Blended Learning in K-12/Introduction
While teachers have always used a variety of teaching methods and media, blended learning includes the recent availability of digital learning technologies and Internet-based tools that facilitate communication, interaction, and collaborative learning. Neither e-learning nor the traditional classroom are ideal for all types of learning. Blended learning offers the opportunity to incorporate the 'best of both worlds' to improve teaching and learning, to take "advantage of the strengths of both learning environments and be more successful in avoiding their weaknesses." (Node, 2003) Evidence from a study conducted by Alfred P. Rovai and Hope M. Jordan "suggest that blended courses produce a stronger sense of community among students than either traditional or fully online courses" (Rovai and Jordan, 2004).
The subheadings in this chapter will provide more information about blended learning, beginning with What is "Blended Learning"?. This section will discuss what prominent authors in the field are saying about what blended learning really is. While most authorities in the field agree on blended learning's usefulness, each author has a slightly different opinion about what makes a class "blended". Quotes will be used from these researchers, explaining their definitions in detail.
Blended learning has taken many forms since it was first created several years ago. As blended learning evolved, its name and meaning also changed. It has been called hybrid learning, mixed mode learning, and several other names. The second subheading in Chapter One, The many names of Blended Learning, will discuss the countless names of blended learning, review each meaning, and look at how it has evolved into the term we know today.
Finally, Chapter One will examine Why is Blended Learning Important?. Research from many educational areas will be used to show the merits of using blended learning instead of just traditional or e-learning environments.