Blended learning combines in-class, face-to-face instruction with learning via electronic media in a purposeful and complementary way to enhance student engagement. (Garrison and Vaughn 2008).
Improved student engagement is achieved by focusing on in-class interaction to promote active and collaborative learning, and minimizing or eliminating the passive transmission of information.
Blended models can be understood as a reversal of the norm: instead of transmitting information via lectures and having students do homework activities to synthesize and apply their learning, students acquire information "at home" (online) and engage with their peers in in-class activities to integrate and apply learning.
In addition to enhancing student engagement, benefits associated with blended models include:
- Flexibility for students – learner-centred approach allows students to learn at their own pace online, review complex concepts;
- Better integration of teaching and research – instructors are freed up in class to explore a research perspective, discuss case studies, pose a provocative question.
Although the delivery method is different, the learning outcomes for a blended course are intended to be consistent with those for a fully face-to-face version of the course (or fully online). Similarly, while the nature of the learning hours may be different, the number of student learning hours should be the same.
Blended course delivery format, comprising of approximately 20-80% online and blended instruction, combines the best of both teaching methods. How does this work? Instead of coming to the campus for every class you will now be attending alternating classes or attending a customized on-campus schedule set by your instructor. This set up allows you to reduce your on-campus visits. The remainder portion of the course is delivered through an online course website. At this first class the course instructor will provide information about the academic online component. Courses via blended format can be viewed by first going to the York Courses Website. Next, click on eLearn Courses category and choose "Blended online and classroom (BLEN) courses".
Blended courses may include:
- In-class and online academic information e.g. text-based/multi-media presentations of course materials including audio, video and graphics
- In-class and interactive assignments and quizzes
- Easy access to instructors and professors, e.g. in-class, by phone, by e-mail
- In-class and online discussions/chat rooms
- Course outlines that provide Next Steps
- Updated links to relevant sites