How to Leverage Emerging Learning Technologies to Engage Students in Blended Learning: Innovative Instructional Strategies & Best Practices

Concurrent Session 1
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Brief Abstract

In this session, the presenters will lead conversations on strategies and best practices to leverage emerging learning technologies to engage students in blended learning in different educational settings. In addition, a collection of best practices and effective strategies for leveraging merging learning technologies in blended learning environment will be shared with the audience. 

Presenters

Meina Zhu is Assistant Professor in the Learning Design and Technology program at Wayne State University. Her research interests include online education, MOOCs, self-directed learning, STEM education, and active learning. Contact: meinazhu@wayne.edu

Additional Authors

Ke Zhang is a Professor in Learning Design and Technology at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, USA. As a multi-lingual, international educator and researcher, her work focuses on e-learning, innovative technologies and emerging methods for research and development. Her collaborative research is supported by federal government and agencies, like National Institute of Health and the US Department of Health and Human Services, as well as private foundations, with multi-million grants to design, develop and research on emerging technologies for education, professional development, and health information management. Dr. Zhang is also a popular speaker and consultant in Asia, Eurasia, the Middle East, Latin America and North America. She has consulted for large scaled projects and initiatives by international organizations (e.g., UNESCO, World Bank, etc.), national governments and agencies (Singapore, Japan, etc.), corporations, educational institutions (e.g., Moscow State University, Russia, Detroit Public School District, USA, etc.) and healthcare systems (e.g., Henry Ford Health Systems, USA, Developmental Disability Center, etc.) in the USA and overseas. Inquiries are welcome by email to: prof.zhang@gmail.com.

Extended Abstract

 

Introduction

An increasing number of universities and corporates are adopting blended learning, which combines face-to-face (FTF) instruction with online instruction (Bonk & Graham, 2006; Voos, 2003; Ward & LaBranche, 2003). Researchers found three primary advantages of choosing blended learning: (1) enhancing pedagogy, (2) increasing access and flexibility, and (3) improving cost-effectiveness (Graham, Allen, & Ure, 2005). Regarding pedagogy, researchers consider that blended learning can increase learning effectiveness, efficiency, satisfaction, performance (Lim & Morris, 2009), engagement (Owston, York, & Murtha, 2013), attendance (Stockwell, Stockwell, Cennamo, & Jiang, 2015), and collaboration (So & Brush, 2008). For example, research found that the success rates for BL were higher than either fully traditional face-to-face or completely online courses (Graham, 2013). 

Second, blended learning has potentials to increase access and flexibility (Graham, 2006; Moskal et al., 2013). Given that blended learning provides flexibility to instructors and students in terms of time and locations for online instruction (King & Arnold, 2012), it potentially increases access to possible learners (Piper, 2010).

Last, blended learning can improve cost-effectiveness (Graham, 2013) as it may lower operating costs than traditional on FTF learning (Vaughan, 2007). 

The affordance of the emerging learning technologies is vital in blended learning (Gan, Menkhoff, & Smith, 2015). Emerging learning technologies such as augmented reality/virtual reality, artificial intelligence, big data, gamification, wearable technologies, asynchronous online meeting technologies, and collaborative technologies provide opportunities for instructional innovations. 

However, research indicated that technologies can hinder teaching and learning if not used properly (Bower et al., 2015; Park & Bonk, 2007). Therefore, effective strategies for leveraging these emerging learning technologies to engage students in blended learning are critical. 

In this session, the presenters will lead conversations on how to leverage the emerging technologies to engage learners in blended learning environment. The following learning technologies will be discussed: 

  • Augmented reality (AR) /virtual reality (VR)
  • Artificial intelligence (AI)
  • Big data 
  • Gamification 
  • Wearable technologies 
  • Asynchronous online meeting technologies
  • Collaborative technologies
  • Social media

Examples of using these technologies in blended learning in different educational settings will be provided as discussion prompts. The presenters will also share a collection of best practices leveraging emerging technologies in blended learning. 

Plan for interactivity

Session participants will be engaged in conversations, questions and answers, discussions, experience sharing, and live polling and many other interactive activities throughout the session. Presenters will use Poll Everywhere to retain participants in meaningful discussions, prompts, and polling items throughout the session. Presenters will show a collection of examples and non-examples using a wide range of emerging technologies, highlight some of the most effective strategies, and will engage participants in hands-on activities using selected emerging technologies. For example, using interactive polling, presenters will find out the ways in which participants have been involved in adopting emerging learning technologies to engage learners in blended learning. The session will briefly share examples of successful use of emerging learning technologies in blended learning as discussion prompts. Following that, the session will have a brainstorming activity to share possible instructional strategies for using emerging learning technologies to engage learners in blended learning. Among all the strategies that emerge in the brainstorming activity, the participants will vote their top 10 instructional strategies that they will use in their own educational settings through Poll Everywhere. The session will conclude with top 10 practical instructional strategies for leveraging emerging learning technologies to engage learners in bended learning environment.

The takeaways

Attendees in this session will actively engage in discussions on effective strategies for leveraging emerging learning technologies in blended learning environments. In the end, the attendees will learn top 10 practical instructional strategies for leveraging emerging learning technologies to engage learners in blended learning in different educational settings.