Within the great technological revolution of which we are part and to which we witness daily there is no part of our life, communication, sociability, play, work, learning, which has not been digitized. Laptops, tablets, smartphones are part of our daily lives and we are no longer even confined to a fixed place to work, since it is possible to work in our homes, or even in our daily movements, through increasingly sophisticated devices that they are constantly in our hands.
The learning and information transfer system, in the classrooms and in the companies where we work, has also undergone a radical change.
Within this great digital transformation, a form of learning known as blended learning, or mixed learning, which is very successful and arouses great interest in andragogy in general and in the various forms of corporate learning in particular.
“Blended learning” is not a recent term in the world of education and training, having been born in the sixties, when a wide range of technologies approached and interacted with interest with traditional pedagogical and teaching methods.
However, it is necessary to wait until the nineties, with the publication by Curtis J. Bonk and Charles R. Gaham of a well-known manual (The mixed learning manual: global perspectives and local projects), to have a complete and exhaustive definition of the phenomenon.
In the decades closest to us there has been a discussion, still open, between the supporters of digital learning forms and the supporters of traditional learning, who openly defended the merits and advantages of one or the other of the two methodologies.
Digital learning, characterized by a highly successful and continuously growing trend, especially, but not only, by an audience of young students who have earned the title of 'digital natives', has a number of advantages from its indisputable. Among these we can mention the ease of use in any place and time, at the discretion of the person who wants to learn, and the possibility of repeating the learning process every time that it is necessary to use a multiplicity of tools available, things not possible in traditional classroom teaching.
To these two advantages that allow access to knowledge to an increasing number of people, it must be emphasized that the digital training methodology has acquired over the years an increasing number of techniques that allow to generate more and more teaching material effective in learning itself e pleasant use.
There are many tools available to the teacher-designer expert in online training, such as images, audio, video, infographic material, infinite access to the web, forms of interaction and direct dialogue, which allow to break down the teaching material in the necessary didactic forms, to recompose it in the desired way and itself necessary for the acquisition complete and effective information in its entirety and complexity.
The careful use of these tools also allows, by producing clear, effective and pleasant teaching materials, to overcome the difficulties and mistrust, once multiple and widespread but now increasingly more residual, by non-young people who do not they have great computer skills. The use of devices for daily use has become, among other things, more and more simplified and intuitive and this makes it gradually more natural to use them without finding insurmountable difficulties for practically anyone.
However, even the traditional classroom teaching, if of quality, also possesses valuable elements that are difficult to ignore and which are not easy to give up. The presence, visibility, circularity of the contextual interlocution, which is bidirectional, between the individual and the teacher and vice versa, give communicative spaces of great wealth not reproducible in other forms of distance education. The classroom itself talks and discusses not only with the teacher involved, but also with itself, through the most complete sharing of the material acquired, sharing and highlighting ideas, points of view personal, and filling in good safety the educational aspects that may be in some moments or for some people less clear than others.
All of this is important because the learning process is unique and personal and putting it in common in the classroom allows you to indicate different ways to learn certain contents and illustrates new ways of seeing things.
The classroom is par excellence the moment of sharing, the recomposition of the teaching material, first wisely broken down by the teacher into its single and elementary parts, and the comparison that takes place with the material itself, with the teacher and with the other learners who live, at the same time, but with individual and different ways, the same ongoing learning process.
Blended Learning: Effective and flexible training
In Blended learning, mobile learning and classroom learning meet and draw all advantages arising from both teaching methods. The desired and chosen contents are first acquired in individual learning through the desired device and in the times that the learner deems indicated, and then meet in the classroom, where the learning discourse is re-examined with the very remarkable benefit of the presence of the teacher and the group of people taking the course.
The results of this form of teaching and learning have shown themselves extremely positive and blended learning is proving more and more as one of the most interesting forms of learning among those used today.
A new and lively field of interest opens up in the world of education and pedagogy, both academic and business, with good effective e-learning together with a good effective classroom with a very long and indisputable tradition. These two paths They merge teaching overcoming problems the rarefaction of the relational aspects produced by the lack of direct visibility and the distance between the interlocutors and producing an active participation of the people involved and a very high level of satisfaction among the users of the courses.
Blended learning should not be considered as a sum between two elements, one of online training and one of classroom training, but rather the result of a specific project, aimed and conceived to clearly define and share in the group of learners contents, objectives and methodologies study and work. The classroom is the fundamental space for comparison and sharing, as well as a space for complete and effective verification of the entire learning process.
If our pedagogy strongly focuses on overcoming dependence for the achievement of individual autonomy, it would be desirable that it had, from the first steps of the individual educational path, already the most proper aspects of andragogy, where the aim is the recognition of mutual interdependence .
The classroom is the space in which the relationship takes place, the space of human and cognitive sociality and where people overcome problems, share what they learn together, but also define others, themselves and the system of relationships that accompanies them and It features.
If e-learning has the aim of acquiring individual skills, and has achieved excellent results in this aspect, blended learning has the dual purpose of making learning as a series of skills learned and also shared, generating a team of people who, in addition to learning new skills, are able to work effectively together for the benefit of the company and the people who make up the group.