The future of education seems murky at the moment. A global pandemic has necessitated online learning, leaving students like you wondering how to cope with this new normal.
At the same time, by learning how to function online, you also have the opportunity to open your mind to the possibility of a new type of learning.
Are you willing to adjust to online learning?
Students like you all over the globe are facing the prospect of learning either solely or at least partially online. If you are attending school in person, you are likely following strict safety standards. Either way, the future feels uncertain.
In its Student Voices of America Survey, the National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS) found that 32% of high school and college students surveyed would prefer not to attend school if it would be held solely online.
However, 53% said that while they prefer in-person classes, they would be willing to deal with online classes. Meanwhile, 68% of students surveyed were either “very hopeful” or “pretty hopeful” that their governments, communities, and families will overcome the challenges brought on by COVID-19. There is certainly hope for the future, and there is hope for education as well.
For many, adjusting to online classes has become necessary for health and safety. Some students do face a school year only online, but you might also have the opportunity to learn in a hybrid environment of some online and some in-person courses.
As the world begins to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, this kind of hybrid, also known as blended learning, will become more and more popular and necessary as a form of successful and safe education.
What is blended learning?
Blended learning refers to a formal education style in which students learn through both traditional in-person teaching and online media. Educators who use blended learning give students like you an opportunity to enjoy some face-to-face classroom experiences while also working through parts of their lessons online.
With continued advancements in technology, blended learning has the potential to be extremely successful for your growth as a student. On the most basic level, blended learning provides you with the ability to have more control over the pace, time, path, and place of your learning through the use of online learning.
What are the benefits of blended learning for students?
While blended learning requires some adjustment, you, as students, are often the most adaptable when learning in new ways. Once you grow more accustomed to blended learning, you will likely enjoy many different benefits.
You have some element of control
Since part of blended learning is online, you have more control over some of your learning. You have the opportunity to learn online at your own pace, in your own space, and utilizing your unique learning styles.
If you are a student who gets easily stressed when learning in-person and having to understand material according to specific deadlines, blended learning offers a sigh of relief. You get the benefit of learning face-to-face and then also taking your time to understand material on your own, using online platforms.
Blended learning thus provides benefits to students who learn most effectively in either environment, in person or online.
Technology allows for the personalization of learning
Utilizing online learning, you can also experience a more personalized education. Blended learning allows for you to interact with various types of online learning platforms, as well as learn in person.
Since students can have different learning styles, the flexibility of online learning mixed with help from an in-person instructor helps you maximize learning in the style that works best for you.
Classrooms integrate in-person and online learning to educate you
Blended learning allows for the integration of in-person instruction with online learning modalities, utilizing both in tandem to create a unique learning experience.
This type of learning allows you to experience each lesson in a new way. For instance, after hearing a lecture about a history lesson, you might then engage with the material online through digital field trips and videos.
Your education benefits from both ways of learning, allowing one to augment the other.
You learn how to thrive in a modern, technology-based world
Since you will eventually become part of a modern workforce, the more adept you become with modern technology, the better.
Most individuals will be required to interact with advanced technology in your future careers, so blended learning allows you to become even more accustomed to this technology in school to prepare for those futures.
What are the benefits of blended learning for the quality of your education?
The possibilities of blended learning also provide major benefits for the quality of your education, as long as your teachers are properly supported.
As a student, you’ll find that you have more opportunities to work one-on-one with teachers, and teachers will have more ways to support you.
Teachers can more easily track your data and progress
Since blended learning utilizes technology, that technology can aid teachers in collecting and analyzing data to help you succeed.
Teachers can utilize online platforms to better understand how you are progressing and whether or not you are grasping new material. This will inevitably help you succeed at faster rates and keep you from feeling left behind.
Since you will be learning online, those platforms will constantly collect information about you as an individual, that your teachers can then use to help you on a more individual level.
Technology allows for more one-on-one communication
In a blended learning environment, teachers also have more time and resources to communicate one-on-one with you, not just in person but also utilizing online platforms.
In a solely in-person classroom environment, teachers often do not have the time or ability to connect with each student every day. But using email and educational social media, you can reach out to your teachers, and teachers can reach out to you.
You might even feel more comfortable reaching out using online resources than you would in person, allowing teachers to interact with you equally, even if you’re usually shy.
Costs are lower, and schools have more flexibility and, hopefully, resources
Blended learning also offers an opportunity for schools to save on overhead and staffing costs by meeting in person less frequently.
With more money to spend on student success, your schools might be able to offer different resources than before. Your teachers will have more time to focus on helping you learn in new ways, and you will have more time for other pursuits when you’re not taking your online courses.
This new flexibility will hopefully help you and your school enter into this new normal with new possibilities on the horizon. Even though the changes can be scary, by focusing on the potential, you will have a much more fulfilling experience with blended learning.
About the Author
Chris Everett is a content writer and marketing specialist for the NSHSS, an academic honor society committed to supporting young academics on their journey to college and beyond as they prepare to become the leaders of tomorrow. Follow NSHSS on Twitter or Facebook for more news and tips like these.