Blended learning

There are various definitions of the term "blended learning". It is fairly common, as Garrison and Kanuka (2004) suggest, to consider that "At its simplest, blended learning is the thoughtful integration of classroom face-to-face learning experiences with online learning experiences" [1]. 

Blended learning approaches are often considered as a continuum, ranging from mainly face-to-face activity with fairly limited use of technology to the delivery of courses entirely online. 

Whether considering moving to a blended approach, or changing the nature of your current blend, it is important to consider how both face-to-face and online components best support student learning in your educational context. For example it may be more effective to provide some lecture content in the form of short videos which students can access themselves, pause, rewind and re-play, whilst using face-to-face time for activities in which student apply ideas from the content, for example through discussion.

Consider:

  • how you can make the very best use of precious face-to-face time
  • what can be done better online.

Case studies

Many of the case studies on this site cover blended approaches, as they describe different uses of technology in the context of programmes taught primarily in face-to-face settings. Some examples are:

Related tools and topics

A wide range of tools can be used in a blended approach. See our practices and tools and other ideas for practice pages for ideas.

Further reading 

References

[1] Garrison, D. and Kanuka,H. (2004) 'Blended learning: uncovering its transformative potential in Higher Education' The Internet and Higher Education Vol 7, Issue 2 p95-105

 


Practical help

You can contact us with your questions.... plus anything else you want to say.

Planning

You'll need to think about: 

  • The Intended learning outcomes (ILOs)
  • What types of activity/pedagogic approach (online or face-to-face) is most appropriate to address the ILOs eg problem-based learning, discussion, practical work
  • What tools and resources are appropriate and available?
  • Where are your learners located? Can they meet face-to-face? If so when?
  • Time – will activities be synchronous, asynchronous, or a combination?
  • How will activities be sequenced and linked so that face-to-face and online components are integrated and the online does not just appear as an optional or unrelated add-on
  • Constraints eg time/resources. Be realistic. If new to blended learning, start small.
  • Role of the teacher - this may change at times from "sage on the stage" to "guide on the side".