4 tips on Blended Learning by educational advisors from the TU Delft
Combining online and face-to-face learning activities into a coherent course that helps students learn faster and deeper than they would otherwise. This is the vision behind Blended Learning.
Blended Learning, it is the new term on the block. Everybody is talking about it. But as a teacher, where do you start?
This is the question I asked Wiebe Dijkstra and Lisa Sipma, both educational advisors and Blended Learning specialists from Delft University of Technology, in the Netherlands.
Below you can find the recording of our interview.
Don’t have a lot of time? Here are the main points:
- What is the bottleneck in your course? If you don’t have much time, don’t start redesigning your whole course. Instead, focus only on what you would really like to improve.
- Starting a new course? Mind the principle of Constructive Alignment: Learning goals, assessment and learning activities should all align.
- Make sure online and offline are well integrated: too often, there is a lack of connection between what students do online and what they do in class. Make sure students see there is a good flow from online to offline and back.
- Be crystal clear to your students: be very explicit about what you expect from them and what they need to do when.
1. Focus on the bottleneck
Wiebe: If teachers don’t have much time, I advise them to not redesign their whole course, but instead, focus on the bottleneck of their course.
Is your bottleneck a difficult topic? Consider offering your students additional videos or exercises they can study at home.
Are your students not engaging with the activities or materials you are offering? Then it probably has to do with the way you communicate your expectations to students.
2. Constructive Alignment: learning goals, assessment and activities align
Lisa: If you are starting a new course or are redesign (part of) a course, you first start by defining the learning goals: what would you like your students to master? What should they be able to do?
Then you move on to the assessment: how will you provide students feedback on whether they already master the learning goal?
Finally, you decide which activities and materials you will offer to your students so they can practice. The activities can be offline as well as online. There you have it: a blended learning course.
3. Make sure online and offline are connected
Lisa: one of the biggest lessons I have learned is that you need to make sure online and offline are well integrated.
When students for example have prepared something online, you need to refer back to that in class. For instance, by doing a short quiz or by giving a small recap.
Make sure everything is in a logical structure and is sequenced.
4. Be crystal clear to your students
Wiebe: the biggest lesson I have learned is that you need to be crystal clear to your students. You need to be very explicit about what you expect from them and what they need to do when.
For instance, send them a welcome email at the beginning of a course.
In the first lecture, reserve half an hour to explain how this course looks, what they need to do and when.
This will make sure the students actually watch the videos and do the online activities. This will allow you to use the face to face time in a different way.
Thank you Lisa en Wiebe from the Delft University of Technology for making the time to share your experiences on blended learning with teachers all over the world!