Blended Learning – Education In The Future?

Blended learningIn a recent issue of ‘Wired’ magazine, Daphne Koller (cofounder of the online-learning platform Coursera) expressed concern about the lack of educational capacity in many countries.  For example, it has been estimated that India will need 1,500 universities to accommodate its growing population.  A major stumbling block in any planning towards this goal is the fact that India is short of 300,000 faculty members.

Daphne Koller’s solution to the problem is a rapid expansion in online education.  In particular, she advocates the development of a blended approach, where students watch lectures at home and use the classroom for discussion.  It has been shown through research studies that blended learning is superior to purely face-to-face or online teaching.

Blended, or flipped learning as it is perhaps more commonly known, has been growing in popularity across the United States, but it is a relatively new phenomenon in the UK.  The key benefit of the approach is that it can generate more time in the classroom to develop understanding.  A major requirement, if the approach is to be successful, is the development of suitable online materials.

I have been actively interested in the flipped learning approach since the beginning of 2012.  At that time I took on a tutoring role with a home-schooled student.  In order to cover the Biology and Chemistry exam specifications I decided to begin producing videos that my student could watch between tutorials.  As a result of this tutoring, I now have complete video resources – link below:

Recently I have been interested in how I could develop a blended learning approach with students in my school.  I have begun to trial the technique with a group of Year 10 students, and feedback so far has been very positive.  Three key issues have arisen:

1. the production of suitable video materials.
2. the planning of effective knowledge consolidation in the classroom.
3. how can I ensure that my students actually do their homework?

Each of these issues require consideration in future posts.  For now I recommend that you have a look at one of the videos I produced for my class – just look under the ‘Resources’ tab on the left hand side of this page, and click on ‘Flipped Learning – Chromosomes, genes and DNA’.

Until next time,


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