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Relieving the Skepticism of Blended Learning
posted by: Alana | July 22, 2014, 09:06 PM   

Blended learning is a formal education program in which a student learns at least in part through online delivery of content and instruction with some element of student control over time, place, path or pace.

Notorious for producing amazing results at an accelerated rate, this method of learning is still engulfed by a cloud of skepticism from critics who point to three primary concerns:

1. It pushes students too hard;
2. It spreads student levels too far apart;
3. That "the computer does the teaching;"  

Supporters of blended learning dismiss these critiques saying that self-paced education will become the standard in a technology-driven world. To counter these arguments, they say:

1. If teachers don't tell students what pace they SHOULD be learning at, they end up learning at their own natural pace. That way no one gets left behind and no one gets held back.
2. The concern about the "spread of learning" is more about the management of students than it is about the students themselves, and as blended learning develops and matures, many of these concerns are easily solved and even become mute.
3. Teacher-student interaction is not any less a vital component of the learning process in a blended learning approach than it is in a traditional classroom dichotomy. Rather than addressing the general needs of the group, blended learning in fact enhances the teacher-student dynamic by allowing them to cater to the specific needs of individuals rather than the general needs of the group.

As educators, AAE members recognize their responsibility to provide the best possible education for their students. And we know that students learn differently, so a one-size-fits-all learning environment is counterintuitive. According to the 2014 AAE Membership Survey, 65% of teachers would support a blended learning environment where students spend part of their day with a teacher and part of their day on a computer.

While the practice is new in many schools and districts, many teachers are embracing blended learning environments as the wave of the future. Blended learning is not only a choice for parents and students, but a choice for teachers.

Do you support a self-paced blended learning method? Are you involved in teaching in a blendedlearning environment?
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