Panel to examine the potential of blended learning

A recent Brandon Hall Research workplace survey found that a mix of Web technologies that include face-to-face learning is more effective than either e-learning or face-to-face instructional approaches alone. The survey has spurred York’s Institute for Research on Learning Technologies (IRLT) to explore the use and potential of blended learning further by hosting a panel discussion on the topic.

The Blended Learning for Advancing Education & Workplace Learning panel discussion will take place Thursday, April 2 from 12:15 to 2:30pm in 1009 TEL Building, Keele campus.

The panel organizer, Jean Adams (right), a policy professor in York’s Schulich School of Business and acting associate director of the IRLT, is a contributing author to the Brandon Hall Research publication, The Real Story: Blended Learning. Adams has incorporated blended learning into her teaching for years and uses it in her introductory business course at Schulich – Managing Contemporary Enterprise – with more than 400 students.

“My work shows, as does the Brandon Hall report, that blended use of Web technologies enriches learning by accelerating, deepening and broadening personal and collective learning. Best of all, Web-based content integrated with face-to-face can support highly individualized learning,” says Adams.

“Exploring the use of blending can both engage students as well as offer interesting models for instructors who wish to push the boundaries. As well, this generation of incoming students is very conversant with the Web. In my opinion, we miss an enormous opportunity when we confine learning to traditional pedagogies.”

York economics Professor Avi Cohen (left), dean’s adviser, TEL Initiatives, who is another early adopter of technology in the classroom, will moderate the panel discussion. Elizabeth Watson, head of Schulich’s Peter F. Bronfman Business Library, will showcase new products being used to support and extend classroom learning. Ian Lumb, manager, network operations, will provide insights on general trends in demand and capacity for network provisioning aimed at pushing the boundaries of education.

Current initiatives in professional learning for teachers and effective ways blended approaches can be used to enrich learning will be discussed by Janet Murphy (right), director of the Advanced Broadband Enabled Learning (ABEL) program for York’s Office of the Vice-President Research & Innovation, and Tania Sterling, project manager of ABEL’s Learning Connections program. They will also share examples of how the ABEL blended learning model is used in education, health care, research and in the private sector.

Lynne Zucker, director of education and health at Sun Microsystems of Canada, will share her thoughts on immersive learning environments and the promise they hold for enhancing learning, while York Professor Mary Leigh Morbey, acting director of IRLT, will give an overview of the Uganda Museum Web site development project and the ways in which technologies are being used to enrich and advance learning in museums.

The potential that blended learning offers in terms of meeting learning styles and preferences and how this is informing practice in her organization will be examined by Rita Hanesiak (left), senior manager of Scotiabank’s Global Performance and Learning Office.

Manager of York’s Faculty Support Centre Rob Finlayson will offer a University-wide view of the use of different technologies to support and extend classroom learning and what the future holds. Ros Woodhouse (right), academic director of York’s Centre for the Support of Teaching, will highlight new expectations for higher education in Canada and the opportunities for blended learning to help meet these expectations.

RSVP for the Blended Learning for Advancing Education & Workplace Learning panel discussion by clicking here.