Blended learning (the combination of traditional classroom time along with formal online learning) is gaining in popularity for K12 schools. You may have heard terms such as rotation, flex, self-blend, and enriched-virtual models recently. MDR recently published an article by Erin Werra, Writer & Researcher at Skyward and Advancing K12, on the pros and cons for mobile education.

“These models incorporate different types of in-person and online learning, including direct instruction, small group practice, labs, intervention, and more. Blended learning can be high in quality or not, dynamic or static, expensive or less costly. In short, it’s just like any other curriculum choice. Let’s explore the pros and cons of making education mobile.” – Erin Werra

In Werra’s article, she listed the following pros and cons of blended learning.

Pros of Blended Learning:

  1. Instead of filling classroom time with lecture and then leaving students with leftover time, study halls, and homework to practice, blended learning shifts teachers into the role of facilitator. With blended learning, students spend most of their classroom time actively working with questions, whether in a small group or individually while the teacher plays the role of an active coach. The teacher waits to intervene when needed. All the while, students are learning from their errors and triumphs.
  2. Let’s face it, students are drawn to blended learning because mobile devices are cool. Guiding students to begin seeing their mobile devices as learning portals might just be the key to managing students’ tech use in a healthy way. Students also have a good bit of control and agency over their mobile learning.
  3. Audio and augmented reality can greatly enhance typical classroom experiences for students and help them be more actively engaged.

“Mobile learning options increase equity for students who may not have the means to access traditional schools. Whether this looks like a student with chronic illness (physical or mental), children who face transportation issues, or those dealing with other special circumstances, mobile education can offer a way for schools to reach students they were previously unable to serve appropriately.”- Erin Werra

Cons of Blended Learning:

  1. The availability of devices and connectivity can be a challenge. All students must have access to the personal computing device and also to the high-speed connection required to access broadband and video content for blended learning to be effective.
  2. Schools have to invest in and test their infrastructure. They must also consider the needs and means of students to acquire a device.
  3. With blended learning, schools will need to learn to model and stress work/life balance for students.

“While we know students are using personal devices for schoolwork, not all blended learning models are created equal. The key to mobile or blended education is the “formal” qualifier—it’s not enough to play a couple free apps or gamify multiple choice quizzes. Deep cognition is the key to engaging students in education outside a formal setting. When in doubt, increase the formal nature of assignments or practice. Students may not be sitting in school, but they’re still engaged in the important work of learning.” – Erin Werra

To read MDR’s article in full, click here.