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How can students benefit from a blended learning approach?

Blended learning: what is it? 

According to the Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries, blended learning “is a way of studying a subject that combines being taught in class with the use of different technologies, including learning over the internet.” Basically, face-to-face learning and digital components are combined with the purpose of enhancing the teaching outcomes. 

But what is the purpose of this approach? Including technology in formal education prepares students for life after school, familiarizing them to a business environment in which computers and connected devices are integral to communication. Additionally, people have different learning styles and it is a tough challenge for a teacher to meet every student’s learning needs during a face to face class. However, by making face to face and online learning complementary, learners have access to a fully integrated classroom where the needs of all learning types can be met. 

Also, according to Matthew Lynch, an educational consultant and former teacher, “With traditional teaching methods, educational materials were only available during classroom hours. Students may have been able to take their textbooks home with them, but they didn’t have a way to actually interact with or engage with the material.” The aspect of flexibility is one of the biggest advantages of blended learning, meaning that students can have access to learning resources whenever they want, whether they are in their classroom or at home, in the bus or in the subway. 

eLearning augments the traditional face to face teaching

Thus, as mentioned above, one of the aspects of learning that students are actually interested in is being able to review learning materials whenever they need them, and eLearning enables them to do so. Besides that, students can learn at their own pace, without feeling the pressure of being either quick or slow learners, challenged to adapt to their colleagues’ pace of digesting learning materials.

With a blended learning approach, learners can practice and interact with the learning materials at a pace that is just perfect for them, reducing the pressure, increasing student satisfactions and fostering learning on the long term. 

Another benefit of blended learning is that it encourages engagement, both between the teacher and the students, but also between the learners, fostering connectivity and collaboration, in an educational environment where social learning is vital. Teachers can always stay in touch with the students’ learning progress, focusing more on individual learning, whereas students can be encouraged to ask questions, leading to a deeper understanding of certain concepts. 

Knolyx & formal learning: case study

Knolyx started from the idea of creating a learning environment in which accessibility and flexibility of learning are fostered, as well as a smooth and individualized gaining of knowledge. 

That’s why Knolyx enables students to review learning materials and to access learning resources whenever they need them, while having the possibility to go back through the content whenever they want, so that learning is enhanced.  Once learning materials have been created in Knolyx by the professors, students are invited to join them, which gives them access to lecturing materials that can be referenced by students as they digest information, making the understanding of a specific topic easier. 

Moreover, Knolyx augments the learning process because students have access to rich content, offered to them beforehand, so that they can familiarize with a concept before it is presented to them in the class, making it easier for teachers to introduce hard to digest information. 

One of the higher education institutions that we have been working with is Barnard College of Columbia University, a private women's liberal arts college in New York City. Dana Neacșu, PhD, is a professor of these College, and her collaboration with Knolyx started in 2018, with the purpose of delivering difficult concepts in an interactive way that could help students grasp the information easier and more effectively.

When we first discussed, PhD Dana Neacșu was looking for a way to deliver difficult concepts in an interactive and engaging way, making them easier to be assimilated and understood by her students. Our eLearning platform has helped students to become familiar with the information beforehand, using visuals and graphics as a more engaging way to present specific notions, while automatically adding voiceover to videos, responding to various learning styles. 

What has been the outcome of this collaboration? Students have gained a better understanding of the topics, saying that “similar visual presentations would definitely be helpful to a student learning about a number of topics.” Moreover, PhD Dana Neacșu said that “COVID closed our libraries and universities, but Knolyx opened them again. Knolyx helps us continue our work as educators.”

We are happy to be part of every educational endeavor, of every innovative use of online learning, and of every successful delivery of knowledge. 

Some (final) thoughts

We are all familiar with the traditional face to face classes, and we are happy to see how it is augmented by means of eLearning, making the most of both the classroom teaching and the tools and opportunities offered by an online learning environment, where learning materials of all sorts can be uploaded, and social interaction is fostered.

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