What is blended learning really about?
If you’re reading this, you are probably already interested in studying for a higher education qualification and may have researched the options available to you. The great news is, there are now more options than ever to make your aspirations a reality!
Sometimes we find ourselves too busy to attend a traditional university – we work full time, look after a family or simply have a rich social life. For many of us distance learning could be the answer; but for those who want the structure of a traditional university with the flexibility of online learning there is a third option to consider – blended learning.
Blended learning can be briefly summarised in one sentence: online learning + classroom.
You would normally be attending a campus once or twice a week for that personal tuition time and peer interaction, then use the virtual classroom to progress your learning and complete your assignment wherever and whenever it suits you. Great for that on-campus experience without the full-time commitment!
Blended versus traditional higher education
Blended learning is a method that has proven to be not only effective in terms of learning outcomes, but also ranks high on ratings of satisfaction with students and instructors (Dzuiban, Hartman & Moskal, 2004). So how does it compare to traditional University learning?
Blended vs Traditional Method
- 2 or 3 days of classroom delivery a
week for personal tuition time and peer interaction.
- Complete your assignments and watch
webinars and presentations online.
- Opportunity to engage with different
types of content types of content like video, audio and visually enhanced
- On-campus, classroom.
- Many universities offer as little as 10 hours of lecture times a week –
typically spread across 5 days. This, alongside long commutes, means that many
students are unable to work alongside their studies and gain the all-important
- People with childcare or other caring
commitments that they need to work around.
- Those focused on beginning or
continuing their career who would prefer not to take time out of the working
world in order to study.
- Those who need or want to stay close
to home – the compressed timetable and online materials mean you don’t have to
live close to campus.
- Those who are time constrained and
prefer to absorb lecture content in their own time – video, podcast and webinar
course materials mean you can pause and replay materials whenever you need to.
- Young people who
want to get the traditional ‘university experience’.
- Those who are
willing and able to postpone or pause their career in order to focus on
academic study for three years.
- People who are very
comfortable working with reading lists, note taking, text and lecture-delivered
content and traditional learning approaches.
- Tuition fees £6,000 per year (current Arden University
annual fee for undergraduate degree by blended learning)
- Potential to earn while you learn and compressed timetabling
means you are only on campus 2 days per week.
- Eligible for Student Finance.
- Tuition fees (£9000 + a year)
- Accommodation cost (average weekly rent stands at £146.73,
according to NUS & UniPol Survey).
- Eligible for Student Finance.
- A ‘learn and do’ approach – lectures and presentations can
be viewed online via webinar and video at a time that suits you. Your classroom
time then becomes more efficient as you can apply the newly found knowledge in
discussions, debates and project working.
- A ‘sit and listen’ approach – time spent passively receiving
lectures and presentations.
- Access to pre-recorded lectures and webinars – pause to take
notes when needed.
- Rerun videos and take online tests for immediate feedback.
- Access to material that’s always up-to-date – tutors can
easily tweak the content to reflect any changes in the industry.
- Content provided through books and printouts.
- Notes need to be take in real-time – no time to stop and
- Best of both worlds – Full time three year degree based on
compressed timetable supported by flexible online study support.
- Fully compatible with continued working for that
all-important work experience and the ability to continue earning while you learn.
- The full ‘university experience’, freshers' week, campus-bar
and social activities, new friends and social groups.
- Generally narrower course availability and likely to be more
business and professionally orientated subjects – so less likely to be suited
to those wishing to study classic humanities and similar.
- High cost means high debt
- Spread timetabling means you have to be on campus every day
- Traditional teaching model could be more passive and
- Difficult to manage around work and caring commitments
There is a wide range of qualifications offered via blended learning, including undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. Blended learning gives you the opportunity to learn as you earn and to come out with a degree and relevant experience to progress your career. So, you’re well equipped to get that dream job when the time comes!
browse blended learning study centres