Blended Learning vs Flipped Classroom: The Differences

Four people sitting at a table looking at a laptop: Blended learning vs flipped classroom
Blended learning vs flipped classroom: The differences

The Blended learning vs Flipped Classroom comparison is a carefully highlighted issue among class instructors and seasoned educators. Anyone who has paid attention to the cycle of education in the past few years would not say classroom experience has reached the end of the road. Instead, it is better to say it is evolving; Yes! Even in developing countries, schooling is different from what it was 10-15 years ago.

In developing countries, digital boards, state-of-the-art classrooms, markers, projectors, and exercise books are replacing blackboards, tree sheds, wooden chairs, chalks, and slates.

The evolutionary change in-classroom experience does not exclude developed countries. They seek to employ digital experience and artificial intelligence to attend to students’ specific strengths and limitations in a classroom. It doesn’t stop here, as this keeps evolving by the day.

Also, online courses and classes have gained increasing recognition. Coursera had a 30% increase in the number of enrollments between March and early August. MOOC providers have doubled the number of visits. In a global situation like the coronavirus pandemic, instructors needed to properly contrast Blended learning vs Flipped Classroom and how it could improve classroom experience and education as a whole.

  1. Blended Learning vs Flipped Classroom: How can I differentiate?
  2. Flipped Classroom
  3. Blended Learning vs Flipped Classroom: Which one is better?
  4. Conclusion

Blended Learning vs Flipped Classroom: How can I differentiate?

Blended Learning

This is a hybrid type of learning where traditional teaching is combined with an e-learning approach. The teacher deals with a topic ‘face-to-face’ in class and employs online aids to enrich students’ knowledge. Unlike flipped classrooms, online instructions and learning do not take the place of traditional instructional methods.

For example, an Anatomy teacher who has explained a topic on the circulatory system can provide the students with online resources, games, and quizzes to help their assimilation of the subject matter. Teachers who employ the blended learning approach in the classroom often identify their class objectives beforehand, offer online resources, and allow the students to expand their knowledge reserve. 

What Are the Benefits of Blended Learning?

The employment of face-to-face methods of teaching alone in the classroom is primitive in modern learning today. The potential and individuality of students are not adequately harnessed hence the use of blended learning methods.

Apart from the flexibility of course modules, one of the significant benefits of blended learning is the reduction of time strain on students. Most times, students endure long hours of lectures. However, with blended learning, teachers assign online resources that reduce time strains on learners.

Blended learning also helps teachers tackle limitations and extreme dependency on students. In addition, according to the research done by Macro Connect, Allied Market Research, blended learning saves about $2,400 per student and reduces energy costs by 90%.

Blended learning vs flipped classroom: Professional Practices in Blended Learning

If you’re a teacher, Making the best choices for your students and the sake of excellent teaching is up to you. The accumulation of these choices will eventually make your students shine.

Know Your Students

It is easy for many software/applications to suggest how to improve a student’s performance. It is, however, delicate for teachers to conclude and make decisions based on the suggestions of an application/software. A professional must encourage face-to-face interactions to know the strengths and limitations of the learners. This is one of the purposes of blended learning.

Keep Lectures Short

If we calculate the duration of course modules, the time spent in a traditional class and e-learning sites is part of one class. You can estimate the length of hours students should spend working on e-learning sites and subtract it from the total time.

Determine your aim beforehand

It is common for instructors to dance around a topic if they use a blended learning approach. It shouldn’t be so. As a class instructor, clearly separate what the e-learning sites and traditional class should achieve in the students. Mixing them may cause incoherence in your approach.

What are the disadvantages of blended learning?

Blended learning, as good as it is, has some downsides. However, this doesn’t affect the credibility of the approach in modern learning.

Elearningindustry.com stated that the technology used in online learning could be challenging rather than beneficial. Some e-learning sites are not user-friendly and may need special training before mastering the sites.

Another downside to blended learning is plagiarism on the part of the students. Finding an easy way out has always been the habit of students, “copying and pasting” other people’s work. Sometimes, they even cite unreliable sources in their works or assessment.

Flipped Classroom

The flipped classroom is different from blended learning. In flipped classrooms, traditional classroom activities happen in reverse. In a blended learning approach, teachers teach their classes, and then students expand what they learn when they get home or anywhere outside the classroom by checking online sources. It is not the case in flipped classrooms; students get information on specific online resources, slides, PDFs, projects, or quizzes that form the basis of their knowledge. The instructor then comes to class and helps them implement it.

For example, an industrial chemistry student will receive an email containing a link to an online e-learning site explaining how methane gas is extracted from crude oil and fossil fuels. The teacher comes into class to show a pictorial diagram or a 3D model that explains what they just read. Then he instructs them to debate on which source of methane gas is better.

What are the benefits of Flipped Classroom?

The significant advantage that flipped classrooms have added to the educational system is their control over their education. Students are not glued to a stereotyped handout from the lecturer, neither are they forced to make efforts that will slow down their learning pace. Depending on the learner, students can read as wide as possible on a subject, thereby making them have an expansive and creative brain.

Also, giving the learners class projects is a sure way of sharing knowledge and enabling interactions between them. When class Instructors do all the talking in class, it restricts the multiple flows of information to just one: thereby limiting the assimilation paths of the students.

The flipped classroom teaching method is now a major recommendation in classroom approach in the U.S. after one of its worst schools recorded a 90% increase in graduation rates in 2011. After a considerable academic decline, the flipped classroom approach was the only method that was tried in Clintondale high school, Michigan. After its use, the failure rates dropped from 30% to 10%, and attendance shoots from 63% to 90%. Also, the graduation rate goes up to a record of 90%.

Blended learning vs flipped classroom: Professional practices in Flipped Classroom

Good communication skills

Being a teacher requires good communication skills, which are of particular importance in the flipped classrooms. You need to have an understanding on an individual level with the students. This means that you’re more of a coach than just a man with the marker.

Teach the students how to analyze information

Since the information in class only serves as a supplement, you should take your time to teach the learners to select the information they digest carefully. In fact, before introducing flipped classrooms, the students should know how to outsource reliable materials themselves. This will save you a future headache in class.

 Highlight the aim of the topics

Communicating the aim of the topic to the students is what a professional instructor should do. It will not only help you move in a straight line, but it would also help you avoid questions not related to the study in question.

What are the disadvantages of flipped classrooms?

Flipped classrooms practically hands over the class progress and intensity to the students. The students can decide to speed up or slow down the curriculum. Since it relies heavily on students’ preparation, the class instructor has to devise various means of motivating them.

Apart from that, the different technological inclinations of the students bring up questions when online learning turns into the bedrock of classroom learning. It means that students who are not proficient in I.C.T. tend to suffer since a large chunk of the Classroom experience gets direction from online learning.

Blended Learning vs Flipped Classroom: Which one is better?

Selecting the best approach for a group of students rests solely on the discretion of the class instructor. Most times, groups and individual differences, preferences, and capacity play significant roles in choosing the best teaching method. You should note that blended learning and flipped classrooms have their benefits and should not be unfairly compared. However, below are some assessments ( pros and cons ) noticed by a seasoned instructor who has used one or both approaches.

Instructors reviews on blended learning

Edtech Review documented an 8% improvement in algebra learning when blended learning is used in contrast to the flipped classroom. This was documented after some students combined two online classes and three traditional classes.

In a case study by the Canadian avalanche association, blended learning increased its participant’s pass rate to 88% compared to 71.4% in traditional classes. The association created a learning management system that would monitor learner’s performance. They conclude that the method will save cost, time, and sweat.

Instructors also believe that the continual usage of blended learning would promote a lack of originality and plagiarism. There is also documentation that students could not express their views easily in blended learning classes compared to flipped classrooms.

Instructors reviews on the flipped classroom

In 2015, Dr. Gundlach concluded that flipped classrooms could quickly improve students’ performance or, at worst, make no impact at all. He stated that teachers usually have more time to attend to the differences of their students, which would make the students learn in their unique way.

In a survey that evaluated 1,089 educators and analyzed their views on flipped classes, 74.9% of the educators recorded that their students were more involved in classes. Also, 76.6% of the educators said their students asked more questions in a flipped class.

Flipped classroom guarantees improvement in soft skills. However, the direction of such improvement is brought to question when the teacher has a populated classroom. 

Since the seriousness of the students determines the class’s progress, it also raises an eyebrow on the evaluation of the class.

Conclusion

In recent times, the benchmark for assessing school and class experience quality is their ability to use various methods to improve students’ memory and cognitive capacity. This includes online learning and every branch under it.

Blended learning or flipped classroom; regardless of which method is employed by an educator, you should consider the specific strengths and limitations of the students. 

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