Helpful resources for practice

During the implementation of the blended learning pilots, a specially developed course environment was used by the pilot participants. This course environment was equipped with several helpful resources to enable pilot participants to design, develop and evaluate their education. It is critical to use validated and / or proven resources to guarantee quality. Below a selection and explanation of these useful resources for practice.

Designing effective blended learning requires knowledge of pedagogy, content and technology as well as the ability to put this knowledge into practice in a coordinated manner. This is the TPACK framework’s rationale. The essence of the TPACK framework is how teachers’ understanding of technology, pedagogy and content interacts with each other to produce effective teaching with the support of technologies (Mishra & Koeler, 2006). The complex interplay of three primary forms of knowledge are at the heart of the TPACK framework: content (CK), pedagogy (PK), and technology (TK). The TPACK approach goes beyond seeing these three knowledge bases in isolation by emphasising the kinds of knowledge that lie at the intersections: pedagogical content knowledge (PCK), technological content knowledge (TCK), technological pedagogical knowledge (TPK), and technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK). To effectively integrate technology for pedagogy around specific subject matter requires developing sensitivity to the dynamic, transactional relationship between these components of knowledge.

TIP: This Self-Assessment questionnaire (Mishra & Koeler, 2006) enables you to focus on important areas of your development so that you can evaluate your knowledge in these areas.

Blended Learning Adoption
Even if your motivation and knowledge are correct, there may still be barriers impeding your ability to take advantage of the full potential of blended learning. Your environment also impacts this. The institutional Blended Learning adoption checklist (Graham, 2015) can help you gain insights into the most important characteristics of your environment.

TIP: Ask a few colleagues to fill in the institutional Blended Learning adoption checklist (derived version of the checklist of Graham, 2015) so that you can discover similarities and differences in your responses and together determine possible next steps to benefit more from blended learning.

Blended Learning Design
It sounds simple; design online and face-to-face activities in such a way that they are complementary and mutually reinforce each other. In practice, however, this not as easy as it sounds. It requires craftmanship and support from resources that work.

TIP: Use this Blended Learning (re)design template (Terbeek, 2020)to safeguard the alignment of learning objectives, learning activities, testing activities and applied tools.

Estimate Course Costs

What does blended learning cost? This cannot be answered simply. It depends a lot on what you want to develop. For instance, a knowledge clip will cost substantially less than a complete e-learning module, and significant savings can be made by using existing materials (such as open educational resources) rather than completely (re)designing everything yourself. Practice teaches that it is important to make costs transparent so that they can be compared with (educational) revenues. Costs can best be expressed in time; how many hours does each (preparatory) activity cost? And how many hours must be spent on this if the course is offered again?

TIP: This Estimate Course Cost (ECC) model (Terbeek, 2019) helps you to establish important insights for both. It also supports your time management as a teacher and helps you to have a conversation with your managers on how much time it takes and whether it is worthwhile continuing with certain blended learning activities when it comes to targeted choices for educational innovation with ICT.

Student evaluation
Evaluating your lessons is essential. However, it is difficult to know what questions to ask your students. The challenge is to understand how to design and provide effective blended learning that will facilitate deep and meaningful approaches to learning. How students experience the designed course is central to the Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework. The rationale of the CoI framework is that higher education is both a collaborative and individual learning experience (Garrison & Vaughan, 2008). The CoI framework merges the shared and private worlds, is coherent and informs the integration of face-to-face and online learning (Garrison and Vaughan (2008). In a Community of Inquiry, the learning process is supported by the interaction of the teaching, social and cognitive presences.

Teaching presence
Teaching presence is the effort and activity around the design, facilitation and direction of cognitive and social processes in learning communities to foster inquiry to, in turn, realise personally meaningful and educationally worthwhile learning (Vaughan, Cleveland & Garrison, 2013).

Social presence
Social presence refers to establishing and sustaining a climate that supports open communication and cohesion. Students in a CoI must feel free to express themselves in a risk-free manner and be able to develop personal relationships to gain a sense of belonging within the community (Garrison & Vaughan, 2008). Understanding the role of social presence is essential in creating a CoI and designing, facilitating and directing higher-order learning. Creating a climate for open communication and building group cohesion is essential for productive inquiry (Garrison & Arbaugh, 2007).

Cognitive presence
Cognitive presence is about planning activities that support systematic inquiry, discourse and reflection. Cognitive presence is fundamental to the inquiry process, which includes the integration of reflective and interactive processes (Garrison & Vaughan, 2008).

TIP: Use this validated (CoI) Survey for student evaluation