The world is a more objective oriented environment these days. With the concepts of institutional learning and the definition of the term 'traditional student' changing all the time, so is the approach towards how educational instruction and training can be delivered in such a way as to make the learning process as individualized and effective, with a deeper emphasis on direct-individual attention and the accommodation of more students with specific responsibilities and needs which would render them unable to pursue classroom based learning.

The modern student

Today's new generation of students is no longer limited to fresh high-school graduates. Indeed, most of the students entering higher education are much more mature (the average age is 24) and come from more diverse backgrounds than ever before. Many students (80%) are proficient in the use of computer programs and the internet by the time they reach senior high, with many reporting that they had used some form of social media or other information sharing website, while almost all report the use of internet search engines to help research (and sometimes copy) homework assignments. The presence of MySpace, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube have changed the way the younger generation (of school, university or professional learners) interacts with each other and with static or dynamic information - using the web. Today, online customization allows you to mould yourself an environment of your own in cyberspace, connecting with those people and that information (news, sports, opera... anything) which you wish to connect to only; so why not try to apply the same principles to learning? The concept of distance and online learning is becoming a new way of life, and probably the future, for modern education.

Blended learning based on the web

Blended education is a type of education in which a large percentage of traditional classroom learning is replaced with web-based learning models (like online classrooms or automated teaching and testing systems), while face-to-face interaction is limited to those cases where such interaction is necessary.

Factors related to blended learning:

Blended education thus involves the replacement of 25-75 percent of classroom time with web based teaching. The mix actually depends upon the nature and type of the course, preferred teaching techniques, the instructor's experience level and the nature and type of students involved in the course or program. The most important component in any blended course is the quality and availability of online knowledge resources made accessible to students; such resources include a digital online library (many are already in use all over the world even for traditional campus-based courses), repository of lecture slides and online information links available for free use - there are already several commercial and open-source (free) e-learning management systems in use throughout the world which allow institutions to often place an entire curriculum online for students to access as they wish. Already, at least half of the courses offered at traditional institutions involve the use of some online resources as well as web-based communication.

Another major factor in today's blended environment is the use of online forums, limited access e-mail and online discussion groups - various systems (blogs, chat rooms and e-mail) - which help students engage in interactive study without the need to be present in the same classroom; the comfort level of modern students with this type of online interaction environment allows students to potentially learn much more (especially with the internet and Google at their command) than they would in a traditional setting.

References:

Wikipedia
Higher Education, Blended Learning and the Generations: tlc[dot]ucalgary[dot]ca/documents/chuck.doc

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Author's Bio: 

Frank Johnson is a staff writer for SchoolsGalore.com. Find online schools, online colleges, universities, vocational schools and a lot more distance learning schools at SchoolsGalore.com, your resource for higher education.