From Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blended_learning
Blended learning refers to using multiple approaches to teaching. Examples include combining technology-based materials and traditional print materials, group and individual study, structured pace study and self-paced study.
With today's prevalence of high technology in many countries' schools, blended
learning often refers specifically to the provision or use of resources which
combine e-learning with other educational resources.
A key blended-learning arrangement involves e-mentoring or e-tutoring.
These arrangements tend to combine e-learning with some form of human intervention in the learning process, although the involvement of an e-mentor or e-tutor (whose role is performed online) does not necessarily need to be only in the context of e-learning. E-mentoring or e-tutoring can also be provided performed as part of a 'stand alone' ('un-blended') e-tutoring or e-mentoring provision.
Alternatively, blended learning can be the term used to describe arrangements
where 'conventional' offline non e-learning based provision happens to include
online tutoring or mentoring services.
This combination of e-tutoring plus conventional non-elearning, although it is a perfectly valid example of blended learning, is the 'opposite way round' to most current blended learning provisions.
The non e-learning element of blended learning tends to be the availability of an individual with whom the learner establishes contact online, either as an integral part of an e-learning course, or as a 'support facility' who can be 'summoned' to contribute to the learning process on an on-demand, ad hoc basis.
Blended learning is typically defined as being a combination of instructor led training and elearning, or a combination of 'face to face' education and 'distance learning'.
'Pre e-learning' and 'non e-learning' usage of the term
As with many things prefixed with 'e' (originally standing for electronic, but eventually more specifically applied to the involvement of computer-based or more recently Internet-based technology) the e-learning aspect of blended learning can often mislead the unwary into believing that e-learning-based blended learning is the defining constituent of 'multi-resource' educational approaches.
Those involved in school education (as opposed to many of those exclusively responsible for deploying predominantly e-learning based occupational training resources) include a whole generation of teachers familiar with the provision of 'combined resource' educational tools involving:
* classroom based audio tape resouces (language laboratories)
* auditorium multimedia visual resources (movie projectors, slideshows, VCRs)
* textual resources: textbooks, exercise books (although these are obviously the mainstay of traditional school educational resources, they are actually a neglected and under-valued potential component of e-learning-based blended learning)
* home learning resources (video recordings, audio recordings)
* blackboard and whiteboard resources, including high-tech 'pinting whiteboards' and 'online whiteboards'
* demonstration resources, including 'museum exhibits', 'laboratory experiments', live theatre, historic re-enactment, hands-on workshops, role-playing
* non-instructional education resources, such as examination, quizzes, envigilation, test-gradingThe above, whilst they do not include e-learning, are noneletheless potential constituents of a blended learning provision which are often ignored when most current blended learning provisions (which are essentially 'e-learning software plus human trainer involvement) are being constructed.
Similarly, in the same way that 'non-human resources' which are not e-learning fail to be included in many blended learning solutions, the human resource constutuent of an e-learning-based blended learning provision does not need to be 'high-tech'.
Human resource access in e-learning based blended learning solutions is typically delivered through real-time chat systems or online message boards or email.
However, telephone contact with a tutor or trainer may be just as effective and potentially far more reassuring to the learner.
Current non-e-learning-based blended learning (computer based instructor-led training) Sometimes, especially in IT training, learners may be in fact using computers as a training resource in a conventional classroom setting and the computers may or may not be used to deliver e-learning based lessons, but the setting and the presence of a class tutor often tends to prevent the training delivered in this way from being labelled as being either e-learning or blended learning.