Journal Club Article: Bower, M., Kenney, J., Dalgarno, B., Lee, M. J., Kennedy, G. E., Carter, H., … & Hedberg, J. (2013). Blended synchronous learning: Patterns and principles for simultaneously engaging co-located and distributed learners. Electric Dreams. Proceedings ascilite.
The traditional view of learning is of the on-campus University experience is changing, with students wholly or partially participating away from their institution (Gosper et al, 2008). Factors such as lifestyle demands of work, financial and social commitments mean universities now need to find new ways of engaging students irrespective of their geographic location.
“Blended synchronous learning approaches use media-rich synchronous technologies to enable remote and face-to-face students to co-participate in live classes”. The challenge is to provide collaborative learning activities in blended learning to ensure a social constructivist pedagogy is delivered.
Synchronous or Asynchronous?
Distance students have primarily been supported through asynchronous resources such as recorded lectures, electronic documents, discussion forums and course content delivery through a learning management system. But this does not provide vital real-time conversations, so a synchronous and multi-modal approach needs to be delivered.
Media-rich synchronous technologies such as:
- Video conferencing (Skype, Google Hangout).
- Web conferencing (Adobe Connect, Blackboard Collaborate).
- Virtual worlds (Second Life, Minecraft).
Learning: Student Tasks
- Collaboration evaluation.
- Group questioning.
- Class discussion.
- Problem solving.
- Role play.
- Collaborative design.
- Extensive preparation.
- Clear instructions.
- Student preparation.
- Support staff.
Pro’s of Blended Learning
- Equity of access.
- Flexible course.
- Technology aids work ready skills.
- Continues a collaborative approach to learning.
- Preparation for student and teacher to be prepared, don’t assume everyone is tech savvy.
- Minimal software requirement, which may add to costs.
- Broadband can effect user experience in the online learning world, may disrupt teaching sessions.
- Capturing real time and ensuring quality online delivery.
- Difficult to manage remote and face-to-face demands on the teacher (may need a support person to manage the online world).
Blended learning can provide a synchronous learning experience that allows the community of practice to continue. Resources are needed for the technology, training and supports required to deliver a quality education program. The question of relevance in the vocational setting such as healthcare needs to be researched to question if blended learning can really replace hands on training and if nurses are actually ready for this approach.
Bower, M., Kenney, J., Dalgarno, B., Lee, M. J., Kennedy, G. E., Carter, H., … & Hedberg, J. (2013). Blended synchronous learning: Patterns and principles for simultaneously engaging co-located and distributed learners. Electric Dreams. Proceedings ascilite.
Nursing Education Network (2016) Blended Learning