Blended learning has quickly become a popular teaching strategy in career and technical education (CTE).
Blended learning combines multiple teaching techniques, learning styles, and delivery methods.
It’s a great way to overcome common challenges you face in the classroom, such as student engagement and diverse student needs.
However, knowing how to turn your existing class into a blended environment isn’t an easy task. Especially for a CTE teacher who has little teaching experience and no one to turn to with questions.
So how can you use blended learning in your classroom?
These 6 blended learning strategies will help you create the perfect learning environment:
Now that you know what the strategies are, let's dig into how you can use each one!
Blended learning requires you to use different types of instructional materials and resources. While it may be tempting to stick to your main textbook, you’ll need more than that to shake up your classroom!
By using several resources, blended learning will come naturally and easily. Along with your textbook, try supplementing your lessons with digital curriculum, free resources from the Internet, eBooks, and test prep materials.
A typical day in a blended classroom could look like this:
Each day will be a little bit different as you mix up the use of each resource. Some concepts may be best taught from a textbook, while others are better covered by a digital curriculum.
Finding which materials work for which topics is just the first step!
Since CTE courses have both standard lessons and lab work for learning skills, you have an opportunity to try a few extra things with technology.
Some topics can best be taught by showing a video, such as how blood travels through the body. After that, you could instruct your health class to discuss the video online through social media or a digital teaching tool you have.
However you decide to include technology, keep in mind that it should have an applicable purpose to your classroom.
Don’t add it just to have it!
If you’re new to blended learning, you have a golden opportunity to use different teaching techniques to help your students. You may be surprised to see your students’ reactions to a new technique!
One approach to try is differentiating your lessons. Differentiated instruction is a more specific technique of varying your instruction to meet the needs of your individual students. With differentiation, you could have three versions of a lesson based on students’ performance in the classroom.
Another great teaching technique is flipping the classroom. In essence, flipped learning means students do typical classroom work at home. This leaves class time open for teacher-led discussions, projects, and hands-on skill work.
While trying a new method like flipped learning can be intimidating, many CTE teachers have great success with it! You can too — all you have to do is start!
While new techniques is an important blended learning strategy, don’t dump your old ones! Student-centered techniques are a must, but you’re still the most important person in the classroom.
Traditional lectures still have a place in a blended classroom. A lecture with an accompanying PowerPoint presentation is a great way to introduce a new concept before you try flipping or differentiating the class.
Also, a good classroom discussion is an irreplaceable part of an effective classroom. Your students can explore a topic more in-depth with a discussion that you facilitate.
While it’s not exactly a teaching strategy, varied assessments are crucial to successful blended learning. If you plan to mix up your instructional materials and teaching style, it’s only natural to mix up how you measure student comprehension.
So how can you add more variety to your assessments? Here are a few ideas:
Another blended learning strategy to explore is mixing up how group work is done in (and out) of the classroom.
If your students are working on a group project such as a presentation, have them start out meeting up in class. Once the groups are settled, encourage them to use tools like Google Apps for collaborating outside class time.
By including online collaboration for group work and discussions, you provide a different way for students to interact with each other. Plus, online collaboration is an important skill they will need once they are out in the working world.
Now that you have some ideas for blending your classroom, how can you apply them?
At Applied Educational Systems, we provide digital curriculum to be used in a blended learning classroom.
The programs are for health science, business education, computer applications, and career readiness courses. With each program, you get a blended learning resource that’s easy and effective.
Learn more about our programs and how they can help you with blended learning!