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Combining Blended and Individual Online Learning

Following up the article on “Dangers and challenges of Education 4.0”, this is one more article inspired by the research Eurospeak Limited conducted for the first project result of the EU Play project: “The Teachers’ Education 4.0 Guide”. 

As the 4th Industrial Revolution came knocking on our doors and technology became more advanced than ever, education was forced to take on new challenges and come up with different solutions to prepare students for the competitive labour market. Spurred on by the COVID-19 pandemic, teachers and educators had to adapt to the new environment and find ways to keep students engaged in the learning process. Face-to-face learning suddenly switched to virtual, with students having easier access to the Internet and plenty of content at their disposal. 

COVID-19 has, amongst other things, shown us the importance of technology and its usefulness in many fields, one of the most significant ones being education. As Mcdaniel (2022) explains, “online courses are those in which at least 80 percent of course content is delivered online,” and “between 30 and 80 percent of the course content is delivered online with some face-to-face interaction.” This being said, it is safe to say blended learning has become more popular in recent terms, with many learning platforms supporting the combination of a personalised approach to students’ interests and hybrid platforms delivering content of all kinds. The two, even though they are not the same, deliver the best results when it comes to adapting to the needs of today’s students. Blended learning offers “the best of both worlds: traditional classroom encounters with online tools and learning paths” (Lynch, 2019), but is also the best stimulant for personalised learning when implemented accordingly. Lynch (2019) further goes to explain that blended learning is simply a vehicle and “a way in which information can be shared by educators and learned by students.” Using this approach enables teachers to share materials with students, who will further explore the strategies that best work for retaining and collecting information to boost their knowledge. This is where online learning platforms come into play, with dozens of them now at the disposal of students who can deliberately choose the approach that best fits their needs and preferences. 

The Tech Advocate article from 2018 points out a few learning tools that can be used alongside the classroom, and can still suit students’ preferences for individual learning. Some of the most used and best reviewed ones include apps such as Edmodo and Khan Academy, the first one acting as a collaborative platform between students and teachers which integrates various interactive simulations, and the second one offering hundreds of video lessons on various topics that students can use to prepare for a more interactive class. There are multiple online course applications out there like Udemy and Coursera that encourage personalised learning, as well as apps that gamify the learning experience outside and inside of the classroom, the most recommended ones being Kahoot, Gimkit, and TinyCards. 

With all of this in mind, we can conclude that there are multiple options that can be used to support a combination of personalised and blended learning. Using online tools to broaden knowledge and prepare for face-to-face discussions in class enables students to receive personalised approaches when it comes to both their relationship with teachers and with technology as well. 


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