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.
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 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
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.