The Craft of Blending Learning.
Part 4: Complementing the Blend

Blog post: Blended Learning

In this blog series, Dr. Mark Spokes, explains why blending learning is the right option for many online learning service providers. He describes what features of blended learning are needed for successful online learning and how to best implement them.

COMPLEMENTING THE BLEND

“A person cannot teach another person directly; a person can only facilitate another’s learning.”

BLENDING LEARNING

Blending learning now has the potential to radically transform education, which continues to be dominated by an old paradigm of passive learning. The previous blogs in this series described how online learning can make an ideal base for a specific blend of learning called the flipped classroom, where learners can access direct instruction online whenever and wherever they choose. The last blog also emphasised the need to balance this blend of learning and fill in the gaps that are left in an online model of standardised instruction. The final step in the process of crafting a perfect blend of learning is to identify a method of learning to best compliment this base. It is the technological development that has enabled the delivery of direct instruction online that has really allowed educators to repurpose their classroom time. They can now focus more of their time on dynamic interactions that empower learners to actively construct their own knowledge. However, the success of the flipped classroom still depends on an experienced educator facilitating a person-centred approach with engaging activities and meaningful relationships.

PERSONALISING LEARNING

A rise in demand for more personalisation in education is an unintended consequence in an old paradigm that has turned learners into consumers, thinking more about the return on their investments. It is possible to design online learning to differentiate content and empower learners to work at their own pace, taking ownership over their own learning. Spokes Education provides experienced instructional design, working with subject matter experts, to ensure that online courses provide learners with more choice and engagement.

Innovation in a Fourth Industrial Revolution might bring a further evolution of new technologies that are capable of differentiating learners and personalising support and challenge. In the meanwhile though, online learning still struggles to fulfil expectations for customisation. The self-directed and personalised learning that is typical to online courses at the moment is only really effective if users have developed the advanced skills and experience needed to take full control over the setting, monitoring, and assessment of their own educational objectives. The majority of learners without these skills and experience would still benefit from serious interactions with educators, able to guide them away from mis-educative experiences that prevent development and towards more independent learning. An experienced educator scaffolds the content with the support that each learner needs and works intentionally to remove this support as the content is mastered over time and gradually handover more control to the learner to direct their own studies. These educators are not expected to act like experts covering content that is to be deposited with passive learners. As the facilitators of a flipped classroom, educators host meaningful conversations that help learners to discover and create ideas together on a shared journey.  They also guide learners to uncover their own unique path of learning.

PERFECTING LEARNING

Jon Bergmann, the designer of the flipped classroom, warns that a blended approach will not make teaching easier, but it will make it better. Clearly, the flipped classroom demands more from education providers than the traditional classroom of the old paradigm or a simple online course. The preparation of standardised content to be reused or accessed over and over again is to be replaced with a person-centred approach that requires a significant focus of time and effort if more fulfilling interactions in the classroom are to be facilitated and closer relationships with learners are to be fostered. Educators must be able to curate meaningful experiences for active learning; be ready to respond to the unpredictable needs that emerge in the moment from these learning experiences; and be willing to provide personal support and guidance to every learner sharing these experiences.

Blended learning might not seem to be a simple solution. But it is also good for providers of both online and classroom learning to remember that their experience in one of these environments is a solid foundation to try blending in another. The process of crafting the perfect blend is perhaps more art than science with plenty of scope for experimentation and no single solution. And if even with this in mind, the flipped classroom still seems too much of a challenge, Lisa Dabbs reminds everyone that teaching is always far from perfect. It’s messy and in that mess is where teaching is crafted and enjoyed. The next series of blogs explores this mess in more detail and describes three pillars of a person-centred approach that education providers can develop to enhance both the online and face-to-face learning of the flipped classroom and promise a real transformative journey for education.

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St Crispin Local Centre,

Northampton, NN5 4DR

WORK INQUIRIES

INFO@SPOKESEDUCATION.COM 

+44 (0) 3003 03 07 08

LEKSHMI ANIL

Lekshmi loves listening to music and spending time with her family and friends when away from work. She enjoys dancing and is a pretty good cook!

 

Kyle homer

I spend most of my spare time listening to music and usually plan my weekends around watching live music! I am also a huge Arsenal fan and try to go to games as often as possible, if not I watch them whilst hiding behind the sofa.

I have just finished my MA in Modern History and can often be found with a dull-looking book in hand! When I get the opportunity I enjoy travelling and experiencing new cultures and especially food!

DANIEL MENDONÇA

Daniel has a degree in Advertising and Publishing. He moved to the UK from Brazil to pursue new creative challenges.

Daniel is a DIY enthusiast. He is often painting, wallpapering, changing furniture or just turning his place upside down. He also loves cooking and you are likely to find him looking after the BBQ at a party. 

HAZEL SEPPINGS

Hazel has always been fascinated with creating things in her free time, and you’ll find her working on a painting or creating something from clay.

While waiting for those to dry, she’s either watching her latest tv obsession, exploring the local area, or going to gigs and exhibitions.

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vicky stafford

Vicky is happiest when spending time with her family, especially when exploring the outside!

She is also an avid theatre-goer (especially musicals!), loves a family film night on the sofa, and cosying up with a good book.

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MIA ABRAHAM

Mia enjoys attending gigs and festivals, and snowboarding in her spare time.

When she’s looking for something more chilled, you’ll often find her mooching around a good charity shop.

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EMMA EYTON-JONES

Emma loves exploring the UK and Europe in her campervan and having adventures with her dog Skip.

When she is not away, she can be found playing tennis (badly) or watching a good film.

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DANIELLE MARCH

Danielle loves spending time with her family and enjoys day trips to the beach, watching a new crime drama with a good cuppa and baking for her friends and family.

When time allows, Danielle also loves to explore a new country but believes there are too many great places to go back twice (unless it’s the Maldives!).

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Zoe Barnes

Zoe is a PGCE-qualified English teacher, with experience of teaching in secondary schools both in the UK and internationally. During her teaching career, she particularly enjoyed delivering CPD sessions on good teaching and learning practices, and mentoring trainee and newly-qualified teachers. She now applies these skills to learning design and developing our courses.

Zoe loves to travel and see the world, and has lived in The Netherlands, New Zealand, and Portugal. She enjoys weekly Parkrun 5ks, and the occasional 10k race. She continues to create and share teaching resources with the online English teaching community.

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Emily HARDY

Emily has always had a passion for animation and digital media. After getting her masters degree back in 2013, she’s spent seven years in the industry, collecting knowledge and honing her skills. 

Her time animating professionally has given her a wide range of knowledge in everything from 3D to stop motion!

When she’s not at work, she’ll be at home chilling out and watching a film with her partner, dog, and two cats. Weekends are reserved for pub trips and beer-making!

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Hannah Webster

Hannah is responsible for social media and communications, and will likely be the first person you speak to if you get in touch with us.

Hannah has recently completed a degree in Business and Management at the University of Sussex. She manages our social media accounts and email inboxes, as well as helping out on development projects.

Outside of work, Hannah enjoys socialising with her friends and going out walking. You’ll find her happiest with a large cup of tea and a packet of biscuits.

PHIL HALSON

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AMBER MILLER

Amber is a talented graphic designer and an expert on accessibility. She can put her skills to anything creative, working with the Adobe suite to make courses, materials and collateral look attractive and professional.
 
Amber is involved with the local Autism Strategy and creating the local autism resource website. In her free time, Amber trains her rescue dog, Scout and she also enjoys learning Spanish and coding.
 

GARY FITZHUGH

With 20 years of creative experience, Gary brings a wealth of knowledge and skills in everything design, from print to video and 3D to web. As our motion graphics lead, he brings content to life through attractive and engaging videos and animations.

When he’s not busying himself at work, Gary enjoys long walks with his dog, running, snowboarding and watching an unhealthy amount of YouTube.
 

KAYLEIGH MESSINGER

Kayleigh is formerly a physiotherapist with a background in digital media. This means she is extremely versatile and can also use her Learning Design, Articulate and Adobe skills to work across all areas of the business.

Kayleigh is an English Kiwi, who loves travel and adventure. When she isn’t out and about with her friends and family, she can be found chilling at home with her partner and her cat, Pickles, where she enjoys creating art, reading and baking.

MATT GARVEY

Matt has an extensive background in the service industry enabling him to work across all areas of our business. He works primarily with the development team on Storyline projects, but he also leads our audio/visual work, managing our voiceover roster and producing our AV assets.
 
Matt is an avid reader, who loves queuing up the next thing to enrich his mind. He is also a gamer with his own YouTube channel, where he reviews retro-inspired video-games, as well as being a keen runner and keep-fit enthusiast.
 

CHARLOTTE SIDDALL

Charlotte brings a background in media production and content creation. She is another versatile member of our team, able to apply her skills and experience to an array of tasks, including storyboarding and course development.

Charlotte enjoys watching horror films (despite being terrified half the time), scenic walks around National Parks, yoga and reading whatever she can get her hands on.

CLAUDINO MONTEIRO

Claudino has 8 years of experience as a digital media designer and is an expert in Articulate Storyline. Heading up our development team, Claudino ensures all of our courses are interactive, accessible and functional. He is also a skilled designer and illustrator, so substance is always with style.
 
As a new dad, Claudino spends a lot of his spare time playing with his son. When not doing that, he enjoys cooking (he’s a major foodie) and playing video games.
 

RACHEL MURRAY

Rachel is a former teacher with a wide range of talents. She specialises in learning design and development in Articulate 360. She was our first employee so knows the business inside out and will be able to help with anything you need!

Rachel is at her happiest when spending time with family, reading her kindle, singing badly to loud music or drawing up pretty things on her iPad.