Disrupting classrooms with blended learning

Circuses aren’t how they used to be. Remember back in the day, the same trapeze acts, the lion and elephants, the tightrope walk and the clown? At Cirque du Soleil, you’ll have a hard time taking your eyes away from the events going on the stage. They keep you hooked.

 

If a classroom is designed the same way, learning will become effortless.

 

The biggest challenge for most teachers is grabbing their students’ attention. But once you have the attention, teachers must engage their students too. Only when students are engaged will they remember what they've learnt. 

In traditional environments, teachers aren’t always trained, aware, enthusiastic or have the time to create a classroom experience that accelerates learning. This is where blended learning, when used effectively, can improve both learning and retention in children.

What is blended learning? 

Blended learning is a mix of face-to-face teaching in school and various online modules of learning. It has been found to be effective because it provides a wholesome learning experience, where children can have the best of both worlds. One part of the learning is teacher-led and in the other, kids learn on their own by doing projects or interacting with online materials.

 

According to a study by Blackboard, a company which makes learning management systems and edtech software, 59% teachers reported that students were more motivated to learn in a blended learning environment.

blended classroom

This past year, all schools went online though no one was prepared. There has been no face to face interaction for students for almost a year which means that one crucial component of blended learning has been missing. And because of various constraints like the class size and the need to complete the syllabus, the social aspect of learning took a backseat. 

 

As time went by, children complained about wanting to go back to school because they missed interacting with their peers. They missed the feeling of being in a classroom with their teacher and their friends and learning together. 

 

Even in the after-school world most offerings were either pre-recorded or software based. Neither could fulfill the human need for social interaction.

 

But the idea of blended learning isn't new. E-learning has been around since the late 1990s. Different tools of blended learning have been in use in schools long before the pandemic. Take project based learning or subject based field trips for example.

The state of blended learning

Is blended learning here to stay?

As early as 2012 founder of Khan Academy, Sal Khan mentioned in an interview that virtual education is going to enable conventional education and make it more valuable. This is what Khan Academy was betting on. This was at a time when there was no blended learning and most people thought there was either conventional or virtual learning not a mix of both.

 

In 2020, Google announced a collaboration with CBSE to enable teachers to bring blended learning to across 22,000 schools in India. 

 

These developments are an indication that blended learning is effective and is here to stay. The differentiating factors will be the elements of a blended program, both its online offerings as well as the human elements.

Bridging the gap with Openhouse

To help children become better learners, our classes at Openhouse incorporate unique elements of blended learning based on grades and subjects. Our classes include storyboarding, creating manifestos to help relate to historical events to online simulations that help gamify and understand scientific concepts.

 

The cool student projects help cement the concepts they learn in class. And exams are no time to stress, because we make revision fun with a multitude of quizzes that mimic game-shows, as well as team and individual challenges.