In blended learning, instructors use facets of self-paced instruction and live, collaborative learning to moderate the offline setting.
Self-paced learning is an instructional tool where the learner is in control and manages the pace of learning. (Singh, 2001) The on-demand nature of self-paced learning makes it optimal for the offline atmosphere of blended learning. Here, learners not only control the pace of instructional information, but they also do not face the time restrictions of a face-to-face classroom. The use of the Internet and the World Wide Web allows learners to have access to information at all times. Generally, the responsibilities of self-paced learning are consistent with the instruction of a face-to-face traditional classroom. The instructor is responsible for supplying the instructional material, and the learner is responsible for reading, comprehending, and familiarizing him/herself with the material.
Self-paced instruction will often come in the form of asynchronous formats including:
- Documents & Web Pages
- Web/Computer Based Training Modules
- Recorded lectures, discussions, or live events
- Online Learning Communities and Discussion Forums (Singh, 2001)
Collaborative learning is a process where learning takes place through group or cooperative efforts. (Hiltz, 1999) A live, collaborative learning environment depends on dynamic communication between learners that fosters knowledge sharing. (Singh, 2001) In live, collaborative learning atmospheres the communication process between learners is just as meaningful and vital as an educational end product. Collaborative learning emphasizes the following factors:
- active participation and interaction among learners
- knowledge viewed as a social construct
- environments that facilitate peer interaction, evaluation, and cooperation
- learners who benefit from self explanation when more experienced or knowledgeable learners contribute
- learners who benefit from internalization by verbalizing in a conversation (Hiltz, 1999)
Hiltz, Starr. "Impacts of College-Level Courses via Asynchronous Learning Networks: Some Preliminary Results". Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks. Volume 1, Issue 2. August 1997. <www.sloan-c.org/publications/jaln/v1n2/v1n2_hiltz.asp>
Singh, Harvi and Chris Reed. “A White Paper: Achieving Success with Blended Learning.” Centra White Paper. October 2, 2005. 2001. <http://www.centra.com/download/whitepapers/blendedlearning.pdf >