Blended learning, also known as hybrid learning, is a learning experience that combines traditional methods of learning, such as an instructor-led classroom setting, with online learning. In a blended learning setting, students learn via face-to-face instruction and by using computer-mediated techniques. This allows learners to have more control over the pace of learning as well as the time, place and content they learn. This environment can enable educators to customize a student’s workload, assist students in the classroom and at home and support various diverse learning abilities.
The online Master of Science in Education (MSEd) in Educational Administration with a Specialization in Teacher Leader program from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) prepares students to build leadership roles while completing the requirements for a Teacher Leader Endorsement on the Illinois Professional Educator license. Students gain a diverse background in instructional and curriculum leadership, professional development, teacher mentorship and coaching, data-driven school improvement and more.
Why Blended Learning Is Important and How it Benefits Classrooms
Changing teaching practices to focus on students learning material at home via online learning tools and participating in class discussions, group work or examining more in-depth concepts in the classroom is a significant shift in education. Part of the difficulty as an educator is arranging lessons and classes to accommodate every student. With blended learning, teachers can work one-on-one with a student while the others do assignments at their own pace.
By devising new blended learning models, teachers can outsource the online content, giving students unrestricted access to content via video instruction. The videos are traditionally short, which enables more hands-on learning in the classroom. This also allows teachers to focus their time on working with individuals or small groups of students. When students learn some material at home, teachers can focus on more tailored instruction and getting the students to collaborate.
Students can take control of their own learning experience and the pace of their learning through each unit of study. Clearly defined deadlines provide motivation and structure within each unit. When students are allowed to reflect on their overall performance and analyze what they did correctly and how they can improve, they are empowered through learning.
Blended learning can be as interactive as the instructor wants, and educators can set tasks and deadlines while discussing realistic solutions. For students to advance to the next unit, they must first show mastery of the concepts and information that was presented in the current unit. In a blended learning situation, teachers will often encourage understanding through reassessment, reflection and revision. Every student will advance to the next unit at the same time, allowing them to learn from mistakes and immediately translate the learning into the next section. Educators can use this type of teaching in K-12 settings, colleges, universities and corporate situations that involve training classes.
SIUE’s Leadership in Educational Technology course will boost students’ expertise in integrating technology to enhance student experiences, including mastery of remote learning techniques. The MSEd in Educational Administration with a Specialization in Teacher Leader online program curriculum includes three courses that directly apply after graduation to earn a Professional Development Certificate in Emerging Technologies in Illinois.
The skills gained in this program also apply to other career paths outside the classroom, such as roles in non-profit development, community outreach, director training and curriculum development. Graduates will be able to understand equity, social justice and ethics related to educational practice; apply knowledge to make a positive change in the lives of students, organizations, families and communities; and use school-level data and research evidence to identify problems and develop meaningful solutions.