A Framework for Promoting Complex Learning in a Blended Learning Environment

A Framework for Promoting Complex Learning in a Blended Learning Environment

Jill E. Stefaniak (Old Dominion University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8246-7.ch035
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Different learning outcomes warrant different learning strategies. Instructional sequencing is dependent upon the various learning outcomes that are intended for a particular course or instructional unit. Complex learning integrates a learner's knowledge, skills, and attitudes, newly obtained skillsets, and the transference of learning in an applied environment. A challenge that many educators face when teaching complex tasks is the ability to assist students to draw from prior knowledge from various subjects in order to approach problem solving. The intent of this chapter is to provide educators with strategies to promote complex learning within a blended learning environment.
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Research has found that blended instruction significantly enhances learning outcomes compared to courses that are led solely online. Blended instruction provides the opportunity for both self-directed learning that can be achieved through online activities and face-to-face instruction where an instructor can have more interaction with a student and provide immediate feedback (Lim & Morris, 2009; Laurillard, 1993). Blended learning consists of a combination of traditional face-to-face instruction with learning technologies (Bielawski & Metcalf, 2003). Blended learning can consist of a mix of classroom instruction and online instruction that is taught in both synchronous and asynchronous formats. Synchronous and asynchronous instructional activities should be determined based on the learning goals for the course. Blended learning environments may consist of learning activities that are evenly distributed between face-to-face instruction and online learning activities or activities that are more heavily classroom-oriented. Carmen (2002) suggests that instructors must take into account the number of live instructional events they plan on incorporating within a course as well as the desired amount of self-paced activities and collaborative group learning experiences.

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