What could be the biggest factor in the success of blended learning?
We’ve been looking at the use of eLearning in UK Further (or vocational) Education for over a decade. It’s interesting that despite plenty of government support the real belief in the power of eLearning to effect a change in quality or efficiency is very low. With the current economic situation and the corresponding need to improve the skills and knowledge of a young workforce, it seems a little odd how limited investigation of blended learning is.
One of the things that I’ve noticed is that most teachers (no matter how technologically adept) seem to have little belief in the effectiveness of eLearning to augment their courses. I think that this relates to the concept of ‘credibility’ that Hattie added as the number 4 factor in his league table of “classroom interventions”. If blended learning is to take place with students who may have very little intrinsic motivation, the online content needs to be introduced by someone who has confidence in its worth. Academics have suggested 4 aspects that make up credibility: trust, competence, dynamism and immediacy. Of these, trust is by far the hardest to synthesise in an eLearning activity. With this in mind, the success of blended learning in high school and vocational settings is directly related to the credibility, and trust, that teachers impart on it.
Blended learning has the potential to improve the quality and effectiveness of vocational learning, but a normal class teacher is the centre of the successful learning process.
Darren Evans, Make them Believe in You, Times Educational Supplement. 13th March 2012 http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6179294