5 Big Benefits of Blended Learning for CTE Career Clusters
Working with CTE teachers, many of whom have come from careers in the business industry or have a nursing background, we get many questions about technology in the classroom.
Some of the more popular questions sounds a bit like “Why should I try blended learning in my classroom?” and “How can blended learning and technology help me teach better?”
Here we'll talk about these five benefits of blended learning for CTE:
- Increased student engagement
- The fun factor
- Better teacher flexibility and time management
- Cost savings for your program
- Performance assessments in the classroom
But First… What Is Blended Learning?
Before we jump right into the benefits, let’s take a step back and get a quick refresher. Blended learning combines traditional face-to-face instruction with online learning, in-class learning stations, or flipped classroom models.
If you aren’t quite sure what blended learning should look like in your classroom, read this post: Blended Learning in CTE: What it Shouldn’t Be
Now let’s dig into those benefits!
1. Increased Student Engagement
A concern CTE teachers constantly face is keeping students engaged. One of the major benefits of blended learning is increased engagement. When students are interested in what they’re learning and stay focused, they are likely to absorb and retain more content.
Think we're making that up? According to a Center for Digital Education study, over 70 percent of teachers employing blended learning for their classes saw improved engagement with this learning approach. Blended learning allows teachers to deliver instruction in different ways, thereby eliminating monotony and boosting students' interest.
2. The Fun Factor
This advantage goes hand-in-hand with benefit number one: There’s no better way to engage students than to make learning fun. One of the advantages of blended learning is the way it keeps students interested and focused on learning. With blended learning, you can incorporate games, interactive learning activities, and visual demonstrations that add variety and appeal.
Likewise, you can incorporate video and audio into your lessons and even allow you students to use webcams and mobile devices to complete assignments. Each of these options can make learning even the most mundane topics much more fun.
Don't forget, fun is only the first part of the equation. The ultimate goal is to make your students more interested so they are more likely to pay attention and learn.
3. Better Teacher Flexibility and Time Management
Time is a huge challenge for CTE teachers, especially when you are restricted by a one or two hour class limit.
Add to that the needs of your diverse learners, which are very common in CTE courses, and you have a stressed teacher with some students struggling while others move ahead.
Incorporating digital learning options can help make your lessons more efficient and free up time for focusing on problem areas and giving your students one-on-one help.
Picture this scenario:
Some students work with digital learning tools to increase comprehension, practice skills, or take tests and quizzes (which are automatically graded).
Across the room, you can give one-on-one attention to students who are struggling with concepts and need a little extra help.
Doesn’t that sound like a dream? Also, allowing students to use digital options for skill practice gives you more time to focus on teaching your class more complicated concepts, answering questions and aiding in problem solving. With blended learning, you have the tools to teach multiple learning styles simultaneously and help your students succeed, while not wasting any time.
4. Cost Savings for Your Program
Educational books, equipment, and materials can really add up - especially for CTE courses. Often, students need not only textbooks but also workbooks, lab manuals, and learning aids. While blended learning doesn’t eliminate these costs entirely, it can help reduce them.
Using ebooks and digital curriculum materials can help lower textbook, printing, and supply costs significantly. According to "The Costs of Online Learning," by Tamara Butler Battaglino, Matt Haldeman and Eleanor Laurans, blended learning can save schools nearly $3,000 on average per student. Can you imagine!?
5. Performance Assessments in the Classroom
Blended learning offers many options when it comes to performance assessments in the classroom. Teachers often find it useful to employ tools that organize student data, including grades, and provide progress reports throughout the semester or school year.
These tools allow teachers to assess student performance, keep track of learner trends, and give timely feedback to students.
Some blended learning tools makes it easy to evaluate progress at a glance and choose the best course of action for meeting each student’s educational needs. Based on this information, you can decide when students need more help, when they are ready to move ahead, which traditional or e-learning methods work best, and when to try a new method.
Have these Benefits of Blended Learning convinced you to try it out?
If you’re evaluating educational options for your classroom, consider this: The United States Department of Education reports that blended learning offers advantages over both traditional and online educational approaches. If you’re still on the fence after that, you may want to check out these articles:
- Paradigms that Screw Up the Benefits of Blended Learning
- A Beginner's Guide to the Benefits of Blended Learning in CTE & Elective Courses