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Online and offline - Boosting quality blended learning in Europe

Posted: 15 May, 2018

Researchers in the School of Computing at Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) is working on an EU project to provide educators with the tools to create quality blended learning courses.

Computing - Blended Learning 1

You may have recently come across the term ‘blended learning’ and wondered what it is exactly.

Peter Manifold, who manages flexible and online learning delivery for the DIT School of Computing, says that there is much confusion around the term, “Put simply, blended learning is just an approach to learning - one that looks to integrate online digital learning with the traditional classroom, and is at all times student-centric.”

The case for blended learning is strong, says Peter. “Research shows that adult students who engage in blended learning outperform students who only attend a traditional classroom, as well as the learners who receive more than 50% of their contact hours at a distance. Blended learning enables students more flexibility, allowing them to learn at their own pace and giving them greater autonomy.”

The Quality Blended Learning Project, a collaboration between academic and industry partners in Ireland, Germany, Slovenia, Spain, Greece and Italy aims to make the use of blended learning more extensive and systematic in adult education in Europe. The goal is to increase the overall quality of blended learning within adult education and to enable educators’ to design and implement quality blended learning experiences for students.

The project is currently in the research phase, engaging with teachers and education managers to collect feedback on their work implementing blended courses and to gather suggestions on potential solutions to the issues facing the field. This June, teachers from three European countries will take part in a training course in DIT where they will explore different tools to design blended learning courses. All of this work will result in a set of practical guidelines and best practice for designing blended learning programmes.

The team at DIT is five strong - Dr Paul Doyle, Dr Cathy Ennis, Brian Gillespie, Damian Gordon and Peter Manifold all have experience creating and delivering blended learnings courses in DIT and in higher education institutes in Europe, South Korea and China.

This project is funded by the prestigious Erasmus+ programme, the EU’s flagship funding programme to support education, training, youth and sport in Europe.

www.blenditwell.eu