Blended course programmes are here to stay. The idea that studying comprises of both time in the classroom with others and time learning on your own using online or even traditional learning materials is certainly not new. Of course the purist will argue that blended learning has to or exclusively use online materials rather than a text book – no matter.
This blog is not about blended learning, more the implications of what studying on blended programmes means i.e. you have to study on your own and as a result take responsibility for how you learn.
Instructor led – easier
In a traditional classroom the teacher (instructor) stands at the front of the classroom and leads the learning. They tell you what to learn, when to learn, even how to learn. They also dictate the pace and mood of the delivery. There is of course nothing wrong with this and many students really value it, in fact it’s their preferred method of learning. Of course its far from perfect, not everyone learns at the same pace or in the same way, but let’s put that debate, or blog aside for another day.
With a blended programme the student has to leave the security of the classroom and enter the world of self managed learning (SML).
Student led (SML) -harder but more effective
Self managed learning gives the student great power, they can study what they want, perhaps not the subject matter but certainly the order, when they want, how they want etc. However as Spiderman* once said, with great power comes great responsibility. You now have to take responsibility for the result. This means if something doesn’t make sense it’s not the teacher’s fault it’s yours!
Its perhaps even more basic than that, you are also responsible for how long you spend studying, you don’t have to do anything if you don’t want to. You can study on a Monday or Wednesday, or just the weekend. You can study for one hour or for 20 minutes. And there lies the problem, when it’s up to the individual a lot of people take the easy way out, the route of least resistance and put it off for another day.
However when you do take responsibility, the quality of the learning is significantly improved. Listening to the teacher is easy but not always that effective. The SMLearner has to set goals, monitor their performance and finally reflect, how well did they do compared with how well they thought they would? It is partly this process that makes the learning so good, but it will feel harder.
How to be a SML
These may all be worth covering in more detail in another blog but for now think of this as a check list.
- Use a timetable – Google calendar is great for this. Put in all your key dates including exactly what you will do e.g. read chapters one to three – make notes – answer question 2,3 and 4.
- Have a place to learn. This might seem obvious but you need somewhere that is quiet, plenty of space, good lighting, with little distraction. Perhaps most important is that you know that when you are in this room you feel ready to study.
- Read carefully, I have written on this before. Underline key points as you go. Don’t just read, you have to think as well.
- Make notes, even if you have pre- prepared ones. Once again I have written on the best way to do this. If you are following an e learning module make notes as you work through the online guidance.
- Listen to your internal dialogue. When you are working alone just make sure that what you are saying to yourself is positive. Remember this is not about telling yourself everything will be fine, it’s about moving forward e.g. I just don’t understand this, what I need to do is read it again perhaps from another book.
PS *Of course Spiderman can’t really talk it was Stan Lee the writer of Spiderman, although Franklin D Roosevelt and others have also been quoted as saying this or something similar.