Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Why K-12 Schools Should Be Using Blended Learning

K-12 schools are rapidly introducing online education and blended learning to offer high quality courses by expert teachers. All 50 U.S. states and over half of the school districts have conducted at least one online class for their students. Thus, online learning has, indeed, captured the education industry in a big way. Many U.S. schools, colleges, and universities have started introducing blended learning to offer a unique experience of online and face-to-face teaching to the student community.

Blended learning programs come in various forms and types such as;

1) Teaching through traditional K-12 classrooms and additionally providing access to some learning materials and coursework through emails, thus establishing the system of online learning.

2) Dividing class activities into conventional and online plans through the introduction of Learning Management Systems.

3) Delivering majority of the curriculum online via the Learning Management Systems (Moodle, and more) , with some face-to-face discussions taking place as and when required.

4) Providing online hand-held experimentation due to shortage of teachers.

5) Allowing students to learn online as well as through face-to-face sessions with the teachers.

Instead of completely doing away with conventional classrooms, many educators prefer to conduct K-12 courses through the blended learning process. This process allows teachers to conduct regular classes whilst allowing potential students to register and pay for additional classes over the internet. Moreover, teachers use the popular Learning Management Systems to create classes online. It is a great way of saving up on both time and administrative costs for educational institutions.

Academic administrators don't have to worry about searching for a venue to conduct their K-12 classes, as they can easily use Learning Management Systems free of charge to immediately start a fresh course or a semester. Besides, K-12 schools can use such online platforms to upload all learning materials, course catalogs, assignments, and examination details in real-time. Students can view all course schedules 24x7 as well as download important class-related information, in a hassle-free manner. In case of clarifications sought regarding the classes, they can simply contact the academic staff to clear all doubts. Such is the significance of introducing blended learning in K-12 schools.

Indeed, blended learning has the potential to transform traditional brick and mortar learning to a more dynamic student-based learning experience. It allows teachers to take advantage of a computer-based learning format while occasionally interacting through face-to-face discussions with the students. Academic institutions that can't afford to completely switch over to a modern, digitized learning set-up find this blended form a better way to address the students' demands of giving them free online access to coursework as well as allowing them to give examinations at their convenience.

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