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Flipped /Blended - what's the DIFFERENCE ?

Do not be misled into thinking that 'blended learning' and 'flipped learning' are one and the same, as some educators claim. They indeed are not. The overall term to use would be "e-learning".

SO: what's the difference between flipped and blended learning?

Online education is truly here...

The world of online education is transforming and expanding at an incredible pace. A study by the Sloane Consortium in the US has found that more and more teachers are incorporating online learning into their long-term planning.

But do not be misled into thinking that 'blended learning' and 'flipped learning' are one and the same, as some educators claim. They indeed are not. The overall term to use would be "e-learning" *.


So we can then break e-learning down into three subcategories: 

1.BLENDED learning

is an educational model whereby both traditional face-to-face learning and online learning share a place in the curriculum. It's strength is that it allows for truly differentiated learning, as you can offer different choices to the students to suit learning styles and thinking behaviours, via the links and activities offered. So "blended" means simply a blending of traditional teaching and learning methods, with selected and challenging online learning. In the blended model, occasionally students can log in and work from home, as the need or desire arises. And yes it certainly does arise!


2. FLIPPED learning

means totally flipping traditional teaching methods; instead of traditioal homework which revises class materials, students use home time to do online activities, research and analysis as directed by the teacher. In school time, they can now devote time to deep discussion and enrichment activities that further add breadth and depth to the curriculum.


BOTH have their advantages

over traditional bricks-and mortar teaching, in that every student is given the opportunity to  ignore geographic boundaries,  can take virtual trips, can gather and analyse information and data online, at their own pace, and even from home. Even sick students  or those unable to attend school for some reason, such as weather calamities, can continue their education.


Advantages are here not only for the student, but also for the teacher: assessment an be instant, online, individual, and on-going; AND parents have the option of input or viewing their child's work also. 


3. VIRTUAL or DISTANCE learning

usually consists of teaching and learning which is completely online. Online teachers keep in contact with students via the internet, and students often can chat with both teacher and other students in an online discussion or forum. There is little or no physical contact.

For further reading, here are a couple of sources for you:

  1. ONLINE SCHOOLS: online ed news. Excellent source of info - use the SEARCH feature!
  2. [email protected]: offers a huge range of resources, from articles and papers on learning with IT, to using iPads, to common core standards.
  3. NZ Ministry of Education's site has a section devoted entirely to e-learning- even online discusion groups for you to join about e-learning!

Check out ThinkShop’s highly-praised blended-learning units: CLICK HERE

* The NZ Ministry of Education clearly defines e-learning  here as:

"... learning and teaching that is facilitated by or supported through the appropriate use of information and communication technologies (ICTs). 

e-Learning can cover a spectrum of activities from supporting learning to blended learning (the combination of traditional and e-learning practices), to learning that is delivered entirely online.

Whatever the technology, however, learning is the vital element. e-Learning is not simply associated with modes of delivery or the functionality of a particular technology, but forms part of a conscious choice of the best and most appropriate ways of promoting effective learning.

Best practice e-learning enables accessible, relevant, and high-quality learning opportunities that improve student engagement and achievement. e-Learning has the potential to transform the way teaching and learning takes place. It is about using technologies effectively across the curriculum to connect schools and communities and to provide accessible, relevant, and high-quality learning opportunities so that every student is better able to achieve their full potential."

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