What are the advantages of blended learning?
‘More is more.’ With blended learning you are able to manage learning in large groups. One aspect still includes teaching in a traditional classroom setting, but the other includes providing the students with learning materials and assignments online.
While they get to complete the online materials and assignments in their own time, you can do less work and relax. Yet, it’s also possible to assist learners who are in need of more information. This is one of the main benefits of blended learning.
Set your own pace
Participants can study at their own pace and join face-to-face classes. If they are faster than the other participants, they don’t have to wait for them. On the other hand, if they are slower, they can take their time.
Many would find it difficult to manage their time if they tried to complete a course along side their regular job. With blended learning, you can grant your students in these situations a greater amount of flexibility in deciding when they're going to study.
Reduction in costs
Blended learning requires fewer classrooms, fewer instructors, and no time spent commuting, which means that less money is spent all around.
It’s just fun! From elementary school to university students and employees taking company trainings, blended learning has proven to be more engaging than traditional learning for most participants.
What are the disadvantages of blended learning?
Lack of motivation
There are also some cons to blended learning. Depending on how it's set up, blended learning can diminish the motivation of your participants. Not every blended learning model is suited to every age category, school, or organization. In the same way that you would consider children's reading level when choosing books for them, you need to consider which approach will work best for your users.
If you expect young children to do all their homework and prepare lessons on their computer at home, it might not work as expected. Employees who are used to working with their hands might also dislike sitting in front a screen for too long. As you can imagine, it's important to take these things into consideration when preparing your learning methods and materials.
Basic technology knowledge
Learners need to have a basic knowledge of technology to take lessons and complete assignments online. Your users will get annoyed if they don't know how to access the learning content or use the devices.
If they have to focus on a new system and on learning something new, it might cause a cognitive overload. This is not what you want to happen!
Plagiarism and credibility problem
It's hard to resist the temptation of looking up things on the web while learning from a computer or smartphone.
To prevent this, you could use plagiarism checkers (available online) to see if your students have been copying content from other sources. It's also possible to set up a timer, randomize questions (so each user gets a different selection of questions for his test), or even use secure browsers to block web navigation during online tests or courses.
Blended learning vs traditional classroom
‘Take out your books and read the first chapter.' This is a sentence you must have heard a lot of times. Nowadays, this sentence could be replaced by ‘click on the link and follow the instructions on your laptop.’ The first situation happens in a traditional setting. The second represents a modern learning method. Blended learning is a mix between the traditional (face-to-face) and modern (online) learning method.
Strictly traditional classroom settings are giving room to new technologies. We cannot say that a blended learning approach is better. Nevertheless, there are so many advantages to it, and even the most traditional institutions are adopting it to experience its benefits.