Is there a new receipe for blended learning? #sedaconf

Yesterday I attended the 19th  SEDA Conference. This is the first time I have been to a SEDA conference and it was a very enjoyable experience mixing with the educational development community.

Being part of the Blended Learning team here at GCU I couldn’t not go the the session run by George Roberts and Richard Francis (Oxford Brookes) called “implementing the new Blended Learning”.  Intriguingly we were presented with menu of blended approaches.

During the very enjoyable and thought provoking session there was much lively debate about just what it is that constitutes good learning practice and how do we continue to foster it in both online and f2f situations.  If, as the session abstract, suggests

“Self-evidently, people are different; learning takes place in communities and isengaged with and through technologies. There is good evidence for the benefits of dialogic, participatory learning (Guache 2014), where deliberative reflection arises from and is a skill for distributed collaboration (Stuart-Buttle 2014). The conundrum is, if we know this, and have for years been advocating transformative learning (Mezirow 1997) based on these and similar principles (e.g. Chickering and Gamson 1987), why do we now find learners, institutions and the curriculum still in such tension over TEL, in an environment of ambiguity, anxiety, power and ideology (Morrison 2014)?”

One question raised by my former colleague Bill Johnston during the session was, if we do know this, is educational development a threshold concept itself now?

What was clear was that we need to continue to ensure that we do continue to review and revisit every learning situation and space to ensure that learners get the appropriate blend.

I do think that most of the time we do that here at GCU, however it is easy to fall into the trap of making the same menu choices just because you like them every time.  Now again it is good to experiment with some new options, mix things up a bit (2 starters and no main), go a la carte, or even call for take away.



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