Archive for July, 2013
Over the years there has been an incorporation of technology into the traditional method of teaching to meet the needs of students. Some students have to work and still further their education to be able to meet the financial demands of our times as well as the demands of their employers. To be able to meet the needs of such students, distance or online learning was created. This form of learning takes place solely on line. It is totally the opposite to the traditional method of learning which takes place at a designated physical location. Hybrid learning is the blend of the two.
Online line or distance learning requires students to be disciplined in keeping up with lessons, activities and homework. (THECB, 2000, p. 8) The dissemination of course materials, discussions, and assignments are conducted on line. This learning environment suits students who may want to further their education but are not staying within the parameters of the Institution they want to attend. It also gives them the flexibility they need to study. They have control over the duration for the completion of their courses. The success of this learning environment depends on creating “an effective learning experience” (Bates & Watson, 2008, p. 1). This may be accomplished by the establishment of “learning communities” (Swan 2002) and “discussion forums for connecting students” (Tham, Werner, 2005).
Face to face learning which is also known as the traditional method of learning takes place solely in the classroom. In this type of learning environment, the instructor is the one that transmits information to the students. He uses “lectures as a motivational tool hoping to transmit the love of the subject matter or at least enough curiosity to inspire the student to continue studying outside of the class. (Bates, Watson, 2008, p. 2).
Hybrid learning is a blend between face to face learning and online learning. In this setting, the classroom is extended to include a web-enhanced environment. Apart from the interaction that takes place in the classroom, the members of the class connect on line through chats and other interactive means. For hybrid learning to be successful instructors need “skills … to successfully integrate technology into their curriculum” (Becker, 1999). This learning helps in situations where there is inadequate spacing to accommodate students taking a particular course.
I have actually come to appreciate the value of the traditional method of teaching and the online learning environment because the traditional method of teaching gave me the foundation to pursue my post graduate course. I believe a hybrid learning environment will give any student the benefits of both learning environment.
With regards to these three learning environments is there one that is not meeting the needs of students and therefore needs to be taken out of the educational sector?
Helpful link, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8Wt5aqU2X0. This link shares information about the benefit of using technology in the classroom.
Bates, C., & Watson, M. (2008). Re-learning teaching techniques to be effective in hybrid and online courses . Journal of American Academy of Business, Cambridge, 13(1), 38 – 44. loom, B. S. (1984).
Becker, H, J, (1999), Internet use by teachers: Conditions of professional use and teacher-
directed student use. Teaching, Learning and Computing: 1998 National Survey,
Report 1, 1-31 Retrieved on July 28, 2013
Swan, K. (2002). Building learning communities in online courses: the Importance of
interaction. Education, Communication & Information. 2 (1) 23-49
Tham, C. M., and Werner J. M. (2005). Designing and evaluating e-learning in higher
education: a Review and recommendations. 11 (2) 15-26
Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB). (September 2000). Report on a
study of access to higher education through distance education. Retrieved on July
28, 2013, from http://www.thecb.state.tx.us/reports/PDF/0315.PDF
Why Blended Learning (n.d.) Retrieved July 28th, 2013, from
Over the past few years there has been an increase in the production of technological devices like smartphones, ipads and tablets. According to the NMC Horizon report “… 61% of Americans age 12 and up own a mobile device, and 44% specifically own a smart phone…” (Johnson, Adams, Cummins, 2012, p. 15). The creation of Web 2.0 “not only accelerates the development of diverse communities but also promotes socialization of the Internet” (Huang et al., 2009). Social media like Face book, Skype, and LinkedIn are tools that can be used to access and share educational information on the internet.
The introduction of technology in educational institutions can help implement learning theories like the “Conditions of learning theory” (Gagne, 1985). This theory states that “… there are different levels of learning… which requires different types of instructions” (Gagne, 1985, para. 1). This theory has nine different processes which are gaining attention, informing learners of the objective, stimulating recall of prior learning, presenting the stimulus, providing learning guidance, eliciting performance, providing feedback, assessing performance and enhancing retention and transfer. Children are drawn to activities that they enjoy doing. A good way of presenting this theory to a classroom full of children will be to use game-based learning. These games which are “open-ended … can draw on skills for research, writing, collaboration, problem solving, public speaking, leadership, digital literacy, and media making…” (Johnson, Adams, Cummins, 2012, p. 25). All nine learning processes can be incorporated in this technology.
Another area within which technology can play a vital role is the formal learning sector. Formal learning is “usually characterized by learners in classes being taught by teachers who deliver comprehensive, multi-year curricula…” (Coombs, 1985). This type of learning takes place in a structured setting. The instructor dictates the length of courses and the contents. Formal learning is compulsory and intentional. This kind of learning is usually seen from K-12 grade. By introducing informal learning which is a “lifelong process of learning by which people acquire and accumulate knowledge, skills, attitudes and insights through intention … from a life time of experience” (Schwier, 2010, p. 2), students will feel more responsible for the outcome of their studies.
In order for educators to incorporate informal learning into formal learning Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) can be formed to help teachers learn more about the importance of technology and its benefit. Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) are mainly found amongst educators. The members are professionals who meet on a regular basis to discuss ways and means by which they can improve upon their performance and that of their students. They also share problems pertaining to their classrooms. By sharing resources, the educators are able to find solutions to the problems they encounter. These meetings do not only grant the professionals confidence in their career but it also gives them the necessary strategies to become great at what they do. Educators have their confidence boosted because they know they have a team of colleagues who are willing to help them become better educators.
The vast availability of information out there in the technological world calls for a reform of the way learning is structured. Informal learning will enable encourage students to contribute towards the success of their education. PLCs gives teachers the platform to discuss pertinent issues regarding their students and creating strategies that will help their students become successful.
Coombs, P. H. (1985). The world crisis in education: The view from the Eighties. New
Gagne, R. (1985). The conditions of learning (4th). New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.
Retrieved June 27th 2013 from
Johnson, L., Adams, S., & Cummins, M. (2012). The NMC Horizon Report: 2012 Higher
Education Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium
Shwier, R. A. (2010). Focusing educational technology research on informal learning
environments. Contemporary Educational Technology, 1(1), 90-92.