Blended Learning is certainly an answer that addresses the problem that no single educational method or arrangement might really be optimal for any kind of education. While the typical, traditional face to face training benefit from the social aspects like communication and development of manual skills, digital forms of learning are generally associated with higher degrees of efficiency and flexibility, based specifically on ensuring demands of learnability.
Face to face lectures lack heterogeneous pre-knowledge and have a fixed place or time while e-learning on the other hand negates geo-spatial conditions and provides flexibility of creating learner paths basis individual learners.
Blended learning is a harmonious arrangement that combines both the kinds of teaching methods and their individual benefits while circumventing their individual associated drawbacks. This is why it is described as integrated or hybrid learning. Blended Learning allows for immense opportunity for immersive learning.
What is immersive learning?
The concept and term of immersive learning is very popular in the new age academic field. It includes several environments including game-based learning scenarios where course participants are involved deeply in a subject that is expected to give results in an intensified learning experience that increases learning outcome. This refers to early pedagogical strategies of learning the subject directly by diving into it on the deep end. Immersive learning gives course participants a strong sense of ‘being there’ (live interactive video classes) even if directly attending is not possible – whether it is because of conflicting schedules or inaccessible situations.
Immersive learning in a blended environment
In the modern era of blended learning, immersive learning includes closed interwoven possibilities where this is a high degree of involvement with submerging different scenarios or environments. This is done in many ways, few being:
- Live interactive classes where students can attend classes and ask queries and get answers real time. They can also request Mentor on demand.
- Gamification feature where students compete with each other in a gaming environment to forge a spirit of competitiveness.
- Close monitoring by mentors with feedback on assignments and performance.
- Recorded sessions of classes made available for future reference.
- Technical courses with browser accessed actual labs to practise and build applications on
With blended learning comes the collaboration of mentors and students from across demographic regions, backgrounds and job roles where each one brings to the course their experience, perspectives and approaches adding to an overall rich and wholesome learning experience. This could well be likened to studying in an international university and helps course participants open up to diverse methods, and prepare them for an international work environment.
In addition to the above, peer interaction and group projects helps a great deal in learning the subject thoroughly. Blended learning has proven to be the best channel for immersive learning in modern times. The elements are constantly evolving basis industry demands. It is a collaborative eco system that will evolve with inputs and insights from learners, corporate stake holders and the training industry. Immersive learning is not an innovation, but a mandatory requisite in today’s dynamic skilling environment.
(Keshava Raju is CEO and Founder, Indian Institute of Hardware Technology, Bangalore)