A Blended Learning Approach to Enhancing Innovation
Tom PAGE1, Gisli THORSTEINSSON2, Andrei NICULESCU3
1 Loughborough University, UK
2 University of Iceland, Iceland
3 Spiru Haret University, Romania
Abstract: This paper introduces blended learning as a pedagogical approach, which was explored through the European project InnoEd and the way InnoEd undertook by using the on-line InnoEd VRLE. European educators in the InnoEd project have utilised a range of learning activities to help improve Innovation Education. A mixture of lectures, visual diagrams, assessments and group activities has up to date been the mainstay of classroom training. Blended learning is a combination of all these many approaches and the use of ICT in ODL.
Blended learning can take many forms. In one course, a teacher may assign weekly self-paced online modules to a group of learners and also periodically bring the group together for in-person sessions, presentations and group discussions. Another blended learning program may bring together a menu of online reading materials, self-paced tutorials allowing learners to choose the mode that best meets their learning style and then demonstrate their understanding of the materials by completing an online assessment.
The definition of blended learning is a combination of different online learning modes, or of online and in-person learning. Blended learning is becoming more common in the educational world with the availability of both synchronous and asynchronous online learning options.
Keywords: Blended Learning, The InnoEd, online in-service teacher course, Innovation Education training, VRLE, Managed Learning Environment, learning theories.
CITE THIS PAPER AS:
Tom PAGE, Gisli THORSTEINSSON, Andrei NICULESCU, A Blended Learning Approach to Enhancing Innovation, Studies in Informatics and Control, ISSN 1220-1766, vol. 17 (3), pp. 297-304, 2008.
The context of the article is the development of the InnoEd project and its supporting pedagogy. The background was a curriculum development work aimed at improving Innovation Education in Europe. Blended learning was implemented in the InnoEd (see figure 2) in order to improve the Conventional Innovation Education in Europe.
The InnoEd project aims at improving in-service Innovation Education teacher and students skill and knowledge within the Virtual Reality Learning Environment (VRLE). The InnoEd VRLE (see figure 2) was used to help teachers to facilitate the management of Innovation Educational courses.
It focused on the use of new learning technologies using managed learning environment for teachers in innovation education. The VRLE supports Internet and database technologies, to facilitate blended learning. The InnoEd project uses the VRLE platform as a tool to facilitate the way the participants work together. It is a continuous meeting place for them, a stable base to work from and at the same time an easily accessible archive of the entire InnoEd project teaching material all the undertaken activities are based on.
This paper firstly reports the InnoEd project. Secondly, it defines and demonstrates possibilities inherent by using VRLE Managed Learning Environment in the context of blended learning as a way of improving Innovation Education.
- BONK, C. J., GRAHAM, C. R. (2006). The handbook of blended learning: Global perspectives, local de- signs. San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer Publishing.
- BRICKEN, M., BYRNE C. M. (1993). Summer students in virtual reality: A pilot study on educational applications of virtual reality technology. In A. Wexelblat (Ed.), Virtual reality applications and explorations. Cambridge, MA: Academic Press Professional.
- BRICKEN, M. (1991). Virtual Reality Learning Environments: Potentials and Challenges. Human Interface Technology Laboratory, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. http://www.hitl.washington.edu/publications/.
- CERGHIT, I. (2002) Alternative and complementary instruction systems. Structures, styles and strategies – Bucharest: Aramis Publishing (Romanian original title: Sisteme de instruire alternative şi complementare. Structuri, stiluri şi strategii).
- CROOK, C. (1994). Computers and the collaborative experience of learning. London: Routledge.
- HALL, B. (2001). New Technology Definitions. Accessed via www.brandonhall.com/public/glossary/ index.htm (3. July 2005)
- Joint Information Systems Committee: http://www.jisc.ac.uk.
- JONASSEN, D. H. (2000) Computers as mind tools for schools. Engaging critical thinking. Saddle River. NJ: Prentice Hall.
- NEACŞU, I. (2006) Independent academic learning -a methodological approach. Bucharest: Bucharest University Press (Romanian original title: Învăţarea academică independentă-ghid metodologic)
- VUORIKARI, R. (2004). Insight Special Report: Why Europe Needs Free and Open Source Software and Content in Schools. http://www.eun.ofg/insight-pdf/special_reports/Why_Europe_needs_foss_Insifgt.pdf, assessed 19 January 2005.
- VYGOTSKY, L. S. (1978). Mind in society. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
- WILSON, T., WHITELOCK D. (1998). What are the perceived benefits of participating in a computer-mediated communication (CMC) environment for distance learning computer science students? Computers and Education 30(3/4), pp. 259-269.