UK online centres
Blog posted by: Laura Faulkner, 14 May 2019.
The learning team at Good Things Foundation are award winning at creating ‘Blended Learning’. We know this because we won a prestigious award for it at ‘The Learning Technologies Awards’ in London (Nov 2018).
On a daily basis we work to support a network of 5,000 online centres around the UK in delivering blended learning to people wanting to improve their digital skills. We know that staff and volunteers in our centres are skilled at blended learning and we are able boast impressive statistics about the success of this great work.
All sounds great.
Yet last month, there was a surprise in store for the learning team whilst delivering workshops with our network staff. When we asked people to tell us about their blended learning sessions, we were often met with silence and blank faces! Strangely, when we asked people to describe sessions with learners, they very often gave us brilliant examples of blended learning. We soon realised that the term ‘blended learning’ might need a bit of explanation.
Most people probably understand the word ‘blend’. It means to mix two or more things together. This is also the concept in ‘blended learning’. It means to mix together different activities during a learning session. For our network, this often means using electronic and online media alongside more traditional discussion groups and worksheet tasks.
So do you already use blended learning without even knowing it?
Chances are you do.
The learning team at Good Things Foundation believe that using different activities during a session (blended learning as we call it) is a great way to engage learners and create valuable learning experiences. The theory and research agrees with us, stating that it does lead to good tutor practise and great learner outcomes.
So what kinds of activities can you blend together in your sessions?
The list could be endless but if you want to get technical about it, there are five types of learning that often happen during sessions. If you are using two or more of them during a session, then you are using a blended learning approach.
- Instructional Learning - This is where the tutor tells the learner what to do. It is a traditional ‘’chalk and talk’’ style within a session and is often associated with school experiences. The learner will often then practice the skills themselves.
- Constructivist Learning - This is when the sessions build on learners’ prior knowledge and experience to ‘construct’ new ideas. It helps people relate new information to their life experiences.
- Social Constructivist Learning - This is when people learn by interacting and collaborating with others in groups. This could be through discussion of how they have tackled problems in the past and comparing to other peoples approaches.
- Problem Based Learning - This is when sessions use real-world scenarios and allow people to apply their knowledge to realistic situations. It could involve the use of case studies on digital devices.
- Self Discovery Learning - This is where the learner is encouraged to discover facts and make links themselves. In sessions the tutor might ask questions for people to research or demonstrate how to research information before allowing learners to do it for themselves.
If you already do blended learning, please share with us the advantages you feel it brings to your learners experience. Here are some of the advantages the style of delivery is thought to bring:
- Flexibility - Bringing different types and styles of activity to sessions means no two sessions have to be the same and can be changed to suit learners taking part.
- Effectiveness - Research supports the idea that blended learning results in learners becoming confident in their own learning. This often leads to people continuing to learn outside of the classroom. It empowers them to know how to do this online.
- Tutor Time - Using digital tools along with other teaching methods can give tutors more time to work with individual people. It can also make it easy for tutors to collect results of assessments and use them to guide learners on improving their skills.
- Engagement - The different activities provide a good pace to sessions that helps to keep people interested. It also allows use of everyday technology in learning such as smartphone apps.
- Differentiation - The approach means that not all learners have to do the same activities. Tutors can help the learner choose an activity that suits them and that will provide the right level of challenge for that person.
Support to achieve blended learning
If you like the idea of creating more blended learning at your centre, we already have some ideas available for you to view and choose from. Go to the tutor support materials on Learn My Way. There, you will find session plans with blended learning ideas.
Get in touch
If you are using Learn My Way as part of your blended learning offer, we would love to hear how you are doing it. Please share any tips, advice for other centres and ideas with us.
Email us at email@example.com with your thoughts and suggestions.
Latest News from
UK online centres
Digitally excluded people to be supported to access online census12/09/2019 10:20:00
Good Things Foundation is delivering a contract for ONS as part of the online first census, which will take place in 2021. In the run up to this, we are supporting with the census rehearsal, which is taking place in Carlisle, Ceredigion, Tower Hamlets and Hackney from 25th September to 16th November 2019.
Google Digital Garage Engagement Grants - Sunderland & North East27/08/2019 09:10:00
Applications are now open for grants to help Online Centres in Sunderland and the North-East engage with the Google Digital Garage in the city for the benefit of their learners, volunteers and staff.
Digital Evolution: Healthier.Happier.Better Off14/08/2019 09:10:00
Digital Evolution: Healthier. Happier. Better Off. takes place on Thursday 28 November at the BT Centre in London. The event will bring together a range of organisations from communities across the UK - including members of the Online Centres Network, other organisations delivering digital inclusion activity, national partners, funders and stakeholders - and more.
New funding opportunity: Accenture 19/20 Future-Friendly Skills for Work13/08/2019 14:05:00
Do you support people with digital skills relating to work and employment? In partnership with Accenture and our Online Centres Network, we want to engage and support 1,400 people to re-skill as digital technology continues to change our jobs and workplaces.
Get Online Week event holder registration is now open26/07/2019 13:37:00
There are still 11.9 million people without all the essential digital skills needed to make the most of the internet and 4.1 million people who are offline. With your help, Get Online Week 2019 can help these people find the support they need to improve their digital skills.
Funding to help Everyone Thrive Online15/07/2019 08:15:00
Good Things Foundation is delighted to invite Online Centres from across the UK to apply for funding to deliver the Everyone Thrives Online project in partnership with Google.org