Topic 4 – Design for online and blended learning

This topic sparked my interest into blended learning and encouraged me to delve deeper into answer the following questions as a point of departure:

  • What is blended learning?
  • Why should we use blended learning and,
  • How do we create blended learning environments?

What is blended learning?

Blended courses, sometimes referred to as hybrid courses, are classes where there is a mix of traditional face-to-face instruction and web-based online learning. Using both online and in-person learning experiences when teaching students. An example would be, students attending a class taught by a teacher in a traditional classroom environment, whilst also completing online components of the course outside of the classroom

Why should we use blended learning?

One of the benefits is that it makes the learning experience that much more dynamic and interesting.  In-class time may be supplemented by online learning experiences, and students would learn about the same topics online as they do in class. “The online and in-person learning experiences would parallel and complement one another.” (Glossary of Education Reform)

Pappas indicats four benefits to blended learning:

  • Provides personalized training experiences – If they are struggling with a particular training topic, they can access supplemental resources online or get the help they need from their instructor.
  • Offers 24/7 access to training resources – Blended learning training removes time and location limitations.
  • Track employee performance and skill development – Blended learning also makes data tracking more quick and convenient. Instead of grading exams, use an online assessment with a build-in grading rubric, which also offers the added bonus of immediate feedback. Everything can be stored on the cloud.
  • Reduction in training costs – Training courses can be updated and expanded in a fraction of the time, as there are no printed materials to worry about.

However the disadvantages of blended learning can be Learners must have basic technology knowledge or a willingness to learn, High technology set up and maintenance costs (however this draw back is becoming less of an issue due to the rapid reduction of technological devices and the internet).

How do we create blended learning environments?

For Topic 4 we looked at two instructional design models:

  • The ‘ADDIE model’,
  • The ‘5 steps model’

In the ADDIE model (Analyze, Design, Develop, Implement, and Evaluate), each step has an outcome that feeds into the subsequent step. I really like this model as it asks key, fundamental questions through each stage to guide the instructional designer.

The 5-steps model consists of the following steps: Define the Problem, Brainstorm Ideas, Decide on a Solution, Implement the Solution, and Review the Results. Once you understand the five steps of problem solving, you can build your skill level in each one.

For Topic 4 of the ONL course we utilized the constructive alignment model. Our presentation can be found at:



One thought on “Topic 4 – Design for online and blended learning

  1. Really well-structured blogpost – it is good to clear out the “why” and “how” – questions before going into practise… I have experienced the benefits with adding online elements into a course that you mention – where online resources can provide students with additional support. I also agree about its disadvantages, and think that we sometimes tend to forget to remember how technical equipment is not available for all…


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