The digital age has disrupted and transformed the way we work and the way we live our lives. The technology available today has also changed the way we interact with each other and process information.
This phenomenon has given rise to blended learning solutions that combine both traditional face-to-face learning models along with digital eLearning approaches. However, it’s not all about watching webinars when it’s convenient to the participant, rather, it’s self-paced learning that’s supported by live training (in physical and virtual classrooms).
What is the role of the instructor in blended learning solutions?
Unlike distance learning programs, blended learning demands active communities that are highly engaged. This is because, without engagement, training programs can quickly become boring and highly ineffective.
While technology might play a significant role in blended communities, the instructor is still critical to the whole process. In fact, they play an important role in building lively blended learning communities.
Active communities in blended learning platforms share four distinctive elements. All four elements are also codependent and act as pillars of a robust blended learning community:
- Participants (who care about the subject matter and want to engage in collaborative learning)
- Semi-synchronicity (to ensure that multiple learners are engaged on the platform at the same time)
- Seamless communication (across discussion groups and chat)
- Exigence (to track and analyze their needs in real-time)
1. Great Planner and Leader
Instructors in a blended environment will still play the role of the leader who encourages learning and participation (over the long haul) with extensive planning. This means that the blended curriculum should have creative instructional strategies and a variety of engagement touch points.
The design of the course should also include built-in resources, accommodate different learning models, and communication tools to build lively communities.
When instructors are proactive and actively lead the blended community, it’s much easier to combine the elements above to engage in data analytics and personalize learning sessions with real-time adaptive adjustments.
To achieve this, instructors must be highly familiar with the following:
- edTech tools
- Communication tools
- Data analytics
2. Course Manager and Data Analyst
While participants will be working on different tasks at their own pace, it’s up to the instructor to manage them, place them in different learning groups, and qualify all learners for the same learning goals.
This means that the instructor will need to leverage the edTech tools available to set up suitable learning norms, checkpoints, and engage them in forums, live interactive videos, and group discussions.
This will also create a platform where the instructor can actively assist students who are stuck. By approaching this role from a perspective of a manager, instructors can effectively manage independent variable learners.
Communication across the platform along with assigned tasks will help track the students’ performance and provide metrics to analyze content engagement. Proactively analyzing students can also help instructors make adjustments in the real-time to fill in the gaps of the blended learning program.
3. Expert Content Creators and Communicator
The blended learning ecosystem will require instructors to be excellent content creators and communicators. This means creating highly engaging microcontent that’s easily accessible in multiple formats like the following:
- Learning activities
- Live lectures
- Video tutorials
Instructors should also create content that encourages participants to engage and discuss the content that creates multiple learning opportunities. It’s important because the success of your blended learning initiative will depend on the engagement.
To improve communication and engagement, instructors can take advantage of tools like T2K|Echo that enhance communication and collaboration. As this cutting-edge social learning tool is also insight-driven, adapting the course to better suit the learner in real-time will be a seamless experience.
As blended learning evolves, you can expect it to become more creative and engaging, driven by data analytics. However, the role of the instructor will always be at the core of each blended learning module encouraging participation, semi-synchronicity, communication, and exigence.
Tech writer and digital marketer with a passion for all things tech. Follow Andrew @DrewZola.