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Blended Learning - Where Fresh Ideas Meet Certified Knowledge....By Dr Anil Khare

Blended learning is a way to education which combine traditional classroom opportunities for interactive engagement with internet based learning online, and virtual classroom opportunities for independent study. With some aspects of student autonomy in place, it greatly replaces the need for a teacher or educator to physically be present at a specific location, with the possibility of some elements of the learning process taking place away from the lesson itself. A prime example of blended learning is blended examination, which is based on exams taken in class but which may also be taken remotely via an internet-connected PC. A further example is blended learning in the health care industry, in which training provided to staff in a clinical setting is delivered via online educational opportunities - often with a degree of self-study involved.

Blended Learning refers to any situation where traditional classroom teaching and learning are combined with instruction and practice on the internet, with the possible addition of occasional or continuous interaction in some cases. Such experiences include such things as online textbook reading, lectures, or interviews, as well as virtual field trips and work placements. In educational situations which combine blended learning and instruction online, a teacher can select a set of instructional methods which are based upon the learner's own interests and preferences. These may include things such as books, videos, audio lessons, seminars, tutorials, or interactive games. A teacher can also combine different forms of instruction to suit a particular student, providing a customized experience in classrooms which have as their major focus on the needs of the individual learner.

Blended Learning in the 21st Century It is becoming increasingly evident that blended learning has entered into the mainstream classroom. As technological advances enable teachers to create and deliver lessons over the Internet, blended learning can now be seen everywhere. Many state schools are using webcams in their classrooms, which allow students to interact with each other as they study. Many colleges and universities use webcams to allow remote viewers to interact with the instructor, with the possibility of long-distance interaction growing evermore common in the 21st century. Other forms of educational technology used in the classroom include: computers, laptops, tablet computers, electronic whiteboards, interactive televisions and video monitors, projectors and more.

Blended Learning by Extending Lessons Blended Learning enables a teacher to go beyond traditional in-person instruction. Through blended learning, a teacher can reach across his or her student population, encouraging interaction in the process. Teachers may choose to do group study, group assignments and exams at their own pace, encouraging independent learning. The in-person experience provides the student with a guide, encouraging independent thinking and problem solving skills.

Students prefer this type of blended learning over the in-person experience because of its flexibility and convenience. It gives a teacher the flexibility to reach across age groups with various resources, enabling the teacher to reach across subject matter, developmental levels and interests. A teacher can have students from all parts of the country, attending classes at the same time. Additionally, a teacher can have a virtual classroom, allowing him or her to teach and interact virtually with a student from any part of the world.

Convenience Blended Learning has many advantages over a traditional education program. In addition to having the flexibility to reach across subject matter and developmental levels, blended learning offers a convenience that is unmatched by a traditional classroom. With blended learning, a student does not have to make a special trip to a class building; he or she can access a computer anywhere, anytime, and work on his or her education program at the same time. Further, with a variety of resources at his or her fingertips, a student is not forced to sit in a specific seat, taking up valuable seating space.

Self-Learning Blended Learning enables a teacher to bring in new concepts and approaches to the classroom. It also makes it possible for teachers to use educational technology, such as e-books and computer software, to supplement classroom lectures. For example, a lesson concerning the American economy could be presented using a combination of online videos, webinars, podcasts, and podcasts. Interactive games, worksheets, and quizzes are other tools that allow students to be engaged with the material.

Self-Directed Learning Blended Learning offers a novel solution for teaching. Rather than being limited to a classroom lecture or two, teachers are now able to provide a more hands-on learning environment for their students. This hands-on experience allows students to explore new concepts and gain new skills. Further, as the teacher provides instructions over the computer or the phone, students are left to their own devices and are able to take on independent projects. Independent project projects allow students to apply learned concepts directly and independently. The invention of self-directed learning has revolutionized the learning environment, making it possible for students to move ahead in their education at their own pace.


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