Blended Learning. Resistance. Why?

November 10, 2013

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I wear many hats—student, mother, and ICET graduate assistant to name a few. In these different settings, I find myself pondering ideas of how technology is evolving. What will my children think is outdated in 10-12 years when they are teenagers? Will it be music CD’s, DVD’s, or even computers as we move to smartphones and tablets?! It seems only natural that technology finds a warm, cozy place in Education, after all, technology is centered on learning and developing new ideas and ways to make life easier.

But when it comes to university classrooms, the concept of blended learning elicits a variety of opinions. While a majority of students are busy immersing themselves in social media, smartphones, and even online learning, some instructors are not quite making that leap. Why?

From a student’s perspective, technology creates flexibility, something everyone could use a little more of these days. Coming from an online undergraduate degree experience to a conventional graduate school, I have a deep appreciation for the luxury of choosing when and how (at midnight in my pajamas) to participate. Online learning, or even blended learning, has the power to increase opportunities for students both inside and outside the classroom. I wonder if there are reasons that instructors are resisting technology use in the classroom.

An article by Gustavo Mellander in The Education Digest (September 2012), explored different ideas on why teachers resist the notion of blended learning. One possible reason was that teachers teach others by the same method of how they were taught. For example, students who were taught by long lectures, taking copious notes and trying his or her best to reproduce the “instructor given pearls” as Mellander calls them, may just teach future students in that same manner. In other words, as Mellander so eloquently puts it: “Teachers pontificate, students regurgitate”. Is this resistance?

I wonder if instructors are simply preaching facts and theories for students to spit back out verbatim. Let’s face the facts here: students will be absorbed in technology and online outlets no matter what, why not include teaching with that online content? The opportunity to create different paths of learning and thinking is at a critical point. Mellander makes a valid point and I agree-sometimes people model the behavior they are shown. However, I wonder what other reasons are why instructors resist more technology-enhanced learning.

 

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Comments

Submitted by LaFay (not verified) on

This resistance is not particular to teachers, even at the collegiate level. IT is human nature to resist change, the very essence of learning. Accelerated learning via technology implies by definition, accelerated change, not very easy for human nature to accept readily.

Submitted by Amanda (not verified) on

Thank you for your comment LaFay! I agree with you that human nature resists change in general, even positive change. Personally, I would consider the advances in technology and education to be mostly positive. I guess I wonder, how does the education field move past the initial urge to resist change, so that different modes of learning can take place?

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