Blended Learning – The New Buzzwords for Learning English
As communication is the ultimate goal for any language student, the learning process should focus on authentic communication.
A communicative approach to language teaching serves to expose students to authentic language, and includes assignments that simulate real-life tasks, requiring students to use English in real-life situations.
The idea behind this approach is that the circumstances of learning a second or foreign language should be very similar to the way an individual learns his or her first language. Therefore, when learning a new language, skills should not be learned and practiced separately, but simultaneously, and learning should not be confined to drill-type activities in a work book!
ELL courses are designed according to a communicative approach to language instruction, as is evident by the theme-based, skill-based, and task-based designs, inclusion of authentic language (both written and oral), and incorporation of meaningful, contextualized instruction and activities.
Furthermore, ELL courses have been designed to be used in blended learning situations. ‘Blended learning’ refers to a language instruction approach that combines ‘online’ (i.e., computer-based) and ‘offline’ (i.e., teacher-led classes and course books) components to best meet the specific learning needs of an individual or group of individuals.
Such an approach to language instruction provides learners with more varied, interesting, and authentic learning environments, and allows learners to doubly benefit from the independent computer-based work (which is necessary to reach today’s generation of students – of any age!), and the time-tested teacher-led method that provides learners with the structure and guidance they need.
In addition, implementing a blended learning approach ensures that teachers have maximized flexibility (i.e. an ample, varied source of instructional material and assessment tools), and students have lessons that are tailored to their needs.
Therefore, it is no wonder that blended learning environments tend to lead to higher learning achievements!
ELL courses all include online components which provide learners with stimulating sources of authentic language, including videos, listening passages, and reading texts, and then engage students in the independent work made up of valuable and practical activities that allow them to practice all language skills in meaningful contexts, and to receive immediate feedback on all work – including pronunciation and writing.
By combining these online components with offline components – in other words, by implementing a blended approach to language instruction – students will benefit from the autonomous approach to learning (through the computer-based instruction) and also from the chance to partake in communicative, interactive pair-work and group activities, with guidance and feedback from peers and teachers, leading to more effective learning processes and achieving more significant results.