2018 Course Trend: Backyard Blended Learning
Have you noticed how people’s lives are becoming more personal and authentic? They are resisting, they want real, they want to be present, they want to choose how they live. The old ways, the old structure, are fading away.
Through the internet, we are increasing our self sufficiency through such venues as, online businesses, self-publications, self-expression, massive connections and current information. This independence has instilled confidence and an outgoing-ness in many people. The information, stories and inspiration available online are helping us to build our own worlds, in new ways.
According to the theory of Action Learning (Kurt Lewin), tools can shape our minds and learning and in turn, we can shape those tools through our inquiry and needs. Notice how robust and complex digital tools and software have become when we push the developers for better functionality and results?
With this new sense of self comes demands for personalized learning that is designed to move with us through the learning experience and answer our many questions as we build our knowledge and skills, and shift our perceptions and behaviours.
So how do we design like this? How do we build courses that meet the complex needs of our learners?
I call upon the method of blended learning to apply it in a new way – a more personal way.
Blended Learning Overview
Blended learning is a mix of in-person/live sessions AND online content and activities. It also includes working, networking and communicating online with others, whether in live sessions or posted online discussion forums.
Blended learning has been an evolving method of delivery in post-secondary with the combination of live sessions (aka, lectures) that are then recorded and placed in an online course (i.e. learning management system). Students go to the live lectures and labs AND also access learning materials in the online class as well as connect with other students through online chats, forums, shared files, etc.
The two forms of delivery are leveraged to create one learning experience.
It has been found that blended learning:
- alleviates physical space issues in colleges
- provides flexible learning times for students
- stores vital materials in one place for ease of access, and
- leverages communication and social media tools for connection, collaboration and communication.
Backyard Blended Learning
Taking the method of blended learning and the needs of the independent student looking for a personalized experience, I’ve fashioned an approach called Backyard Blended Learning. Because, the real learning will occur in their backyard, in their personal space – it will come into their homes and workspace.
The experience and application of lessons are so personal it feels like the learning is right beside them, filling the gaps and supporting them as they grow.
Backyard blended learning structures the learning experience in this way.
- It makes the exercises timely and customized to the needs of each learner.
- It provides a variety of tools for students to build their knowledge and test their skills.
- It offers a bank of curated information to draw from, for just-in-time learning.
Visual representation of Backyard Blended Learning elements
In the next series of blog posts, I will further discuss each of the elements in the diagram above.
But for now, let the idea of backyard blended learning sit with you, and reflect on how you can make your course more personalized for your students.
Please, post your ideas and comments below – I would love to hear them!