In my previous post, I discussed the impact that technology is having on education and how it is generating new forms of learning. A popular learning strategy today is blended learning, which combines traditional teaching activities with digital learning. This provides the student with an element of control over their learning by allowing them some flexibility in when, where and how they learn. It also can free-up class-time for group work or activity-based learning. The aim of blended learning is not to replace teachers and lecturers, but to help them use contact time more productively.
While blended learning can incorporate simple digital activities and does not require sophisticated software or technology, it is more than simply making your PowerPoint slides available online or allowing students to use mobile devices in the classroom. True blended learning will give students control over their learning and allow them to personalise their experience. Therefore, as well as deciding on what activities should take place online and what should be covered in face-to-face teaching, it is important to consider how both forms of learning will complement each other and be integrated into the wider curriculum.
A major risk when introducing online learning activities into a course is to allow it to be driven by the technology rather than pedagogy. When embedding blended learning in the curriculum, it is important to understand the needs of the learners and structure the course around the learning outcomes. A useful approach to guide the design process is the DADDIE model:
- Define the intended learning outcomes
- Analyse the learners’ needs and expectations
- Design the course structure and assessment
- Develop the resources and activities
- Implement the content in an accessible format
- Evaluate if the learning outcomes were achieved
Chances are, you probably already work through most of these stages when you are designing courses without really analysing it. However, it can help to think strategically about each stage of the loop to ensure that your course aligns well with the learning outcomes and addresses the learners’ requirements. The short animated video below outlines what you need to consider at each stage:
While there are other instructional design models in practice, I like how the DADDIE model offers a structured approach to learning design and can be applied to a simple learning object or to an entire course. However, it does have some drawbacks – in particular it relies heavily on the accurate analysis of requirements early in the process and does not offer an iterative approach. Consequently, it may not be appropriate for courses which will incorporate user-created content or where the learners’ requirements may change as the course progresses. However, if you are unsure of where to start designing your blended learning course, the DADDIE model can provide a roadmap to help you ensure that you don’t miss the essential planning stages.
I will take a closer look at each stage of the DADDIE model in future posts, starting with defining the learning outcomes. In the meantime, share your thoughts in the comments!