Blended learning is an innovative educational approach. Technology has enabled the delivery of customized digital content through the use of cutting-edge cognitive technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.
SwissCognitive Guest Blogger: Utpal Chakraborty, Chief Digital Officer, Allied Digital Services Ltd., AI & Quantum Scientist – “Role of AI in Education 4.0 & Blended Learning”
The most basic definition of blended learning is combining the methods of traditional classroom instruction along with online content & instructions to have the students learn the best of both. Blended learning is an educational approach which integrates online course materials and opportunities for interaction on the web along with traditional co-located classroom methods. The approach of combining online and distance activities with in-person instruction always benefits students as well as teachers. Essentially it integrates the best aspects of in-person instruction and online instruction in ways that allow students to learn at their own pace.
Technology plays a crucial role when it comes to delivering digital content and offering personalized learning experiences. Blended learning uses a variety of combinations of traditional, in-person teaching experiences with online and mobile technologies. Blended education idealistically blends in-classroom and online approaches to teaching and learning, providing greater flexibility for teachers and enriching experiences for students. This hybrid approach to education is a method of instruction that integrates Technology and Digital Media, many times powered with cognitive technologies like AI and Machine Learning with traditional, instructor-led classroom activities, giving students greater flexibility in tailoring their own learning experiences.
The technology used for online instruction needs to transfer the content and instructions into student control at least somewhat in order to qualify as blended learning from a student’s point of view, as opposed to simply using digital tools from the perspective of a classroom teacher. While blended learning has been an effective model for many students, the implementation of blended learning in schools requires an instructional design to meet educator and student needs. Because it’s a mixed learning model, is an increasing trend at educational institutions in various countries across the globe.
It is essentially any formal educational program where the learner at least partially completes the instruction via online instruction, with some elements of student control of the timing, location, course, and pace. For example, one blended learning course might have students take part in the course taught by a faculty member in a traditional classroom environment while also independently completing online components of the course, away from the classroom, on an online learning platform. Other educators who use blended learning might conduct the lesson in person and then submit the assignment online for students to complete and digitally submit.
Teachers are now more likely these days to experiment with a high-intensity form of blended learning, so-called a flipped classroom where students learn course content online at home while in-person instruction is used for discussions, projects, and hands-on activities. Reports from some of the research conducted compared blending learning with traditional face-to-face teaching, concluding that students performed much better in the blending classroom compared with a traditional classroom. By merging advantages from various teaching environments, tools & techniques, blended learning has the potential to use asynchronous instructional opportunities to give students basic knowledge, and then reserve the time when a classroom gathers in person for deeper conversations and creating more in-depth learning experiences. Blending tech camps and traditional ways of learning helps students discover a variety of ways of effective learning.
Given the fast changes to teaching and learning processes as a result of technological advances, a set of skills needs to be developed for students & teachers to prepare them to meet the demands of the blended learning, which is also a by-product of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Education 4.0 is a deliberate approach to teaching aligned with the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and it is all about changing the future of education using cutting-edge technologies and automation. The core principle of education 4.0 is making learning accessible everywhere, at any time, through an array of electronic learning tools & techniques promoting remote and self-paced learning.
With Education 4.0, a peer-to-peer learning environment is nurtured, where students are able to learn together and from one another. In education, courses are offered using online platforms like Learning Management Systems (LMS), presenting information through various forms of media, and teaching does not have to take place all in-person due to the flipped classroom and blended learning. The use of technology in education is very fluid, being integrated completely into personalized instructions.
The ways that mobile technologies can be used by institutions, instructors, and students in order to best adapt to present complexities as well as future learning associated with the 4th Industrial Revolution to design the educational system of the future. Higher education in the fourth industrial revolution brings with it fascinating opportunities that could potentially transform education and society at large for the better. Such an overall view on the relation of education and socioeconomic structures, as well as the positions in education, helps us to shape the future of higher education associated with the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
It is important to note that changes in society and education stemming from the first two industrial revolutions are also hard to disentangle from other causes, such as the economic cycles and other massive geopolitical changes during that time, which included westward expansion and US development, the growth of Japanese and German industrial states, and major world wars, which displaced economic activity and precipitated developments in science and technology. The second industrial revolution used electricity and assembly lines to enable mass production, managed by skilled workers trained in advanced techniques.
Overall, an unavoidable move away from mere digitization in the Third Industrial Revolution toward innovations built around combinations of technologies in the Fourth Industrial Revolution is forcing companies to reconsider how they approach their businesses.
Governments around the world are giving teachers greater autonomy, investing in technology and training, and including blended learning into the mix in their curriculum to make sure that children are equipped with skills that will enable them to get jobs and be leaders of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Key Business Influencers are raising concerns those students who are currently in the traditional style of schools and colleges are not being prepared for Blended Technology jobs of the 4th Industrial Revolution, and such students will be left behind by the rest of the world. Teaching needs to change, to ensure students go beyond memorising and understanding any given topic from the curriculum and instead learn to apply, analyse, and build projects using what they have learned in the classes.
Also, Web3 & Metaverse, a virtual universe built on Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) will open the doors for new possibilities. It’s an incredible way of harnessing learned solutions even in a larger ecosystem. The metaverse draws from a broad set of disparate technologies, including VR platforms, games, machine learning, blockchain, 3D graphics, digital currencies, sensors etc. The metaverse will probably fully support augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies combined with artificial intelligence (AI). Augmented reality and Virtual Reality technologies are creating new means of learning, opening doors for students to learn and teachers to teach in more immersive, technology-enabled environments.
The metaverse is a digital platform which allows users to interact with one another using futuristic technologies. The Metaverse integrates augmented reality, blockchain technology, virtual reality, machine learning, and AI. The Metaverse is a successful fusion of the emerging technologies of virtual and augmented reality, growing social media, the latest games, digital communications tools, and even eCommerce sales.
Whether modelling entire environments through Virtual Reality (VR), mixing digital and real-world elements through Augmented Reality or harnessing machine learning through AI, emerging technologies are poised to impact education at every level, having particularly profound effects in vocational and continuing education and remote and online education. With the emerging areas of faster computers and expanded bandwidth, Artificial Intelligence (AI), IOT (Internet of Things), Spatial Computing, AR/VR, teaching, and learning will be increasingly interactive and immersive. There will be improved learning, more varied digital content, and new perspectives in animation, games, AR/VR, the metaverse, robotics, interactive art, and related fields. We will be a step closer to accepting its incredible opportunities for shaping a more interactive, inclusive, and immersive education experience for the future by integrating AI, VR, and AR technologies within metaverses.
Experts are working with schools and institutions on designing spaces and learning opportunities within the metaverse, as well as on other virtual and extended reality platforms. For instance, teaching at a Virtual Art Museum could build simulations of art museums and artworks for students using VR technologies, improve students’ sense of perception throughout the learning process, and utilize emerging technologies to direct students through their fine arts learning. Augmented reality is also used to give students hands-on learning opportunities. For example, by simulating patient and surgery interactions, so medical trainees can imagine and practice new techniques. The implementation of AI and VR technologies on campus is an overhaul to the model of learning, with the advantages of VR/AI technologies being to create a virtual teaching scenario not only for students but to improve the interactions and communications among different elements in a classroom.