What Exactly Is Blended Learning?

Posted by The Committed Sardine on

“We've done some posts here on the CS blog in the past all about blended learning. Here's a refresher course, including an article by Jeff Dunn for Edudemic, and a creative video featuring Michael Thompson from Education Elements.”


via Edudemic

We’ve been discussing blended learning on Edudemic for several months but I had been struggling to find a video that helps explain what it actually is and why you should care.

Then I happened upon one of the startups I’ve been watching. Education Elements has a terrific page along with a video to describe exactly what blended learning is, what it hopes to achieve, and what it looks like.

I’ve embedded the video and some helpful snippets of information below. Be sure to check out the page for more information!

Benefits of blended learning

Blended learning allows teachers to do what they do best – work directly and closely with individual students and small groups – by harnessing the adaptive power and precision of technology. The best blended learning approaches use technology to:

- help each student master the content and skills they need,
- allow teachers to get the most out of their planning and instructional time, and
- streamline operations with costs similar to – or less than – traditional schooling.

What blended learning *isn’t*

Simply adding online computer games or videos to a student’s day or homework time doesn’t count as blended learning. Neither does rolling a laptop cart into a school. Nor does it mean that students are isolated at their keyboards with no social interaction.

In great blended learning schools, technology and teaching inform each other. Students alternate regularly between engaging with teachers and peers and focusing on online content tailored to their learning pace and progress.

Exploring the possibilities

The result of smart blended learning is richer and deeper interactions between teachers and students (and between students themselves) than in traditional classrooms. Integrating technology and teaching allows students to fully master content and skills, and at the pace that’s right for them.

Think about it this way: an average classroom sets a “speed limit” for the class – bounded by grade-level standards and assessments – making it hard for some kids to catch up and holding others from moving ahead when they’re ready. But blended learning revs up students’ learning velocity, allowing them to go further and faster. Who knows how far they’ll go?


  1. Eddie Reisch

    This doesn’t really go far enough Darren in my opinion. It still focuses on the classroom/schools/teachers and ignores active participation in the learning by cohorts that surround the learner that include parents, whanau, iwi, experts, tertiaries etc and comprises of two areas.
    1. face to face.
    2. online.
    Otherwise known as synchronous and asynchronous
    I argue that until we get to the situation of active participation in the learning then blended learning as proposed by the video model I have just watched is a tinkering with the existing system and is still focused on the teacher, schools and the system that is in place now.
    Happy to elaborate further if required

  2. American College of Education

    Great read! Maria Sellers, a contributor to American College of Education’s Teacher Blogs, recently posted about this topic:

    “Blended learning presents some obstacles but presents far more benefits that outweigh the challenges. The common obstacles are commonly associated with a lack of experience with digital or online courses as well as a lack of experience with the learning management system. However, these obstacles can be tackled with ease with guidance from the online teacher.”

    Read what she believes are the full benefits of blended learning and the rest of her post here: http://teacherblogs.ace.edu/blogs/3800/22/blending-learning-obstacles-an

What do you think?