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Advantages of blended learning experiences

In what follows, we will look at the main advantages of blended learning experiences, with particular focus to the context of tertiary education. So what are the main benefits of blended learning?

  • It saves time spent in-class, as students physically meet their instructors and the learning group only periodically. It is worth remembering, though, that this does not imply that there is less time spent with actual learning (on the part of the students) and preparing materials and offering learning experiences (on the part of the tutors);

  • Its flexibility: as students have a certain degree of control over the time, place and pace of their work, blended learning enables students to access teaching materials from anywhere at any time;

  • It allows access to resources and materials that meet students level of knowledge, their interest and course requirements. This is particularly important in contexts where learning materials (coursebooks, core theoretical literature, research articles, etc) are hard to find or impossible for participants to buy;

  • It allows self-pacing, as students may work independently on online lessons, projects, and assignments at home or elsewhere. This supports both slow and quick learners' development, as it provides a stress-free envrionment and students get more satisfaction;

  • Paradoxically, it allows for more interaction betwen learners and instructors through the use of discussion boards, question and answer forums, chat rooms and emails; On the other hand, in traditional classes where the time allowed for student talk can be rather limited;

  • It gives opportunities for communication for shy or more reserved members of the class, or for those who simply need more time to ponder over certain issues. In a sense, it also embodies the principle of „increased wait time" after teacher's questions;

  • Learners have the opportunity to track their own progress, therefore it enhances learner autonomy and it encourages students to take responsibility for their own learning;

  • It promotes computer literacy by requiring learners to actually use the latest technologies on a daily basis;

  • It may develop the quality of teaching, as instructors need to rethink their approach to teaching in the a computer-technology based frame, to develop materials and tasks suitable for the new medium of instruction and to reflect on the results;

  • It may develop the quality of learning, as students have more time to complete some tasks and they may take more risks in interacting with each other than in a traditional, face-to-face context;

  • It is less expensive to deliver than traditional, face-to-face classroom instruction.