Tag Archives: Blended learning

Blended learning is not all they say it is

3 maio
Image courtesy of [Salvatore Vuono] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of [Salvatore Vuono] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In the 21st century, with the popularization of the internet, online learning has grown as an educational option. Academic institutions from all over the world have online programs, and as technology improves, so does the possibilities for education. Despite the common belief that blended learning is more effective than traditional learning, there is no actual proof that e-learning is indeed better. I agree that blended learning provides some positive effect on learning, but not to the point where it becomes more effective than the traditional method.

Actually, Bowen, Chingos, Lack and Nygren’s research (2012) shows that the results of both approaches are essentially the same, even with the flexibility of online training. Their research measured the learning outcomes of randomly assigned students on both online and traditional courses and found no significant differences between them. Furthermore, Shawna Strickland’s research revealed that students in “hybrid classrooms are more frequently confused regarding course requirements” (ScienceDaily, par. 5), which shows one of this method’s weakness.

            Apart from the arguments presented in the two researches, I may add that without the professor’s face-to-face evaluation of discipline and focus, both essential for learning success, and his ability to push his alumni, the students’ motivation may decrease, leading to frustration and possibly dropping out of the course altogether. This is an important fact to be considered before taking the budget from face-to-face class and using it to invest in a type of learning that might fail.

On the other hand, as stated beforehand, ever since the popularization of the internet in the early 2000s, thanks to the price reduction of personal computers and internet-accessing gadgets, the middle class gained access to a new world of easily attainable information. This fact led to the common belief that this technology can be used in every aspect of life, including learning. Nevertheless, online learning is not as inclusive as believed, because even though the prices of internet and related gadgets have decreased, the larger portion of society still lives without such privileges. Considering that humanity spent centuries to have a non-elitist education, it would be a regression to depend on restricted resources.

Learning is a long-term commitment that requires patience and perseverance to fully grasp the knowledge. All points considered, it is reasonable to assume that blended learning does provide some positive effects on learning, but not to the scale where it becomes more effective than the traditional method.

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Bowen, William; Chingos, Matthew; Lack, Kelly and Nygren, Thomas. “Interactive Learning Online at Public Universities: Evidence from Randomized Trials”. Ithaka S+R, May 22 2012. Web. 20 Apr. 2013 <http://www.sr.ithaka.org/research-publications/interactive-learning-online-public-universities-evidence-randomized-trials&gt;.

University of Missouri-Columbia. “Effectiveness Of Traditional And Blended Learning Environments.” ScienceDaily, 22 Sep. 2008. Web. 20 Apr. 2013. < http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080922155902.htm&gt;

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