Dr Christopher Jobling

Senior Lecturer



The pedagogy of blended learning

Blended learning can support a range of pedagogical approaches and in this section three are highlighted and summarized below. There is an emphasis in all three case studies on the use of mobile devices, particularly tablets for teachers and smart phones for students. The video and audio recording features of such devices are illustrated as well as content browsing and finger input. Interestingly pen input and keyboard input is not emphasized but in my experience these are weaknesses of the current generation of tablet and smart phone devices.


Note all illustrations were using tablets (probably iPads):

  • constructivism – illustrated by Blended Learning and Mobile Learning. In the illustration, students are doing the activity and the teacher is recording and making comments based on the learning outcomes as the activity is videoed . The students then get formative feedback by watching their “performance” and presumably are able to make comments and “sign off” the video as a true record. It is claimed that the need for written “reflection” and recording of paper “witness statements” is reduced or eliminated. The tool illustrated (iObserve see below) is proprietary and seems specific to a particular form of vocational assessment. It’s not clear from the example how one could generalize the approach.
  • social constructivism – illustrated by Blended Learning and Social Learning. It is claimed that the Blended Learning Essentials is an example of this mode of pedagogy. The participants in the forums are giving the reflections and commenting on others: but this begs the question — just how many BLE participants are participating in the forums? And are those who do not not learning? Or are they just not optimizing their learning? The video illustration has students gathering images and videos on their mobile devices (phones again), sharing them through Flickr and commenting on them in Facebook on in Moodle. Again I can see that this is useful, but how do you ensure that all students are engaged in this way?
  • problem-based learning – illustrated by Blended Learning and Problem Based Learning. In the illustration, the students, art or design at a guess, are using mobile devices as the medium. I can see it’s authentic and problem-based, although I’d have to say the the input still has a long way to go to beat paper and pencil. The claimed benefit is that it encourages the students to use their existing skills on using devices for social activities into their learning and presumably future professional lives.

Not illustrated in section

The Technology for Blended Learning

Summary of section. Look for web-based tools that work across desktop, tablet and phones.


  • Technology in the Classroom – illustrated by Nearpod and interactive whiteboard. Detailed case study. In this example, the teacher was using Nearpod, a tool that can enhance content delivery by having additional personalized activities that are delivered to students in the class or afterwards (if you upgrade to a premium version). Use was also made of an interactive whiteboard. In both examples, the technology used doesn’t really scale to large class sizes although variations, e.g Catalytic Assessment (Draper, 2009) have been shown to work.
  • e-Learning and flipped learning – illustrated by DREAMS a package by Prospect Training Services (who appear in video 2). Detailed case study. This seemed to be little more than a fancier content delivery system.
  • Open Tools – illustrated by Google classroom – Detailed case study. Google Classroom provides some features of the assessment submission and grading features of a VLE. It is however limited to use in institutions that have signed up the a Google Apps for Education account.

TEL Tools introduced in Week 2

iObserve by Prospect Training Services (who appeared on video 1) costs £49.99. Illustrated being used to observe, record assess and give formative feedback to students performing authentic tasks. Could be used for teacher observation.

Nearpod – freemium software – free version, which is limited to a class size of 30 is essentially presentations with quizzes.

DREAMS – a proprietary e-learning system developed and used by Prospect Training Services. Not sure what it provides over a VLE and looks to have similar costs. Use of Open Educational Resources would be a better approach I think and using development tools like Xerte Online Toolkits might be a better way forward if you can call on the assistance of a good instructional designer.

Google Classroom – is a content delivery and assessment system built on Google Drive. It is free but unfortunately is only available for Google Apps for Education users at this time.


Attwell, G. and Hughes, J. (2010) Pedagogic Approaches to Using technology for Learning. Lifelong learning UK. September 2010. Accessed 9/11/15.

Draper, S. W. (2009), Catalytic assessment: understanding how MCQs and EVS can foster deep learning. British Journal of Educational Technology, 40: 285–293. Accessed 10/11/15.

Social Development Theory (Lev Vygotsky). Learning Theories. instructionaldesign.org. Web resource which includes references. Accessed 9/11/15.

November 10th, 2015

Posted In: #FLble1, blended learning



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