The progress is already here, and it will not go anywhere. Technology leads in all areas of human life, in particular, education. So it is not at all surprising that professors have started to supplement traditional academic routine with computer-based elements. As a result, a new academic format has emerged – blended or hybrid learning. It as a mix of face-to-face lessons and online activities.
Despite the fact that BL strategies have reached the top of popularity just recently, this approach is not new. The first BL-related ideas were developed as early as in the 1960s, while formal methods have been used since 1990s. So, blended learning has been practiced for several decades. But not all educational institutions adopt it today, and heated controversy persists in the academic world.
Some people claim that technology use is a great idea for educational institutions, while others believe that this formula is inefficient and would only spoil old, well-checked classics. If you wonder which party is right, read this article written by experts from Pro-Papers. They have outlined the main benefits schools and universities enjoy when introducing blended learning strategies.
Time and money saving
It is sometimes necessary to wake up earlier and spend much time in public transport to get to campus. Also, educators have to prepare learning materials for each lesson: collect and copy texts, staple sheets of paper which would be distributed in a class. It is much easier to create electronic files and upload them to a university website or provide links to online databases.
The same applies to textbooks. With electronic literature, students would not have to go to a library or spend money in book shops. It is worth not forgetting that e-books are better from the ecological point of view. There is no need to sacrifice green reserves of a planet to satisfy the educational needs of a population.
Thanks to blended learning, students do not have to buy pens, notebooks, backpacks, and uniforms. It is enough to have a computer and the Internet connectivity to collect all educational materials, read, write, listen to lectures, submit academic assignments, pass tests and exams in student’s own room or any other convenient place. Money which was initially allotted for traditional resources may be redirected to educational trips or adopting new technologies.
The scientific world does not stand still. There are always some innovations and discoveries in each discipline. It is important to reissue textbooks in order to get rid of outdated information and present fresh content to students. There are usually financial and time constraints when such reforms are introduced at the state level. Digital resources are flexible and may be adjusted without significant spending. Academic knowledge is always reliable and up-to-date.
When talking about education, young people usually imagine dull classrooms, desks standing in rows, and a blackboard with formulas. Such environment is associated with boredom and tedious academic responsibilities. At the same time, computers, smartphones, and tablets are associated with fun, entertainment, and relaxation. Why drag young people to an unloved campus if knowledge may be transmitted through their favorite channels?
Technology turns learning into an exciting adventure, makes it brighter and more engaging. It is easier for a student to start doing homework in a convenient intuitive app than sit at a table and take a textbook in hands.
With e-books and video tutorials, less time is spent on note-taking. There is more room for teamwork, group discussions, solving interesting practical tasks, developing research projects, and forming personal opinions.
When collaborating only in the physical space, students often cannot balance the schedules of all group members and organize meetings. As a result, one most responsible person does the entire project. This unfairness should be stopped.
Thanks to digital components, it is not obligatory to communicate synchronously. Each team member may enter a joint chat at comfortable moments, express one’s ideas, share materials found, and report on work done. Since all messages are saved, it becomes clear who contributed to a project more and who did nothing. This simplifies evaluation for a professor and allows students to control lazy classmates.
It often happens that students start doing homework, stumble upon some challenges, and cannot complete a task without a tutor’s support. Several decades ago, it was necessary to wait for the closest lesson to get a consultation. But today, learners may use social networks, instant messengers, e-mail, video conferencing tools to find out answers to their questions and continue working alone. This is very convenient for shy students who are usually confused to ask for help directly.
Professors may publish course materials, exam dates, grades, set tasks and deadlines on a school website or blogs thus saving time for practical work in a class.