Models of Blended Learning and Distance Learning

Blended and Distance Models of Learning Delivery

This article addresses the models and their underlying principles for the design and implementation of effective learning online.Some of the more popular models which are used as frameworks for creating effective learning environments. are discussed in detail. There are obviously limitation within each model as there is with traditional learning settings. It also discusses the meaning of the terms ‘blended’ and ‘distance’ learning.

It stands to reason that blended learning models strive to create a sense of community and produce a culture of collaboration with learners. Additionally, using the blended approach, can allow for confirmation and support of the online content when completing face to face activities. Distance learning, on the other hand, is likey to be more cost effective in the long run, especially if the amount of students on the course is large. Furthermore, tutors may be able to reach more students with their content and activities; and there is no need for any brick-and-mortar classrooms or equipment.

Both blended and distance learning have their merits and limitations. However, rapid advances in ICT and elearning technologies means that both modes of learning delivery – in the right hands – offer more flexible and more effective options than the wholly brick-and-mortar traditional learning institutions.

Blending learning draws on the best parts of both traditional and distance learning approaches, and blends them together to create effective learning environments. The most effective use of the blended learning is when the face to face and online activities are not completed in isolation. In other words, the face to face  activities should complement the online content and vice-versa.

Models of blended learning

For a clear, detailed discussion of all aspects of blended learning delivery, see Classifying K–12 Blended Learning by Staker and Horn [2012].  The image below is taken from this article. Staker and Horn proposes four blended learning models. Only the Self-Blend model is shown in the panel below the image. This is due to the fact that this proposed model, does not include face to face contact, although it is classified as blended.  It should be noted that there are four variations of the Rotation model as indicated in image.

Source – Innosight Institute 2012

To get an explanation of all of the models in the image above, watch this screencast by Kevin Corbett of EDUrevolution.: