Content Considerations for Blended Learning Experiences

Content Considerations for Blended Learning Experiences

Susan Prion (University of San Francisco, USA) and Mathew Mitchell (University of San Francisco, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5557-5.ch006

Abstract

There are many resources available to higher education faculty to support selection and production of multimedia for use in blended (also known as mixed-mode or hybrid) learning experiences. Unfortunately, there is limited advice, best practice, or research available to assist a faculty member in determining which content would be best delivered to students in person, online, or in a mixture of the two approaches. This chapter describes a course design model used to determine the types of content that are best delivered in a completely classroom, only online, or mostly mixed pedagogical approach. The characteristics and criteria for content most suited to each of these instructional strategies are listed, and two worked examples from an undergraduate science and a doctoral statistics course are included.
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Introduction

There are many resources available to higher education faculty to support the selection and production of multimedia for use in blended (also known as mixed-mode or hybrid) learning experiences. Unfortunately, there is limited advice, best practice, or research available to assist a faculty member in determining which content would be best delivered to students in person, online, or in a blend of the two approaches. The purpose of this chapter is to provide a detailed explanation of a simple course design model used to determine the types of content that are best delivered in a completely classroom, only online, or mostly mixed pedagogical approach. This model assumes that most blended courses are a true blend of classroom meetings, online classes, and hybrid classes. The characteristics and criteria for content most suited to each of these instructional strategies are listed, and two worked examples from an undergraduate science and a doctoral statistics course are included. The emphasis of this chapter is on the instructional design principles and practices that support effective blended learning experiences, rather than the evaluation of learner outcomes produced by these experiences.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Intrinsic Cognitive Load: The inherent difficulty of the content being processed.

Blended Learning: A mix of face-to-face and online learning experiences; content presentation and class preparation vary with the different formats of instruction.

Cognitive Load: The amount of demand on working memory during a thinking task. There are three types of cognitive load: intrinsic, extrinsic, and germane.

Theory of Multimedia Learning: Richard Mayer’s model of how humans learn using multimedia materials and providing research-based strategies for how to optimize learning while decreasing non-productive types of cognitive load.

Germane Cognitive Load: The amount of work necessary to process, construct and automate schemas.

Only Online: An instructional format during which the class content is presented entirely online without a classroom or face-to-face component.

Schema: The cognitive frameworks in the brain that allow us to organize, interpret, and respond to sensations and information.

Completely Classroom: An instructional format where class sessions are planned entirely for a face to face interaction between students and faculty member. The content presentation takes place during this interaction.

Extrinsic Cognitive Load: The organization and presentation of the content, in addition to any other non-relevant distractors that may be present in the learning environment.

Mostly Mixed: For this instructional format, students complete the content “presentation” before the live classroom session. Once in the classroom, the emphasis is on application of the content to meaningful, real-life problems with the guidance and support of an expert-the course instructor.

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