Implementing a blended learning model in the classroom is a big transition for most schools, so it’s understandable for teachers to have some apprehensions about moving away from the traditional model. However, most educators will agree that incorporating online learning into the classroom has become a necessity.
Blended learning has come to the forefront as one of the most effective solutions for accomplishing this end, but implementing this new teaching model isn’t as simple as putting kids in front of computers. The fundamental ideas behind it are complex and can present a number of challenges when it comes to implementation.
In this first installation of our three-part series about getting on board with the blended learning model, we’ll examine some of the most common misconceptions—especially for teachers—and provide suggestions on how to address those concerns to ensure a successful blended learning implementation.
Blended learning is just another fad.
The blended learning model is still a fairly new concept to most educators. Some teachers have come to believe that it’s just another fad and for good reason. Everyone is trying to jump on the blended learning bandwagon, which has broadened an already vague definition. That’s why the first step to successfully implementing a blended learning model is to have a clear goal in mind for how you want it to change the learning and teaching experience. It’s important to convey actionable goals to teachers and to share your vision for how you plan to use blended learning to accomplish those objectives. This helps to clarify and define what blended learning means for your school.
Teachers lack skill or experience in using technology to teach.
Many teachers shy away from the idea of using online learning technology because, simply put, they’re just not comfortable with using technology. By providing educators with training, tutorials, and access to technical support, you can help to alleviate those anxieties and ensure that teachers have more confidence and greater success in the classroom. By partnering teachers with strong technical savvy to those who are less skilled, teachers can also benefit from supporting each other.
Teachers aren’t sure how to incorporate online learning into the classroom.
There are countless ways that online learning can be leveraged to allow teachers to provide truly differentiated instruction, but that can make it difficult to know exactly where to start. Every classroom is different, and defining a set of hard and fast rules would defeat the purpose of a blended learning program. Instead, provide teachers with a template for blended learning while still allowing them the freedom to modify that template to fit their individual instruction methods. Plan to provide workshops and walkthroughs of how to lesson plan in a way that benefits students. Allowing teachers to work collaboratively and have group discussions about how they want to implement blended learning in their classrooms can also be beneficial.
Blended learning is a way to replace teachers with computers.
A true blended learning model does not replace teachers with technology. Instead, blended learning is meant to make teachers more effective at their jobs and provide students with more personalized instruction. Part of the purpose of blended learning is to enhance the teacher-student relationship. It’s important to ensure teachers understand that they are a key component to that equation and that it takes highly effective teachers to make blended learning successful.
A blended learning model creates more work for teachers and makes their jobs harder.
Some teachers mistakenly believe that a blended learning model will just make their jobs harder by adding more tasks to their daily routine. However, blended learning is actually intended to make teachers’ jobs easier. Most online learning components will actually provide teachers with instant test scores and data allowing them to intervene quickly when a student falls behind and leaving them with fewer papers to grade. It’s important to show teachers what tools are at their disposal and how to use them to their advantage.