Blended Learning

Blended Learning

José Alberto Lencastre (Department of Curricular Studies and Educational Technology, Institute of Education, University of Minho, Portugal) and Clara Pereira Coutinho (Department of Curricular Studies and Educational Technology, Institute of Education, University of Minho, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5888-2.ch129
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Background

With the introduction of ICT in teaching and learning, it becomes essential to reflect and clarify the terminology and concepts associated, in order to facilitate communication between the actors. This reflection serves both to clarify and justify the adoption of a particular concept in the field of ICT in education. In fact, there are different terminologies for very similar concepts, depending on being either more focused on technological aspects or closest to the pedagogical potential.

E-learning is a global concept for a set of diverse and opaque ways of learning using ICT. The concept of e-learning is thus sufficiently broad and far from being univocal. Rosenberg (2001, 2006) states that e-learning is a form of distance learning, but distance learning is not e-learning. For the author, the association between the two terms is usual but e-learning has come to accomplish what was not possible within the distance learning, for example: (1) the increased interaction teacher-student; (2) bilateral communication; (3) synchronous and asynchronous communication; (4) the inclusion of collaborative strategies; (5) mediated learning materials and strategies that encourage students to process information autonomously; (6) the systematic collection of data (through learning management systems [LMS]); and (7) updated and relevant information in real time. E-learning has many meanings, some with more emphasis on electronic component (such as the ability to obtain information through the Internet or to learn through multimedia resources), intrinsically associated with the Internet and the Web for authors such as Clark and Kwinn (2007), who claim that e-learning has to be accessible through Web-based technology tools. Others see e-learning in a more pedagogical learning dimension through communication, collaboration and cooperation in a virtual space. Masie (1999, 2006) combines the two aspects when he says that e-learning is the use of network technology to plan, deliver, select, manage and expand learning. What is obvious is that there is some uncertainty as to what exactly are the characteristics of the term e-learning. However, it is clear that all forms of e-learning - applications, programs, objects, sites, etc. - may provide a learning opportunity for individuals (Moore, Dickson-Deane, & Galyen, 2011), values the communication and interaction dimensions in a previously unthinkable away by the inadequacy of existing technologies.

Key Terms in this Chapter

E-Learning: The use of network technology to plan, deliver, select, manage and expand learning. Usually, the term refers to a training system where the content is transmitted at distance through learning management systems.

Open Learning: Activities that either enhance learning opportunities within formal education systems or broaden learning opportunities beyond formal education systems.

Distance Education: The use of new media to produce distributed learning opportunities to students who are not physically present in a traditional classroom.

Blended Learning: A training system where most of the content is transmitted at distance, usually over the Internet, but also includes face-to-face classroom situations.

Online Learning: The access to learning experiences, usually in context of the classroom, with resources available on the Internet.

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