An Examination of a Blended Skills Lab Model to Teach Practice to Online Students
Concurrent Session 1
Using Carman's five constructs of blended learning (live events, online content, collaboration, assessment, reference materials), this interactive workshop explores the use of a blended skills lab model for teaching practice skills to online students. The model will be used as a case study, offering implications for others to consider.
The growth of online education has significantly impacted higher education over the last two decades. Online education provides opportunities for widening and expanding access to education, particularly social work education (Kurzman, 2013). This growth of online education can also be seen as an effective response to the need for an increased workforce of social work professionals. Despite the growth of online education, some educators continue to express concerns regarding the effectiveness of online courses, especially online practice courses. A blended approach may be a great strategy to address these concerns.
Courses and programs that combine internet-based and traditional face-to-face education components are often referred to as hybrid, web-enhanced, mixed mode, or blended (Miller & King, 2003). The Online Learning Consortium's (2016) definition of blended (hybrid) online courses is one where most course activity is completed online, but there are some required face-to-face instructional activities such as lectures, discussions, labs, or other in-person learning activities. For purposes of this paper, the terms "blended" and "hybrid" are used interchangeably. Blended or hybrid courses are offered by nearly four out of five (79%) public institutions of higher education in the U.S. (McGee & Reis, 2012). Research suggests that blended courses can have a positive impact on efficiency, convenience, and learning outcomes (Stein & Graham, 2014). Blended courses may enhance student satisfaction and engagement (Kuo et al., 2014). When properly implemented, blended learning can result in improved student success, satisfaction, and retention (University of Central Florida, 2018). Blended courses have proven to be popular choices for students because they allow students opportunities to have the best of both worlds, the flexibility of an online course and the benefits of the face-to-face classroom (Drysdale et al., 2013).
Jared M. Carman, a leader in instructional technology, developed an instructional design model for blended learning. Applying the learning theories of Keller (1987), Gagné (1985), Bloom (1956), Merrill (2002), Clark (2002), and Gery (2002), Carman's framework proposes five constructs (live events, self-paced learning, collaboration, assessment, and reference materials) that are important elements of a blended learning process. Live events are instructor-led learning events in which all learners participate at the same time, such as in a live virtual classroom. Self-paced learning addresses learning experiences that the learner completes individually, at their own speed and on their own time, such as interactive weekly assignments, internet-based training, as well as synchronous activities, such as discussion boards, reading assignments, and quizzes. Collaborations involve engagement with peers to develop problem-solving skills (Carman, 2005). Assessment, the fourth component of the Carman model, is a measure of the learners' knowledge and includes measurements of whether or to what extent learning has taken place. Finally, reference materials or performance support materials allow students to access reference materials that enhance learning retention and transfer. This includes online videos and optional content that is not covered in a traditional class due to time constraints, such as PDA downloads and PDFs.
Carman’s (2005) five key ingredients should be considered by programs in the development of blended learning courses. These ingredients may be especially helpful when developing blended skills labs to teach practice content to online students. This interactive workshop session is designed to examine the use of a blended skills lab model for teaching practice skills to online students. Questions such as the following will be addressed: How do I structure the live events? What tools should I use for collaboration? How do I effectively divide the content into asynchronous and synchronous sessions? These questions and many more will be answered in this session. The skills lab model will be used as a case study, offering implications for others to consider as they formulate similar models for their online students.
Level of Participation:
This session will be highly interactive and engaging. Tools such as Kahoots and Nearpod will be used for participant interactions throughout the presentation. Winners of Kahoots will win a special prize.
Individuals attending this workshop will be able to discuss the benefits of blended learning with special attention to Carman's five constructs of blended learning. Attendees will also explore a blended skills lab model that can be implemented in their online course or program.
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Stein, J., & Graham, C. R. (2014). Essentials for blended learning: A standards based guide. Routledge. University of Central Florida [UCF]. (2018). Blended learning toolkit. https://blended.online.ucf.edu/about/benefits-of-blended-learning/