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Blended Learning: Mixing Technology and Traditional Face-to-Face Instruction

Widespread technology in the world today has made it essential for educators to combine available tech with traditional face-to-face instruction.  Combining the two elements is called blended learning, which combines classroom learning with online learning, in which students can, in part, control the time, pace, and place of their learning.

What is Blended Learning?

It is a newly created mixture of elearning and traditional learning. Even though it takes both old and new approaches, it is completely different than the traditional learning process.

Blended learning is used in a corporate setting, as well as in the school setting. Its effectiveness is quite high, due to the different approaches it relies on. Let’s take a look at what blended learning is and how it differs from traditional learning and elearning.

Blended learning utilizes software tools through which a student gains access to learning materials. However, that is only one part of the whole process, as students also participate in class activities once in awhile.

For example, a course is given to a student, or an employee (in case of corporate learning). Once they start covering the course materials, they are also obligated to visit the teacher in order to participate in class activities as well. These activities are usually related to the course materials they have previously gone  over. Class activities serve to evaluate how much the student is progressing.

The process repeats itself until the course is completely finished, after which the student’s knowledge is once again evaluated.

When it comes to other elearning approaches, blended learning is a bit better. It simply allows for a teacher to collect more data about their students, data that is found outside the LMS.

This is an improved learning approach because it allows the student to learn at his or her own pace. They are in the position to slowly move forward and acquire knowledge, whereas, in the traditional approach, everyone was expected to advance simultaneously. The conventional learning isn’t student friendly because everyone adopts new information at different rates.

But the question remains whether TIn Can LMS is capable of supporting blended learning or not.

What is Tin Can API?

Tin Can API is also known as experience API, or xAPI. It serves to collect the overall learning experience that an individual goes through in their elearning lifetime. It works in combination with the Learning Record Store (LRS), which serves to collect all the possible data that the Tin Can application can pick up about the learner.

The API is especially useful on devices such as smartphones, where the software can take use of different types of sensors to more closely describe the learner’s whole experience. Over time, the API collects all types of data about the learner. Of course, no private data can be collected by the API, but only the ones that matter to elearning.

Therefore, an application that supports Tin Can API collects and sends information to the LRS. In the whole process, a new set of data is now available to the teacher. This is extremely important in the analytics process, as the person responsible for the course can make further adjustments to better motivate the individual to perform better.

A majority of LMS tools now support Tin Can API, as it is a truly promising piece of technology that makes the whole elearning process more effective and result-oriented.

Is Tin Can LMS Capable of Supporting Blended Learning

The learning industry is definitely moving forward every single year. New technologies are being developed to make the online learning process a much easier experience and feature rich.

For example, the development of Tin Can API has brought a lot of influence in the world of learning management system (LMS) as it has significantly improved the number of features an LMS has. To better understand the whole concept of Tin Can, let’s explore what it actually is and what blended learning is. Once we understand both these terms, it will be easy to deduce whether  Tin Can LMS is capable of supporting blended learning or not.

How do they come together?

In the blended learning methodology, there are two separate points where data about the student is collected.

  • First point – The first point includes data collection on the elearning side when the student is accessing and covering the learning materials via the LMS. No matter when and where this occurs, all of the data is collected and stored in the LRS via the Tin Can API.

From this data, the teacher can follow how well the student is going through the content and how challenging it is for him or her.

  • Second point – The second point is when data is collected is in the classroom. Through various activities, the data is automatically collected with the LMS tool and used in the classroom. If this is not the case, then it is the teacher’s responsibility to input the results of each student’s classroom activities. The same thing happens with this data; all of the information is stored in the LRS via the Tin Can API.

This data serves to show how much knowledge the student has actually acquired and whether the course materials are as effective as they should be.

In this whole process, Tin Can API or an LMS that supports this API is not only capable of supporting blended learning, it is actually absolutely necessary. The API serves to connect two different points of data collection, storing it in a unified database (LRS), where the information can be used for analytics purposes.

Conclusion

With Tin Can LMS, teachers are in a better position to create future elearning courses that are going to provide even better personalization. They can easily evaluate how challenging the course actually is. This helps prevent the creation of courses that are too challenging or too easy, as they can cause boredom.

It is clear that the Tin Can compliant LMS is capable of supporting blended learning. It is actually the best choice for successfully deploying this learning method, as it makes it possible for the teacher to collect much more data about their students.

Author Bio: Kamy Anderson is an ed-tech enthusiast with a passion for writing on emerging technologies in the areas of corporate training and education. He is an expert in learning management system & elearning authoring tools – currently associated with ProProfs.

 

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