Blended learning has started way back before the onset of COVID, but it was an unpopular method for teachers to relay knowledge and students to absorb information. A study was done about the effect of blended learning on student outcomes last 2010 and it was found that less effort was exerted on developing a computer and infotech assisted education system as it is understandably strenuous for organizations and professionals involved. Pushing for development on this type of learning would mean bettering technological advancements in the learning sector. Unfortunately, not all countries are ready for this, even more with other pressing issues arising, this issue has left disregarded by many.
But with today’s recent happenings, digital education has caused a state of shock in teachers, students, and parents. We were all caught unprepared for the sudden shift. But because of the immediate need for adaptation, each country has somehow managed to survive with the new norms in continuing education.
Everyone admits to the fact that learning must not be put to a halt despite the current state. For this reason, many universities and colleges all over the world continued to function, serving both local and foreign students. Because of the adaptation of new learning methods, students are beginning to question the efficiency of blended learning. Many are also ambivalent on how this could affect their pathway to residency.
To shed some light on this matter, let’s discuss how blended learning can affect international students in various instances.
Distance learning as a priority
International students in different programs are always given the privilege to work under a student visa, mostly 20-hour working rights are automatically awarded. Though for some countries like Canada, restrictions for healthcare students were removed. This means learners are able to work more hours. The problem arises on the ability of the students to give ample time on online learning and completion of term papers or assignments.
Missed deadlines on college requirements could mean retake on units. This can overexert one’s effort and resources, especially for international students. This outcome is something that unis and colleges have less control of, therefore, students must consistently check on their personal goals and evaluate the factors affecting their course completion.
Teachers are new to the system
Since the changes imposed were done swiftly, not all educators are given enough preparation. Just like the students, there are some teachers who are still comfortable with in-class learning and feel more proficient in delivering lessons the traditional way. However, these concerns are being addressed by the institutions themselves and are looking after evidence-based practice to encourage productive outcomes for both parties.
Numerous educators have already incorporated the use of technology in their teachings. Perhaps the shift in learning, support, and feedback strategies involved are the factors that call for further development.
Changes in learning approaches
The introduction of new learning methods encourages students to function independently and acquire a sense of control in managing their own time when learning at home. While others expressed approval on this new system, it’s hard to deny how some are finding it hard to function by themselves.
One issue that holds students from pursuing blended learning is the rate of efficiency it offers. Learners are concerned about their progress and how these are evaluated and followed up. Professors are aware of these growing concerns and are adapting to the changes introduced in the system. New teaching methods are also being introduced to aid in student participation (e.g. group sessions, interactive environment).
There is strong evidence of improved student engagement when lessons are delivered creatively. Online activities that support conversation, collaboration, and personalized experiences are found to be very helpful in increasing the involvement of students. The use of technology can also help build online learning platforms, producing data that reflects and monitors a student’s progress. This assists teachers to create a personalized approach to providing feedback (Hegarty, 2020).
Estonia is a solid proof of how digital learning can become a success once efforts are directed to one common goal - a state-of-the-art IT infrastructure. The country has invested well long before the coronavirus outbreak dated last 2001 and they are finally drawing the benefits of their modernized education system. Today, where everyone has been mandated to stay home during lockdowns, the students have shifted effortlessly because of the tools which were readily available and have long been used.
The introduction of flexible programs
New programs have now been released making it easier for student visa applicants to enjoy safe online learning anywhere they may be. The latest UK program through Activate Learning allows students to finish the course on the designated period and fly under a Tier-2 work permit visa. The program provides a 100% work permit guarantee and caters to various fields including healthcare and business. Learn more about the UK Nurse Internship program by reading this article.
Some colleges and universities in Canada offer a similar scheme too. University Canada West has blended learning programs for undergraduate and graduate students offering the first few terms to be taken online while the rest are on-campus. The online study is a convenient, safe, and cost-effective way for students to pursue further studies. Another advantage it gives is the eligibility for enrollees to acquire the PGWP after successfully completing the entire program.
Overall, the current status of the blended learning opportunity may result in a few setbacks but with what is to come this 2021/22 onwards, the growing confidence and awareness of students and teachers will ultimately allow a balanced delivery between on-class and online lessons.
Planning to venture on further learning this 2021? Contact our friendly Fil-Global agents and let us help you shape your career and live a better future abroad!