29 June 2023
Some time ago, the company where I work, Altissia, organized a webinar on how to create a language course with blended learning. We received many questions about the methodology and creation of virtual or mixed learning programs.
After the webinar, one of my clients asked me to provide a specific example, and I thought it could be useful and interesting for many people from the education field. Therefore, I would like to humbly share my ideas about the relevant information that should be considered when creating virtual or mixed learning programs.
To begin with, it is important to understand that there is no universal rule or single formula for a successful language learning program. In fact, the solution will be very different for each institution, as they all have different circumstances from a geographical, social, cultural, or economic point of view. We therefore need to start by defining the institution and the target audience for whom the blended learning program will be designed. It is also important to establish very clear learning objectives that can be achieved.
The next aspect to consider is the content that will be included in the program. The most cost-effective approach is a self-managed platform. Nowadays, there are many platforms that offer language training, and yet, according to my experience talking with educational institutions, there is a huge number of them wanting to "reinvent the wheel" or "invent their own wheel".
The truth is that this can be a mistake that will take many hours of work in content creation, review, approval, and evaluation. It will also require many hours of work for IT and academic departments to upload all this content to a LCMS (Learning Content Management System) and update anything as and when it becomes obsolete. In my opinion, taking some time to look at the existing options and how to integrate those solutions into your program makes more sense.
First and foremost, a solid plan for a syllabus is needed. Several factors should be taken into account, such as other academic obligations that limit resources, the methodology and materials that will be used, or the tools that are available. It is also best to decide in advance which content will be covered online and which content will be covered face-to-face. Activities that normally take place in the classroom are linked to oral production and interaction. This time can also be used to share experiences or solve doubts that might have arisen while studying online.
The teacher might need to invest more time in the beginning, during the planning phase, but this will be greatly reduced afterward.
Another essential aspect to take into account is the evaluation system. If the majority of the assessment is automated and derived from indicators of the virtual tool's use, probably completed by evaluating classroom participation and setting some short tests (15 to 30 minutes), students will have a satisfying sense of progress.
Of course, there are millions of factors that could matter depending on the specific needs of each institution and target audience, but the above is a good starting point to structure a successful blended learning program.
Would you like to integrate a ready-to-use language learning platform within your blended learning? Ask for a demo of Altissia’s platform.