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Blended-learning
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Blended-learning

Blended learning is a term often used to describe the provision or use of resources which combine e-learning with other educational resources.

A key blended-learning arrangement involves e-mentoring or e-tutoring.

These arrangements tend to combine e-learning with some form of human intervention in the learning process, although the involvement of an e-mentor or e-tutor (whose role is performed online) does not necessarily need to be only in the context of e-learning.

E-mentoring or e-tutoring can also be provided performed as part of a 'stand alone' ('un-blended') e-tutoring or e-mentoring provision.

Alternatively, they can be provided as part of an arrangement where 'conventional' offline non-elearning based provision happens to include online tutoring or mentoring services.

This combination of e-tutoring plus conventional non-elearning, although it is a perfectly valid example of blended learning, is the 'opposite way round' to most current blended learning provisions.

The non-e-learnining element of blended learning tends to be the availability of an individual with whom the learner establishes contact online, either as an integral part of an e-learning course, or as a 'support facility' who can be 'summoned' to contribute to the learning process on an on-demand, ad-hoc basis.

Blended learning is typically defined as being a combination of instructor led training and elearning, or a combination of 'face to face' education and 'distance learning'.

As with many things prefixed with 'e' (originally standing for electronic, but eventually more specifically applied to the involvement of computer-based or more recently Internet-based technology) the e-learning aspect of blended learning can often mislead the unwary into believing that e-learning-based blended learning is the defining constituent of 'multi-resource' educational approaches.

Those involved in school education (as opposed to many of those exclusively responsible for deploying predominantly e-learning based occupational training resources) include a whole generation of teachers familiar with the provision of 'combined resource' educational tools involving:

The above, whilst they do not include e-learning, are noneletheless potential constituents of a blended learning provision which are often ignored when most current blended learning provisions (which are essentially 'e-learning software plus human trainer involvement) are being constructed.

Similarly, in the same way that 'non-human resources' which are not e-learning fail to be included in many blended learning solutions, the human resource constutuent of an e-learning-based blended learning provision does not need to be 'high-tech'.

Human resource access in e-learning based blended learning solutions is typically delivered through real-time chat systems or online message boards or email.

However, telephone contact with a tutor or trainer may be just as effective and potentially far more reassuring to the learner.

Sometimes, especially in IT training, learners may be in fact using computers as a training resource in a conventional classroom setting and the computers may or may not be used to deliver e-learning based lessons, but the setting and the presence of a class tutor often tends to prevent the training delivered in this way from being labelled as being either e-learning or blended learning.