Blended Learning With Moodle, The Right Way

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The word “blended” does not always sit well with consumers. On the label of certain products, it can convey ideas of subpar quality, of the “real thing” being diluted with lesser versions. This concern can extend, sometimes with flagrance, to online learning. Systems and approaches promoted as “blended” also arouse certain suspicions. Are they set up to lower the cost of instructors? Do they have a strategic value other than mass-produce certifications?

It is up to the industry to ensure that the “blended” qualifier points to positive and desirable attributes, as was likely the case when it was first coined. The following scenarios show you how Moodle can help sustain the idea of blended learning as innovative, sophisticated, and fun.

Trailblazing and basecamp

While most of us agree that one of the most valuable moments of a learning intervention is quality time with a subject matter expert, it is also important to acknowledge that teaching models often do not make the most out of their limited and expensive time. Blended offerings, especially those that tout themselves as “low cost,” are better off focusing on how its model optimizes, say, instruction time. The best expression of a blended learning model gives learners access to world-class expertise that was not possible before, maybe at a lower cost as well.

Moodle can help spread the wisdom of experts without taking up more of their time. A mixed use of the Forum and the Wiki Activities can ensure teachers address quality questions personally and save them for future reference of the whole class, so they are only answered once.

Dynamic enforcement

Think of it as the inversion of the above scenario. Most professional situations require the employee to perform their job within professional and regulatory guidelines. In many cutting-edge fields, the guidelines evolve often. The organization’s challenge is to provide their staff with tools and up-to-date information to perform professionally and within code.
The classic Moodle activities Book and Quiz can help workers cram critical information for eventual practical use. While in the previous approach, Moodle was the conduit between expert and learner, here the expert can be involved in practical situations and skip lecturing, which has been found less effective than computer-based methods, retention-wise.

Personal Blends

If you are offering the best of both worlds, wouldn’t it make sense to let students decide what works best for them? Moodle and similarly featured LMS offer ways to prevent fixed combinations of computer and face-to-face learning. Of course, you still need to find out the methods that work best for your employees.

Moodle’s ability to override automatic grading lets teachers consider special cases or multiple ways to account for student work. A bolder approach is to apply rubrics, or multi-dimensional grading, and let learners focus on honing a subset of skills (or even just one, if it makes sense) rather than make them all mandatory. ■

eThink LogoThis Moodle Practice related post is made possible by: eThink Education, a Certified Moodle Partner that provides a fully-managed Moodle experience including implementation, integration, cloud-hosting, and management services. To learn more about eThink, click here.

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