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Three Benefits of Blending Learning

Advanced classroom technology is opening up new possibilities and principles for teaching. The technique of blended learning, defined as combining face-to-face and online instruction, is one current trend in advancing instruction. During his Power of Teaching lecture in February, associate dean Charles Graham discussed three benefits for using blended learning: blended learning encourages teachers to honor agency, meet individual needs, and promote collaborative learning.

First, Graham discussed how blended learning honors agency, as it encourages learners “to act and not just be acted upon.” The combination of group instruction time with a teacher and an individual learning with software allows students to take charge of their education. “The essence of designing blended learning is determining what learner interactions will occur with humans (instructor and peers) and what interactions will occur with machines (including static content like text books, videos, etc.),” Graham explained.

Second, Graham described how blended learning functions as a tool to meet individual needs. “We need to look at technology not as inherently good or bad, but as a tool,” explained Graham. “The value that is brought to an instructional setting is how the tool is used and not the tool itself.” With advanced learning software, teachers are easily able to see where students need assistance individually and collectively.

Third, Graham explained how blended learning promotes collaborative learning. He noted that the use of digital technologies facilitates a level of collaboration not otherwise possible. One example of such collaboration occurs when students communicate over a message board online to give feedback on each other’s work despite being in different locations. Thus students are able to learn from each other at any time of day.

While explaining his main points, Graham showed multiple videos sharing teacher and student perspectives on blended learning. Teachers acknowledged the additional effort required for blended teaching, but they were pleased with the effective results. Students expressed appreciation for the flexibility and individuality of the learning software. Graham concluded his lecture quoting, “Future learning systems may not be differentiated as much based on whether they blend, but rather by how they blend” (Barbara, Ross; Gage, Karen).

"Global Perspectives on Blended Learning." In Handbook of Blended Learning, edited by Curtis J. Bonk, and Charles R. Graham, 167. San Francisco: Pfeiffer Publishing, 2006.

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Contact Cynthia Glad (801) 422-1922

Writer: Jessica Godfrey