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The blended mode is the most relevant

May 28,2020 - Last updated at May 28,2020

Based on our experience with both traditional learning and full-online learning, it has become crystal clear that the best option, for ordinary times and for most learners, is blended learning.

By traditional learning, we mean face-to-face education that takes place, between the teacher and the students, entirely in the classroom and on campus.

Full online education is the one that takes place off-campus, in both its synchronic and asynchronic forms.

Blended learning is that which mixes or “blends” the above two types: classroom and online education.

The problems with traditional learning are numerous.

One is students’ exaggerated reliance on teachers; another is slowness and inefficiency; a third is the time and expense spent on having to commute to campus daily from both near and far places; a fourth is the traditional, even obsolete, tools it employs to achieve outcomes. And so on and so forth.

As for full-online education, especially for younger learners, it also has its many problems; and in the past couple of months we have experienced these firsthand.

One is depriving these younger learners of the on-campus experience which allows them to interact directly with teachers and peers. Another is forcing students to engage in a mode of learning which neither the school nor the culture have prepared them for. A third is the isolation one feels spending one’s time glued to the computer or mobile screen, assuming that the computer and the mobile, and the Internet connection and bandwidth, are fit for all the tasks required. A fourth pertains to the suitability of the home or off-campus setting, especially when several family members have to compete for the same or adjacent spaces; etc.

Blended learning, for most, though by no means all learners, is the better formula. For one thing, it combines the two modes of learning in one: in fact, if blended or “mixed” carefully and skillfully, it offers the best of the campus experience and the best of the online.

Too much of anything, even a good thing, is almost always too much; a mix is most often better.

 For another, it enables learners to be independent but not isolated or alone, and it provides them with the opportunity to have intense interaction with teachers and peers, without being be reliant on them.

It makes use of technology without being limited to it, and it endows students with the much-needed human-to-human skills as well as all necessary IT skills.

Of course, in some situations and for some specific purposes, traditional learning can be a very effective mode, or even solution.

The same can be said for full-online education.

Each of them, in part and in the right context, has its own advantages or virtues.

However, for most learners, especially those who finish high school and are ready to embark on a real campus experience, the blended mode is the best, most suitable, and most effective solution.

When life goes back to normal, it should be the primary, the main, and the most relevant, though by no means the only, choice.

 

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