancement.
Now, we’re not saying you’re going to cheat on your assignments, but sometimes it can be so hard to withstand the temptation of Googling!
This may affect a fair assignment, and the general quality of your work, as well as your general learning ability.
We’re all guilty for googling the answers to things, but are we actually going to retain that information?
Or, are we better learning it through memory and consolidated notes – that’s the big question!
How To Make The Most Of Blended Learning?
Our advice to you would be to try and take blended learning as seriously as possible!
It’s going to feel a little weird at first because you’re not constantly in a lecture theatre or seminar classroom.
BUT, that doesn’t mean you can’t exceed and fully focus, it’s just a different environment you need to get used to!
Make sure you minimise distractions when working from your student accommodation, and ensure your internet connection is secure.
Students should make the most of this experience, and see it as a positive experience as opposed to a negative.
As a whole, blended learning is very much the ‘new normal’ for universities due to the COVID-19 global pandemic.
It’s a fabulous tool for collaboration and enables course participants to work together and get to know each other.
Who knows, you might even make some friends along the way – which is a total bonus!
Useful feedback to each other is key and leads to higher engagement and vast improvement within your studies.
Wondering what to do in Newcastle this bank holiday? Check out our super handy guide here!