Before You Start
The use of tools
There are thousands of tools for blended learning, and new tools are being developed every day. If you want to use a (new) tool, and you do not know whether it complies with your schools’ policy, you should always note this before using the tool(s). This is different from utilising the functionalities of your institution’s learning management system and the systems that are linked to it; you can assume that those responsible within your institution support their use.
Not all at once
The effective and efficient use of blended learning requires sufficient attention during both the design and implementation processes. Online and face-to-face activities must be complementary and mutually reinforcing. You can start small with this; you do not have to directly develop knowledge clips, rubrics and e-learning modules all at once. You can choose to add an extra element when providing the course again. The use of ICT must strengthen your lessons without weakening you.
It is important to make clear agreements about how much time you have available for designing and developing the resources required for blended learning with your manager in advance.
Science has established that e-learning modules are one of the most effective ways to use learning technology to increase learning outcomes (Terbeek, Cremer and van Klaveren, 2019). This is particularly true for the use and embedding of e-learning modules that are designed by a multi-disciplinary team comprising educational and content experts (and possibly graphic designers). These e-learning modules are developed using e-learning authoring software like Xerte, Articulate and Lectora. The modules can then be opened within the institution’s learning management system, and any marks obtained within the module transferred to the learning management system.
TIP: Designing and developing e-learning modules takes time. Using open educational resources can reduce the time required. If large groups of students use the e-learning module or if it will be used year after year without significant modifications, the benefits of using open educational resources can outweigh the (initial) burdens.
Blended learning makes it possible to spend the time in the classroom differently, especially if students have already been able to view the lecture online (e.g., if it was recorded last year). This is an example of the flipped classroom. The flipped classroom is a blended learning approach where traditional lectures are moved outside the classroom through utilising online videos.This enables more active forms of learning during classroom time (Foldnes, 2016), which shifts the role of the teacher and the students.
Effective blended learning demands not only focusing on the use of technology but also ensuring that it suits learning strategies, course design and instructional conditions, including reconsidering the role of the teacher and the students, and how both actors relate to each other under the blended learning approach.
TIP: Use this blended learning design model when preparing your blended education.
“During my pilot I have experimented with ‘flipping the classroom’.
I had my group of students (around 30-35) form teams and read a (short) academic article about which they had to prepare a presentation.
What struck me was the preparedness of these students to start working on their own.
No comments, they just got to work in a serious manner”.
IXA Blended Learning Pilot Participant
The use of an (e)portfolio to allow students to reflect on what they have learned can help them apply what they have learned to their daily lives. Additionally, it enables a teacher to get an idea of what is (and is not) going well and to offer a more personal education. A student can even use the (e)portfolio to showcase their talents to future employers.
TIP: One of the lessons learned from the IXA Blended Learning Pilots is that it is easy, for example with Wordpress software, for a teacher to set up an environment for working with (e)portfolios and that students find them easy to use. However, working with a website that is open to the entire world is not suitable for this. In another pilot Teams software was used for portfolio purposes. To be able to work in this, students must log in; however, the teacher experienced working in the environment as very cumbersome. More 'traditional' learning management software such as Moodle, Blackboard, Brightspaceor Canvas is better suited for this.
TIP: Learn more about the use of portfolios in educational practice. Consult the products and experiencesof the participants of our IXA Blended Learning Pilots: Hendrik-Jan Trooster (Hogeschool van Amsterdam) and Nienke Eijsink (Amsterdamse Hogeschool voor de Kunsten).
Students learn by giving each other feedback. You can vary the extent to which you introduce structure as a teacher, depending on your learning objectives. There are various tools for facilitating peer feedback, such as Turnitin and LoopMe.
“It has really helped to give ‘voice’ to the students and keep them engaged (and thinking) during sessions”.
IXA Blended Learning Pilot Participant
“I found the course very interesting.
I really liked the LoopMe assignments very much because it gave me space to give my own opinion, and I always thought that was very hard.
Doing this very often made me used to giving my opinion.”
IXA Blended Learning Pilot Student
TIP: Learn more about the use of peer feedback in educational practice. Consult the experience of our IXA Blended Learning Pilot participant Karen Verduijn (VU Amsterdam).
Knowledge clips can increase learning efficiency. The course material is offered in an attractive way. Having questions answered after the knowledge clip helps to get started with the content immediately.
TIP: Utilising existing institutional services can decrease the time it takes to develop knowledge clips. This video details why Nienke Eijsink (AHK) has made knowledge clips with alumni.
TIP: Learn more about the use of knowledge clips in educational practice. Consult the experience of our IXA Blended Learning Pilot participants Jeroen de Vos (Universiteit van Amsterdam) and Nienke Eijsink (Amsterdamse Hogeschool voor de Kunsten).
Virtual reality enables us to put ourselves in a different environment (possibly with other people) than where (and with whom) we currently are. The practical applications of virtual reality to enrich learning are endless. They include dealing with phobias (by experiencing simulations), learning from environments where we have never been before or where we cannot easily get to, examining objects by viewing them from multiple angles or looking inside them. The possibilities really are unlimited, but often unknown. Within a current IXA Blended Learning Pilot, we are gaining experience with how virtual reality can enrich education. This pilot will be completed second half of 2021 by Karen Verduijn (VU Amsterdam), who, together with Luuk Terbeek (VU Amsterdam), will conduct research into the effects of this intervention.