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Keith Kirkwood is an Academic eLearning Advisor in the Blended Learning Unit. Keith comes from a previous background as Lecturer in the Student Learning Unit at VU, where he developed the social learning platform SNAPVU and established the peer-assisted writing centre, the Writing Space, in the VU Learning Commons.His experience with eLearning goes back to early postgraduate work in computer-assisted language learning at The University of Melbourne. His main practical and research interests are in developing peer, participatory, and collaborative learning potential in students and in developing vibrant online learning communities.

Demystifying blended learning

 

The first thing everyone seems to ask when gathered in a room to discuss the possibilities of blended learning is, what does ‘blended learning’ mean exactly? Many teachers approach this question with a degree of trepidation, it seems, as if the idea of blended learning is perceived as a kind of nebulous threat to their teaching practice.

I’d like to take a stab at demystifying and de-threatening the concept of blended learning, because, really, it’s nothing so scary.

Multimodal approaches to learning

Blended learning, as far as I am concerned, involves a multimodal approach to unit or course delivery. Multimodal could mean different kinds of spaces in which learning takes place, for example:

  • Face-to-face (F2F) in a formal learning space such as a classroom, lecture hall, tutorial, seminar
  • Online in a formal virtual learning space such as a learning management system (e.g. VU Collaborate)
  • Workplace settings for professional practice
  • Gaming or simulation environments
  • Informal or incidental learning spaces (e.g. library, café, Facebook)
  •  

    Multimodal could also mean a variety of pedagogical approaches to accommodate different learning preferences, for example:

  • Face-to-face content delivery through lectures/tutorials
  • Online content delivery through recorded lectures, webpages, embedded videos and other multimedia content, podcasts, downloadable documents such as Word, pdfs.
  • Authentic learning through discovery-based or project and problem-based engagement with real world situations
  • Social and collaborative learning through small group activities, involvement in learning communities, collaborative document creation
  • Peer learning through discussions (F2F) or discussion forums (online), peer assessment, peer presentations.
  • Reflective practice through self-assessment and reflective writing
  • Professional practice through work placement, simulations, role-play
  •  

    What else constitutes blended learning? Add your ideas in a comment and let's begin a conversation around blended learning.

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    Demystifying Blended Learning

     

    The first thing everyone seems to ask when gathered in a room to discuss the possibilities of blended learning is, what does ‘blended learning’ mean exactly? Many teachers approach this question with a degree of trepidation, it seems, as if the idea of blended learning is perceived as a kind of nebulous threat to their teaching practice.

    I’d like to take a stab at demystifying and de-threatening the concept of blended learning, because, really, it’s nothing so scary.

    Multimodal approaches to learning

    Blended learning, as far as I am concerned, involves a multimodal approach to unit or course delivery. Multimodal could meandifferent kinds of spaces in which learning takes place, for example:

  • Face-to-face (F2F) in a formal learning space such as a classroom, lecture hall, tutorial, seminar
  • Online in a formal virtual learning space such as a learning management system (e.g. VU Collaborate)
  • Workplace settings for professional practice
  • Gaming or simulation environments
  • Informal or incidental learning spaces (e.g. library, café, Facebook)
  • Multimodal could also mean a variety of pedagogical approaches to accommodate different learning preferences, for example:

  • Face-to-face content delivery through lectures/tutorials
  • Online content delivery through recorded lectures, webpages, embedded videos and other multimedia content, podcasts, downloadable documents such as Word, pdfs.
  • Authentic learning through discovery-based or project and problem-based engagement with real world situations
  • Social and collaborative learning through small group activities, involvement in learning communities, collaborative document creation
  • Peer learning through discussions (F2F) or discussion forums (online), peer assessment, peer presentations.
  • Reflective practice through self-assessment and reflective writing
  • Professional practice through work placement, simulations, role-play
  • What else constitutes blended learning? Add your ideas in a comment and let's begin a conversation around blended learning.

     

    Rate this blog entry:
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    VU Collaborate roadshows

    Dear Colleagues,
     
    The Blended Learning team are excited to announce a series of roadshows in August to introduce VU staff to the new eLearning environment, VU Collaborate.
     
    This will be the first opportunity for staff to see the new environment that is currently being configured. The roadshow will demonstrate the main features of the platform along with the look and feel and some integrations with other tools.
     
    As a sneak preview you can see the difference between WebCT (on the left) and VU Collaborate (on the right) in the screenshots below.
     
      WebCTDesire2Learn
     
    We are looking forward to showing you how VU Collaborate will:
     
    ·         make it easy to add content, files and multimedia to a unit through simple drag and drop options
    ·         make creating student groups easy, with each group having its own discussion area, dropbox and file sharing
    ·         make it easy to track student progress in a class, including quickly identifying those that may be falling behind
    ·         make it easy to create your own virtual classroom without having to request this through the ITS Servicedesk.
     
    We will be running roadshows at City Flinders, St Albans, Footscray Park, Footscray Nicholson, Sunshine and Werribee campuses between 12 August – 31 August. We will send out further information via the Globals with the confirmed dates and room bookings soon.
     
    We welcome you to please attend a roadshow and tell your colleagues! It will be an opportunity to get to know the Blended Learning team and to ask questions about the eLearning Project and the transition to VU Collaborate.
     
    If you have any questions, please contact: blendedlearning@vu.edu.au" target="_blank" style="color: rgb(0, 102, 153);">blendedlearning@vu.edu.au

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