Thursday, January 19, 2012

Blending Traditional and Digital Learning Styles to Improve Student Outcomes

A number of policy groups dedicate their resources to enacting measures that incorporate technology more effectively in education to improve student outcomes. eSchool News’s Laura Devaney recently highlighted the opinions of several key policy group leaders as they were conveyed in a webinar by the International Association for K-12 Online Learning. The emphasis of the webinar was blended learning, which combines elements of traditional learning with adaptive, interactive learning made possible through technology.

Devaney quoted Deirdre Finn, deputy executive director of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, as saying, “We think the future rests with blended learning.” Why place so much emphasis on blending digital learning with traditional styles of learning? Experts in the field suggest the following benefits of digital learning that make it a crucial part of improving student outcomes:

  • Digital learning can let students customize their education to their learning style and pace.
  • Digital learning tools provide real-time data that educators can use to immediately tailor instruction to students’ needs.
  • Digital learning and digital content can help educators and students take a more personalized approach to learning.
  • Digital learning tools allow instructors to spend more time with each individual student.

Other elements of blended learning that policymakers list as key to successful learning outcomes include quality content, instruction, and choices, as well as the funding and infrastructure to allow for digital tools to be implemented.

The learning components of every LabSim course by TestOut are designed to have the key elements outlined above. Educators who use LabSim especially appreciate the opportunities LabSim gives students to work at their own pace and with the tools from which they learn best. Educators also love LabSim’s reporting features that give them real-time data of everything students do inside LabSim while working on their own.

What else does your school do to leverage technology to improve student outcomes?

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