Online Blended Learning in the Cohort-Based Courses Era
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Online Blended Learning in the Cohort-Based Courses Era

In this day and age, when online learning is in trend, many have become familiar with online blended learning. Whether you know it or not, chances are, you have come across this learning method. After all, it is impossible not to in the digital age. As the name suggests, it is a mixed-model of learning online and face-to-face. Although now we can even say, it’s a blend of live cohort learning and passive self-paced online learning.

In this article, we will go over the definition of Online blended learning (OBL), its advantages, types, and importantly its evolution with the advent of cohort-based learning. So stick along till the end for some interesting insights! ✨

Image courtesy: AD Instruments

What is Online Blended Learning? 🤔

According to Teach thought, online blended learning is an approach to learning that combines face-to-face and online learning experiences. Although everyone has a version of their own definition, the essential premise confirms that OBL is a mix of synchronous and asynchronous learning.

Essentially, a section of the course takes place in person, where learners interact actively with the instructor and other classmates. The rest of the course is structured as self-paced that students can schedule according to their liking. Think of the flipped classroom model. It is one of the most popular types of OBL.

To think that OBL is solely for typical students will be wrong, Corporations can and do use this strategy for compliance training to train their employees. Its flexibility makes it a perfect learning strategy for various purposes.

Benefits of Online Blended Learning

Convenient and Flexible

Since some of the portion (advisable 30-40%) of OBL is self-paced, this means that learners have the complete freedom of designing the course(s) according to their schedules. As OBL takes place online whereby learners can participate from the comfort of their rooms. Thus making this a time-efficient and learner-friendly strategy.

Increases Engagement

Statistics show that OBL improves participation. As of 2021, 73% of the teachers in the UK believe that blended learning increases engagement. This is because the blended model incorporates active gamification tactics to build learner interest.

Cost-Efficient

Since the blended model doesn’t require participants to travel for sessions, it reduces both the travel cost and set-up cost of renting a meeting room. This keeps its costs lower compared to traditional face-to-face learning. Also, it is a time-saving method. Keeping all these factors in mind, it means blended learning also has a greater ROI.

Meaningful Social Interaction

The fact that the blended model emphasizes social interaction, more specifically in the form of cohorts or webinars, automatically leads to improved social engagement. People get to share their ideas, work in collaborative ways, and learn from each other. As a result, they end up building healthy relationships and stronger networks.

Models of Blended Learning

Enriched Virtual Learning

This type of blended learning focuses on completing a course online, mainly independently by the student. Although the instructor is available throughout the duration, students are required to interact with them intermittently. It particularly helps with building independent comprehension and problem-solving skills.

Flex Blended Learning

Flex blended model is a digitalized model whereby students – whether in traditional classrooms or online – have to complete tasks on computers. It is flexible as students can work on the tasks at their own pace. Students also have the choice of working independently or collaboratively in this model. Again, this model also improves independent learning.

Flipped Classroom Model

Flipped classroom model is pretty famous out of the lot. It equally divides self-paced study and instructor-led study. Usually, students are provided with reading material which they go through on their own and then meet up with peers and instructors to discuss the contents later.

Station Rotaton Blended Learning

The station rotation model allows students to rotate between stations according to fixed schedules. Stations refer to learning environments. These can be an individual sitting with the instructor, online independent learning, and a collaborative project with peers. In this manner, station rotation acts as a complete learning model that develops independent and group working skills.

Project-Based Learning

The project-based model requires learners to work as a team and coordinate with each other to complete a project. Participants learn to understand the ethics of working with others and come to respect the work boundaries of others. This way they learn some essentials of professional life. Although an expert is available for advice, learners are required to work independently.

Mastery-Based Blended Learning

In this model, students learn to progress as they master the content. Unlike with other models where students work in a fixed time frame, here the sole focus is subject/skill mastery.

Online Blended Learning in the Cohort-Based Course Era

Cohorts are in season and they are here to stay! With the world settling in with online learning, cohort-based courses are preferred by both students and teachers alike. But what is the relevance of online blended learning in the worlds of cohorts?

OBL and cohort-based courses are a perfect match. Let me explain. The cohort model is already a type of blended learning where students and teachers work in a live group setting. Like OBL, cohorts also blend together traditional classroom teacher-led learning with independent and collaborative learning. Essentially, cohort-based courses are a type of online blended learning as well.

Besides just being acquainted with the relevance of the cohort-based model and OBL, it is equally important to familiarize yourself with the right kind of LMS that enables users to make use of these models together.

Teachfloor is the answer to all your queries. It comes integrated with Zoom for seamless webinar hosting. Moreover, teachers/students can record their live sessions for later use. Teachfloor also has Discussion boards and Peer review options through which learners can interact efficiently with each other and give constructive feedback on each others’ performance.

Along with that, teachers can design curriculum using Curriculum builder and monitor student performance using Student report. Teachers have the option to take online assessments, quizzes, and upload textual materials as well. It acts as an all-in-one package for instructors and learners.

online blended learning

Conclusion

Online Blended Learning is the perfect balance between instructor-led and independent learning. To make the most of this model, one needs to be aware of a few tips. Before setting for an OBL model is it vital to analyze the contents of your course. This will help you understand whether OBL is even complaint with your course type. Secondly, identify your learners and their expectations to know which model they will prefer best for learning. Thirdly, gradually build your course according to the online blended strategy for a smoother well-applied transition. And finally, perhaps most importantly, choose your LMS wisely.

Read also: The evolution of online education: from MOOC to Cohort-Based Courses

Written by
Atika Qasim
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