Blended Learning Tools & Initiatives.

So what does Blended Learning mean anyway?

Blended Learning can be defined as a student-centered approach that entails purposeful, appropriate, and sustainable integration of technology* which results in the creation of transformative learning experiences and optimizes the use of face-to-face and online environments. Blended learning requires the physical presence of both instructor and learner and offers some degree of learner control over time, place, path, or pace.

Due to the lack of clarity and agreement about its theoretical foundations, the term “blended learning” is sometimes used interchangeably with other terms such as hybrid learning, flipped classroom, and technology-enhanced learning. There are, however, important differences among these terms. Hybrid learning, for instance, is normally reserved for a course design model, in which some face-to-face instruction is supplemented with online work outside of class. Similarly, flipped classroom refers to the model of instruction in which language learners engage with the new content (usually in the form of a multimedia presentation) outside of class, whereas the class time is reserved for activities that help learners practice and reinforce their language skills. Technology-enhanced learning (also known as web-enhanced or technology-based learning) implies the use of technology to enhance or facilitate students’ learning by making it more flexible and accessible (e.g., through posting materials and resources online or engaging students in online discussions).

In contrast, blended learning aims at leveraging technology to create transformative language learning experiences and changes in pedagogy**. It is the power to realize transformative learning experiences that adds value to the blended learning approach and distinguishes it from other models of instruction.

Blended Learning Initiatives

The Tech Center is engaged in the exploration of blended learning as a means to enhance language acquisition processes. Several Tech Center activities support this exploration, including a series of events informed by design thinking as well as activities geared toward field implementations of blended learning. The latter type of activity includes: 1) the creation of Blended Learning Pilots to test the effectiveness and feasibility of blended learning solutions to instructional challenges; 2) the creation of Blended Learning Mentoring Program to enhance the capacity of the Language Flagship faculty to design and implement blended learning experiences; 3) the collaboration with the Arabic Language Flagship program at the University of Arizona to develop and pilot a shareable online course focusing on the Moroccan dialect.

 

  • * Gruba, P., Cárdenas-Claros, M. S., Suvorov, R., & Rick, K. (2016). Blended language program evaluation. London, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • * Gruba, P., & Hinkelman, D. (2012). Blending technologies in second language classrooms. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • ** Bonk, C. J., & Graham, C. R. (2006). Handbook of blended learning: Global perspectives, local designs. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Blended Learning
Pilots

Tech Center invite Flagship programs and instructors to submit a plan to test the effectiveness and feasibility of a blended learning solution to instructional challenges, using innovative language learning and teaching technologies identified in the LaunchPad event.

Blended Learning Mentoring Program

The main purpose of the program is to enhance the capacity of the Language Flagship faculty to design and implement blended learning experiences. The mentoring program will have the following benefits: a) cultivate new professional learning opportunities for Language Flagship instructors, b) enable multi-institutional collaborations, and c) promote long-term sustainability of blended learning projects (e.g., simulated experiences) initiated by the Tech Center.

Model Blended Learning Course

In an effort to increase opportunities for students in Arabic programs to improve their proficiency in Moroccan dialect, the Tech Center is collaborating with the Language Flagship program at the University of Arizona to develop and pilot a shareable online course focusing on the Moroccan dialect. The modular format emphasizing different themes and the open creative commons license will make it possible to use the course content in multiple Language Flagship programs and contexts, such as tutoring, as part of other courses, or as a stand-alone course.

The field implementations of blended learning also include the creation of language learning simulations designed for professional language practice and acquisition in three Flagship languages: Chinese, Korean, and Russian.

 

Contact Information

TECH CENTER

1890 East West Road

Moore Hall 256

Honolulu, HI 96822

(808) 956-5121

tech.center@hawaii.edu

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