Issues in Digital Technology in Education/Blended Learning

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The Concept of Blended Learning

The definition of blended learning

With the advent of digital technology blended learning takes on new dimensions and merges the best features of conventional face-to-face instruction and online learning (Graham, 2006). Today’s framework of blended learning replete with various blends and models that makes it difficult for educators to concur with a single definition of blended learning (Graham, 2006; Procter, 2003). The most common definition of blended learning is a combination of face-to-face instruction combined with computer-mediated instruction to facilitate interactive and reflective higher-order learning (Graham, 2006).

The types of blends

Blended learning is about a mixture of instructional modalities, delivery media, instructional methods, and web-based technologies (Graham, 2006). Blends of instructional modalities usually include a balanced mixture of onsite, web-based, and self-paced learning (Martyn, 2004; Picciano, 2006; Rossett, Douglis, & Frazee, 2003). To make blended learning more powerful, educators can blend various media delivery types, for instance, classroom trainings, seminars, web-based courses, CD-ROMs, video, computer simulations, books, study guides, the Internet, PowerPoint slides, etc (Bersin, 2003). In most cases, blended learning is designed with the use of synchronous and asynchronous web-based technologies, such as chat rooms, wikis, threaded discussions, virtual classrooms, instant messaging, conferencing tools, bulletin boards, computer conferencing, blogs, etc (Graham, 2006). Some researchers believe that incorporation of new pedagogies, learning theories, and instructional methods transform conceptually models of teaching and learning in blended learning environments (Carman, 2005). The choice of a blend is usually determined by several factors: the nature of the course content and instructional goals, student characteristics and learning preferences, instructor experience and teaching style, online resources and others (Dziuban, Hartman, Moskal, 2005).

The principles of blended learning methodology

Through the literature review, four main principles of educational design for blended learning are identified: (a) a thoughtful integration of face-to-face and fully online instructional components; (b) innovative use of technology; (c) reconceptualization of the learning paradigm; and (d) sustained assessment and evaluation of blended learning . The first principle is intended to maximize the advantages of both environments and better address the diverse students’ needs and preferences (Carman, 2005; Martyn, 2003). The innovative use of technology means that any technology should be applied in a pedagogically appropriate way and used for creating and maintaining socially situated and highly interactive learning (Vaughan, 2007). A reconceptualization of the learning paradigm entails the incorporation of new pedagogies and learning theories (e.g., student-centered, social constructivism), the development of new understandings and knowledge through students’ social interactions with a community of peers, and new roles of students (e.g., active author of content, self-paced learner) and teachers (e.g., mentors, coaches) (Dziuban, Moskal, & Hartman, 2004). And, the fourth principle of sustained assessment and evaluation of blended learning solutions is aimed to ensure the quality of education (Graham, 2006).

Benefits and challenges posed by blended learning

Potential benefits of blended learning include pedagogical richness (shifting from a presentational format to active learning); greater access to personalized learning, to resources and experts; greater flexibility and persona agency; greater accommodation for learners and teachers of diverse backgrounds; increased interaction and sense of community; and increased cost-effectiveness (e.g., reduced seat time, decreased costs)(Albrecht, 2006; Dziuban, Moskal, & Hartman, 2004; Moore, 2004; Owston, Wideman, & Murphy, 2008; Picciano, 2006; Vaughan, 2007)

Most universities face challenges to transform their instruction into a blended learning format. The four main barriers are identified: administrative challenges (lack of awareness, policies, plans, goals, support related to blended learning), re-designing courses and/or programs, faculty preparedness, and quality assurance (Cook, Owston, & Garrison, 2004; Dziuban, Moskal, & Hartman, 2004).

In conclusion, it needs to be stressed that blended learning is not just a mixture of strategies and technologies, but a holistic didactical method that combines “the effectiveness and socialization opportunities of the classroom with the technologically enhanced active learning possibilities of the online environment, rather than ratio of delivery modalities” (Dziuban, Hartman, Moskal, 2004).


References

Albrecht, B. (2006). Enriching student experience through blended learning. ECAR Research Bulletin, 12.

Bersin, J. (2003). What works in blended learning. Retrieved April 27, 2008 from http://www.learningcircuits.org/2003/jul2003/bersin.htm

Carman, J. M. (2005). Blended learning design: Five key ingredients. Retrieved April 27, 2008 from http://www.agilantlearning.com/pdf/Blended%20Learning%20Design.pdf

Cook, K., Owston, R. D., & Garrison, D. R. (2004). Blended Learning Practices at COHERE Universities. (Institute for Research on Learning Technologies Technical Report No. 2004-5). Toronto, ON: York University.

Dziuban, C. D., Hartman, J. L., & Moskal, P. D. (2004). Blended learning. ECAR Research Bulletin, 7. Retrieved April 27, 2008 from http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/erb0407.pdf

Dziuban, C. D., Hartman, J. L., & Moskal, P. D. (2005). Higher education, blended learning and the generations: Knowledge is power – no more. In J. Bourne and J. C. Moore (Eds.), Elements of Quality Online Education: Engaging Communities. Needham, MA: Sloan Center for Online Education.

Graham, C. R. (2006). Blended learning systems: Definition, current trends, and future directions. In C. J. Bonk and C. R. Graham (Eds.), Handbook of Blended Learning: Global Perspectives, Local Designs. San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer Publishing.

Martyn, M. (2003). The hybrid online model: Good practice. Educause Quartely, 1, 18-23.

Moore, J. C. (2004). ALN principles for blended environments: A collaboration. The Sloan Consortium. Retrieved April 27, 2008 from http://www.sloan-c.org/publications/books/alnprinciples2.pdf

Picciano, A. G. (2006). Blended learning: Implications for growth and access. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 10(3).

Procter, C. (2003). Blended learning in practice. Proceedings of Conference on Education in a Changing Environment 2003. Salford, UK: The University of Salford.

Rossett, A., Douglis, F., & Frazee, R. V. (2003). Strategies for building blended learning. Retrieved April 27, 2008 from http://www.learningcircuits.org/2003/jul2003/rossett.htm

Vaughan, N. (2007). Perspectives on blended learning in higher education. International Journal on E-Learning, 6(1), 81-94.


Blended Learning in the Workplace

Adult Learning Theories

Adult learners in the workplace have very specific learning needs. Knowles, the father of adult learning, posited that adults preferred learning when learning is relevant, self-directed, experienced based, problem based (rather than subject based) and delivered in a social context. (Knowles, 1990) Experiential learning theorist Kolb, postulated that adult learning occurs in a cyclical pattern, where the learning takes place through the steps of experience, reflection, conceptualization and then application in the workplace. (Kolb, 1984) Finally, research by Wenger on learning as social participation, suggests that the social context of learning is important to adults. (Wenger, 1998) These three theories establish the backbone of workplace course design today and are the basis for the interest in blended learning.

Organizational Drivers and Needs for Blended Learning

Workplace training evolves as employers continuously seek ways to optimize their training investments. In the development of his Learning Management Maturity Model, Moore noted that companies mature through the stages of the learning management process. Least mature companies are at an ad hoc level, and develop through managed-learning, competency-driven learning, integrated-performance and end at the highest level of maturity, an optimized-workforce. He explained that organizations have various degrees of sophistication in how they plan, direct, and account for resources, participants and outcomes of learning activities within their learning management systems.(Moore, 2003) Because organizations are at different maturity levels they require different learning solutions. Workforce size, budget, geographical location, organizational performance objectives, learning content and learners’ individual needs dictate learning design.(Singh and Reed, 2001) Benefits of Blended Learning

Adult learning principles, organizational maturity and advances in technology collectively point to blended learning as in increasingly optimal method for workplace learning. Numerous studies have demonstrated that blended learning can outperformed instructor-led and e-learning programs in accuracy and speed of job performance. (Thompson Job Impact Study, 2003) Blended learning can capitalize on adult learning needs and workplace maturity by providing self-directed, relevant experiential learning, social interaction, and access to knowledge, at the same time as being cost effective and efficient. For the organization, blended learning can also extend the reach of the program, optimize development costs and time and accelerate the dissemination to knowledge to vital channels.(Singh and Reed, 2001) Basically, blended learning can deliver workplace learning to the organization and the learner in a highly flexible and customized manner.

Strategic Blending: A conceptual framework

In the context of optimizing organizational performance while engaging the learner, Yoon and Lim redefine blended learning as Strategic Blended-Learning and Performance Solutions. They suggest that this type of blended learning is: “…a purposeful mix of delivery media (particularly face-to-face and various forms of technologies) to improve learning/performance solutions which are derived from the goals and needs of an organization.” (Yoon and Lim, 2007)

Yoon and Lim design a conceptual framework that considers five interrelated phases that form a strategic connection between the goals and needs of an organization, performance solutions and delivery methods (instructional and non-instructional).

The five procedural phases include:

1) Strategy and needs analysis - In this phase long term business and human resource strategies are reviewed, along with tasks, employee needs, work systems, costs and benefits and existing technology infrastructure.

2) Performance solutions – Both instructional and non-instructions modes of learning reinforcement are considered at this phase. Non-instructional techniques might include feedback, reward systems, resources or institutional support. Based on the performance objectives of the organization; learning theories and component display theory point to the balance of face-to-face vs technology that should be employed in the blended learning strategy.

3) Delivery media – It is at this point of the process that the specific e-learning technologies and face-to- face learning design techniques are identified. The authors use the e-learning structures identified by Driscoll (Driscoll, 2002) and Rossett (Rossett et al, 2003) to determine the right mix of approaches.

4) Strategic blending - Instructional effectiveness, budget, frequency of need, and learner expectations are considered at this phase in the context of the organization’s performance goals.

5) Evaluation and improvement – In this phase, the inputs and outputs of the strategic blended learning activity are evaluated. The solution would be evaluated on efficiency, effectiveness, cost and the ultimate achievement of the performance outcomes. (Yoon and Lim, 2007)

Practical Application

According to a 2003 survey of “Blended Learning Best Practices” by The Learning Guild, over 85% of organizations are using blended learning for the creation and/or delivery of educational content. The experience of respondents has been positive, with more than 76% saying blended learning was more effective than classroom training, and 73% suggesting that blended learning had a higher learner value/impact than non-blended processes. Over 36% of the respondents used 6 to 10 different components in their blended program. The top five components were classroom instruction, interactive web-based training, email communication, self-paced content, and threaded discussion. (The Learning Guild, 2003)

Conversely, survey respondents indicated that their top five obstacles to implementing blended learning were lack of budget, choosing the right strategy, lack of senior management buy-in, inability of developers and/or trainers, and inadequate technical infrastructure.

Summary

Blended learning is a widely used and effective method of workplace training in companies with mature learning management systems. It is more effective than classroom training and meets the needs of adult learning styles. To optimize its impact it should be tied to the organization’s strategic performance goals. Over time, as costs decrease and awareness of these systems increase, it is likely that blended learning will become the mainstay for workplace training.

Bibliography

Driscoll, M. (2002). Web-based training: Creating e-learning experiences. 2nd Edition. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Kolb, D. (1984). Experiential learning: experience as the source of learning and development. Eaglewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Knowles, M.S. (1990). The adult learner. A neglected species. 4th edition. Houston, Texas:Gulf Publishing.

Moore, C. (2004). Using models to manage strategic learning investmens. Retrieved May, 19, 2008 from http://www.clomedia.com/content/templates/clo_feature.asp?articleid=579&zoneid=31

Rossett, A., Douglis, F., & Frazee, R. (2003). Strategies for building blended learning. ASTD Learning Circuits Retrieved May 5, 2008, from http://www.learningcircuits.org/2003/jul2003/rossett.htm

The Learning Guild (2003). The Blended Learning Best Practices Survey. Retrieved May 19,2008 from http://www.elearningguild.com/research/archives/index.cfm?action=viewonly2&id=10&referer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Eelearningguild%2Ecom%2Fsearch%2Ecfm

Thomson Job Impact Study (2003). The next generation of corporate learning. Training and Development, 57 (6), 47.

Singh, H. and Reed, C. (2001). A White Paper: Achieving Success with Blended Learning. Centra Software White Paper Series. Retrieved May 19, 2008 from www.centra.com/download/whitepapers/blendedlearning.pdf

Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice: learning, meaning and identity. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Yoon, S-W and Lim, D.H. (2007). Strategic blending: a conceptual framework to improve learning and performance International Journal on E-Learning, 6(3), 475-489.

Blended Learning in the EFL Setting

Blended Learning Definitions for EFL

Blended learning is a relatively new ‘pedagogical’ approach to instruction. In the English as a foreign language (EFL) setting blended learning (BL) is only just beginning to take stride. There are many definitions of BL but at the core of all the BL definitions implies a combination of face-to-face and online as components of the pedagogy (Graham, 2006). In the EFL setting social interaction is needed to facilitate language outcomes (Vygotsky, 1987). Therefore blended learning in the EFL setting can be defined as a pedagogical approach that combines the effectiveness and socialization opportunities of the classroom with the technologically enhanced active learning possibilities of the online environment (Dziuban, Hartman, Moskal, 2004). What are the learners’ needs teachers should be aware of when implementing BL in the EFL setting? What are some constraints of BL that teachers need to understanding? How does the methodology enhance the learning and thus facilitate the students overcoming the constraints of the EFL setting?

The Needs of the EFL Setting

The EFL setting differs from the ESL setting in that most EFL countries the students have little or no access to the target language community (Cummins, 2001; Baker, 2000; Graddol, 2006). This means understanding of socio-pragmatic discourse, cultural understanding (Duff, P. & Uchida, Y. 1997) which affects literacy, speaking and listening, and exposure to literacy genres is limited or non-existent (Al-Jarf, 2006). Therefore students’ who may be grammatically correct when speaking lacks experience with the proper meaning and context of the language. The EFL learner differs from the ESL learner in three important aspects: a) a lack of socio-cultural exposure b) the lack of chance to practice meaningfully (Oxford, 1990; Spada & Lightbown, 1996) c) the lack of high frequency exposure of English (Lee, K., 2000, O’Donnell, T.). As we will see later BL can eliminate or at least diminish many of these constraints. First, teacher awareness within this new pedagogy will be examined.

Constraints for the Learners

There are three areas that can constrain the learner and they are; the design and content of the program, the teacher training, and awareness of how the student is processing the new language learning environment. When designing a program the teacher should remember that the context of learning might not always be culturally appropriate for the students (Duff, P. & Uchida, Y., 1997). Another factor in the design of the program that needs consideration is for the standardizing of content and testing. The teacher needs to upgrade and learn technology skills. This is so they are aware of how to properly utilize the tolls so to avoid a mismatch of the learning content and technology. A big mistake teachers should avoid is using technology for non-target reasons (das Neves Seesink, T., Dissertation, 2007). Finally teacher must become aware to check in with the students feelings about the programs (das Neves Seesink, T., Dissertation, 2007). Research has shown that sometimes e-learning produces anxiety in students (das Neves Seesink, T., Dissertation, 2007). Language learning is ultimately about communication therefore the teachers need to balance face-to-face with online so to avoid anxiety (Al-Jarf, 2006).

Benefits of Blended Learning for the EFL learner

One thing absent in the EFL setting is the target language culture. E-learning can allow access to target language culture through the use of Youtube videos, meaningful situational interacting videos, blogs, chat rooms etc. (Duff, P. & Uchida, Y. 1997). These ‘tools’ enable the EFL student to have more access to native speakers. Using tools such as blogging, wiki pages, and brainstorming aid the student with overcoming academic literacy issues (Al-Jarf, 2006).Not only can blended learning provide safe way to practice chatting without the fear of the native speaker presence. The distance created from the online atmosphere helps to relax the student’s research has found (Al-Jarf, 2006). This real life online exposure can enables strategy use in the process of reading and writing (Al-Jarf, 2006). Strategy use to solve a problem facilitates the increase in self-direct learning (Barenfanger, O., 2007). The 24 access nature of online learning coupled with the reality practice of face-to-face allows for more practice (O’Donnell, 2006). Researchers have found that the e-learning component of the blended course gives the student a chance to revisit lectures (Graham, C.,). Overall blended learning offers more affordances than constraints.

Pitfalls of Blended learning that EFL Teachers Should Avoid

When designing a blended learning program the needs of the students must be balanced with the outcomes expected by the institution. Teachers as good as they may be in the traditional classroom need further training so that implementation of the course is not hampered by a mismatch of content and technology. Finally the teacher and the students need to understand the collaborative nature of the new learning endeavor so that a balance will be struck and motivation to learn will remain.

References:

Al-Jarf, R. (2006) Impact of Blended Learning on EFL College, Riyadh: Readers, King Saud University.

Baker, C. (1991). Foundations of Bilingual Education. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

Barenfanger, O. (2005) Learning management: A new approach to sturcturing hybrid learning arrangements. Electronic Journal of Foreign Language Teaching, 14-35.

Cook, K., Owston, R. D., & Garrison, D. R. (2004). Blended Learning Practices at COHERE Universities. (Institute for Research on Learning Technologies Technical Report No. 2004-5). Toronto, ON: York University.

Cummins, J. (2001). An Introductory Reader to the Writings of Jim Cummins (C.Baker & N. Hornberger, eds) Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

Das Neves Seesink, T. (2007), Using Blended Instruction to Teach Academic Vocabulary Collocation: A Case Study. Dissertation submitted to College of Education University of West Virginia.

Dziuban, C. D., Hartman, J. L., & Moskal, P. D. (2004). Blended learning. Research Bulletin, 7. Retrieved April 27, 2008 from http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/erb0407.pdf

Graddol, D. (2007). English Next- Why Global English may mean the end of 'English as a Foreign Language'. London: British Council.

Heinze, A. & Procter, C. (2008) ; Reflections On The Use Of Blended Learning.

Lightbown, P. & Spada, N. (1996) How Languages are Learned. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Martyn, M. (2003). The hybrid online model: Good practice. Educause Quartely, 1, 18-23.

O'Donnell, T. (2004)Learning English as a Foreign Language in Korea: Does CALL have a place?, Asian EFL Journal,1-27

Lee, K. (2000). English Teachers’ Barriers to the Use of Computer-assisted Language Learning. The Internet TESL Journal, 6(12). Retrieved May 23 2005 from http://iteslj.org/Articles/Lee-CALLbarriers.html.

Lee, S. (2000). Teaching writing using a bulletin board on the Internet: A preliminary study. English Teaching, 55(3), 171-191.

Oxford, R. & Shearin, J. (1994). Language learning motivation: Expanding the theoretical framework. The Modern Lanaguage Journal , 78, 12-28.

Duff , P.A.& Uchida, Y. (1997) The Negotiation of Teachers' Sociocultural Identities and Practices in Postsecondary EFL Classrooms TESOL Quarterly, 451-486

Vygotsky, L. (1978). Mind in Society. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.

Vygotsky, L. (1962). Thought and Language. Cambridge: The M.I.T. Press.

External links[edit]

Blackboard Systems-Does The System Meet the Seven Principles of Good Practice in Education?

Recently university EFL programs have been using blended learning to enhance the language learning experience. The majority of the university programs use course management systems. The most widely used of which is Blackboard (based on marketshare). Many have criticized these types of systems as being too mechanistic in their approaches to learning (Owston, 2008). Chickering,and Gamson,(1987) created an excellent list of principles with which to guide educators. In designing or revising a course, faculties are faced with at least three crucial decisions: what to teach, how to teach it, and how to ensure that students are learning what is being taught. Often, the most difficult step in preparing or revising a course is deciding which topics must be excluded if the whole is to be manageable (Davis, B. 1993, Tools for Teaching, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, p.1). This paper will not evaluate whether or not these course management systems are well constructed as this author doesn’t have sufficient technical knowledge. Rather, this paper will critique how the Blackboard management system can be used when applying the seven principles for the EFL University setting. First, a quick evaluation of the specific needs of the EFL situation while occur.

EFL University Needs

Language is essentially about communication therefore learning alone in a vacuum is not an ideal learning situation. Students who learn outside of the target language community are referred to as English as a foreign language learners (EFL). The greatest constraint in learning a language outside of the target language community is the lack of exposure to that community. It is difficult for the student if the only access to the target language community is the classroom teacher who is seen once a day or in some cases only once a week. Research has shown that, the student needs a high frequency of exposure. Learning a new item without being able to go back and practice in a meaningful way is not effective manner of teaching. This leads to the issue of practice in the EFL setting. It has been stated that a student needs 15,000 hours of exposure to meet the basic level or proficiency. Finally the last constraint the EFL learner must deal with is learning to solve their own problems through learning strategies. These are the major needs of the EFL setting. These constraints, when implemented properly by the teacher, may be assisted by blended learning. Blended learning provides various tools that can compensate for the various deficiencies in the EFL setting. Next there will be an examination based on the seven principles for good practice examination as to whether the teacher can utilize Black board so that all the EFL learners needs are met. One thing that is important for educators to remember is not how to use the tools but rather what teachers need to do to choose the most effective tools to bring out the learning outcomes desired.

Contact

The first principle is to encourage contact. In the past it has been discussed that even though blackboard is designed for communication there is no consistency as Proctor (2004) states: Lecturers and the way they interpreted blended learning on the individual modules. Simply using Blackboard instead of web pages to deliver the handouts and presentations and combining it with discussion boards resulted in some staff stating that we were not really doing any e-learning on the course which is a communication and support tool, it is not a learning tool.” (Reflections on the Use of Blended Learning, Education in A Changing Environment, 14th Conference Proceedings, p.6). Recently Blackboard training has tried to overcome this by including in the training section discussion rubics (see Appendix A). Handing this out to students will allow them to understand the importance of using the discussion boards as it is not just for fun. Chat groups and virtual chats can be defined and facilitated by the lecturer so that there is a meaningful outcome to using these features. For example one can assign students into chat groups. Within these groups there are specific topics to explore. Moreover the instructor could monitor and add components to guide the direction the conversation flows. This same technique is used during the conversation section of an ESL/EFL class. Later the information can be discussed in the F-2-F section of the class. This ensures people are processing the information chatted about as the student needs to relay again later. This also enhances the practice component by reusing the vocabulary learned or shared during the chat.

Reciprocity and Cooperation

How can the use of blackboard allow for the fostering of reciprocity and cooperation? On blackboard not only can you set up students as moderators but also grade their postings. For the EFL setting this allows the instructor to have the students work together. This is done by having the students take turns to moderate discussions. Also giving them netiquette allows them to understand the parameters of using the system (see appendix b). As stated in the netiquette page:

“Facilitators should remind students that others may interpret their email, messages, and discussion posts differently due to the lack of physical contact during their communication. As a result, online communities have developed tools to assist members in sharing their facial expressions, emotional reactions, and other feelings” (Netiquette taken from Blackboard training session June, 6th, 2008)

Teachers need to relay to students that the tools in communication should mirror human interaction and not to hide be hide the mechanistic framework of the tools.

Active Learning

Active learning is important. Teachers perceive Blackboard to encourage active learning with functional student centered flexibility. The problem with using digital technology is the lack of transparency of student effort. As discussed in Proctor (2004) they also believed that students abused the flexibility issue:

I asked them to read things… they weren’t doing it. … Well that is then the nub of the course, it is the expectation of the student of what they [students] are expected to do [by a student centered course]. If they [students] think by coming in half as many hours a week as a traditional part time course it is to do half as much work, we haven’t really achieved what we were initially trying to achieve. What we are expecting them to do is quite a bit more on their own, aren’t we? Using whatever resources we provide them. (p. 7)

Yet a way to overcome this is to make learning not just giving activities but to discuss them in a group in the F-2-F setting. Facilitating discussion as to how the student felt, what they learned, what confused or frustrated them and informing the students that the activities will be assessed is important.

Feedback

Research has shown that feedback is essential in language learning (Spade & Lightbown, 1996). Therefore EFL lecturers must remember to use this function effectively and consistently. Every time a student posts in a discussion correction by the teacher of content, structure, and form of the language is essential in aiding the students learning. After the posting the teacher is able to e-mail back the postee and discuss the necessary corrections needed.

Emphasis on task

Diligence in forcing students to spend the needed time for an activity is crucial in the success of blended learning. Blackboard has all types of functions that can allow the teacher to assign language activities. Teachers must be cognitive of implementing guidelines and parameters such as there must be 3 posting a week, group discussions must each contain at least written lines, and all on-line activities will be discussed in the F-2-F class. These parameters set up specific time to spend on a task.

High Expectations

For the EFL student this is important because practice and spending time communicating allows students to acquire language.Often students and teachers have preconceived expectations of what blended learning can accomplish. Teachers need to state what is expected of them upfront. Also in the face to face first meeting teachers should collaborate with the students to set up a contract of what is expected of the teacher and what is expected of the learner. This process eliminates misunderstandings created both by instructors and students of what and how blended learning works.

Respect for ways of learning

The final principle of encouraging respect of diverse ways of learning is hallmark in EFL pedagogy. This is a major component in language learning.

Conclusion

The black board program was analyzed for two things; first to see if teachers can instruct following the good practices framework, and also does blackboard have the ability to enable the teacher to facilitate students overcoming the constraints inherent in the EFL setting. My experience is that the technical tools do so but it is up to the teacher to become aware of the constraints hidden in technology and use good practices to avoid these pitfalls. For the EFL setting blended learning can be defined as a pedagogical approach that combines the effectiveness and socialization opportunities of the classroom with the technologically enhanced active learning possibilities of the online environment (Dziuban, Hartman, Moskal, 2004). This interactive socialization needs to be kept in mind when implementing a blended learning program. Relying just on the structure of a course management system such as blackboard would be a pedagogical mistake.

Bibliography

Chickering, A., & Gamson, Z. (1987). Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education. The American Association for Higher Education Bulletin.

Cummins, J. (2001). An Introductory Reader to the Writings of Jim Cummins. (C. &. Baker, Ed.) Clevedon: Multilingual Matters Ltd.

Dziuban, C. D. (2004). Blended learning. Toronto: from http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/erb0407.pdf.

Graddol, D. (2007). English Next- Why Global English may mean the end of 'English as a Foreign Language'. London: British Council.

Lightbown, P. a. (1996). How Languages are Learned. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Owston, R. conversation on May, 11th, 2008.

Oxford, R. &. (1994). Language learning motivation: Expanding the theoretical framework. The Modern Lanaguage Journal , 78, 12-28.

Procter, C. ( 2003). Blended Learning in Practice. Inaugural Education in a Changing Environment conference. Salford: University of Salford.

Proctor, C. (2004). Reflections on the Use of Blended Learning. Education in A Changing Environment, 14th Conference Proceedings. Salford: University of Salford.