BLENDED


“In the future we will not speak of ‘blended’ education anymore, we will only talk of good education – and it will naturally involve a thoughtful integration of ‘face to face’ and online learning and teaching.”

From an interview (2021) by Tikvah Breimer with Wiebe Dijkstra, Coordinator Blended Learning Developers at TU/Delft. Collaborated on two Erasmus+ Programmes on Blended Higher Education (EMBED (2017-2020) and DigitelPro (2022).



“I always felt ‘blended’ was like something superimposed on us with quite some pressure. But the [StudioBlended] workshop made me realise, that I was confusing ‘hybrid’ and ‘blended’, and i became aware of just how biased I had entered the workshop and I had many eye openers.” 

One of the senior teachers participating in our workshop ‘Blended: reenvisioning face to face time’. See under ‘Client portfolio’



Are you curious for more? Would you like to get in touch? Feel free to contact our lead directly for any questions or inquiries you may have. tikvah@studioblended.com +31 6 42 47 29 69


Photo: Breimer.

Blended

‘Blended’ is characterised by the thoughtful integration of physical/analogue with remote/online teaching and learning. As a Studio we transition away from a traditional conceptualisation of the ‘face to face’ time involved, and reimagine ‘face to face’ as premium time for learning and teaching, supported and enriched by the presence of online platforms.

‘Blended’ is often controversial but as a Studio we don’t shy away from it. We dare to lead the way.

There is no one blended format that fits all. Each design is unique. Perhaps in one context, the cost and time of travelling as well as the climate impact, lead a course/training coordinator to design mostly remote components. This offers the attractiveness of flexibility and the possibility of decentralisation. Perhaps in another context, so-called ‘traditional’ face to face time is considered as the only viable and accepted option locally, and the structure it provides for a cohort of learners is fiercely protected with only a small remote component.

Rather than a dichotomy, either face to face or remote education, the two become intertwined in a meaningful way in order to amplify the learning curve. 




Our Design Studio



Image [click to expand]: blended learning wave model by Breimer (after TU-Delft, Wiebe Dijkstra) as used in our resilience teacher training (2021) to design for a face-to-face moment in a course. The horizontal lines point to time, the organic line is the learning journey of the student going through asynchronous, synchronous and face to face moments. Here a drawing of a face-to-face moment in education by Tannya Pico, PhD candidate at Erasmus University doing research into Nature Based Solutions (NBS).

Envisioning excercise in ‘live time optimisation’ during our resilience course. One of the participating teachers made this drawing for her course design, using a playful sketch of a blended learning wave.

Image [click to expand]: model based on TU Delft / WP Dijkstra adapted by Breimer.

Example of a possible subsequent ‘blended’ and transdisciplinary learning journey: a thoughtful integration of asychronous and synchronous.

Our Audio Podcast



Prefer to read? Looking for resources? Transcript
Listen on: Acast Spotify Apple
Release Dec 21 ‘22       

Where to begin, to design with a blended approach?

This Audio Podcast special edition episode is all about the premium time that face to face has become in education, and how you can use it, to design with qualitative guidelines of flexibility and accessibility, and pedagogy unique for your content. You need a bespoke approach. Allow this episode to bring you simplicity.

Related media mentions

The paper below featured in a qualitative Dutch newspaper, NRC Handelsblad, under ‘NRC Future Affairs’ on June 19, 2021.


Breimer, Tikvah, Browne, Nigel & Bart Slob 2021 ‘Envisioning blended higher education in post-lockdown Europe: Reflections on experience, needs and risks through a pedagogical lens.’ Conference on the Future of Europe.



Related communities

Did you know there is a national blended learning community in The Netherlands (Surf)? You can easily join, even today, in a couple of clicks, and stay in touch with peer experts, stay updated on a realitycheck of what works and doesn't, and join free workshops to stay updated on various models for blended design. It's mostly in Dutch.

To illustrate: a workshop on the 4C/ID model, very suitable for designing for an architectural curriculum. For user experiences see for instance Maastricht.

Related publications

Have a look at some noteworthy recent publications.

‘Many people still associate blended learning with emergency remote teaching we were forced into due to the covid pandemic. So why would online and face-to-face teaching together work well? Wouldn’t it work better without the online component? On top of that, past research has mainly focused on the online component of blended learning. This study makes it clear that the success of blended learning also rests on the quality of the integrated face-to-face activities. Based on this review study, face-to-face activities should have a focus on either higher-order learning, and / or increasing engagement and / or creating social interaction.’ Brouwer et al (eds) 2023, p. 32-35 (Review of Buhl-Wiggers 2022).


Image: The campus of the future is a combination of solid, liquid and gas” – from traditional campus model to virtual model (and back) – slide from the inaugural speech of Prof. Alexandra den Heijder, November 13, 2019

Universities across Europe have the ambition to become climate neutral - and this very much also relates to building management, and stimulates universities to ‘go blended’. Campus of the future: the virtual campus emerged - but the physical campus stayed. It leads to the rise of ‘blended’ education.

The ambition to become carbon neutral, envisons a campus that is circular, healthy, and biodiverse. Such a climate action requires major commitment and participation from all faculties and departments.

Universities are big consumers of energy. Their real estate tends to be large, diverse and fragmented. High energy consumption is inherent to their operations.

We are looking at a scale on which the campus is still physical - and goes virtual. Having less need for expansion of the physical space, implies less environmental pressure coming from brick, gas and water.

At the same time,
‘the more digital our daily activities become, the more we appreciate old-school, analogue alternatives… as counterweights. Not to replace them, but in binary combinations. And so, environmental pressure, and financial resources, lead to strategic choices to preserve the university’s heritage and legacy, offering a home base to return to for a virtual community - whilst also accommodating for more remote learning and teaching’
Den Heijer 2021.

The strategic choice by your management may be further amplified by the ambition to decentralise, or go to scale.

New policy at your university may be translated into a % of education you, as course/degree coordinator may teach on-campus / remote respectively. Or perhaps, quite a contrary experience, at your university, the tradition of face to face is actually stimulated in a top-down way.



The irreplaceable value and impact of ‘face to face’ interaction, is further confirmed by neuroscience in this new study by Yale neuroscientist Joy Hirsch and colleagues. They ‘compared the neural responses of people having face-to-face conversations and those talking on Zoom. They found that Zoom significantly reduces the neural signaling in the brain regions that govern social communication.

The researchers observed that face-to-face interactions involve more dynamic facial cues, more gaze time, more pupil dilation, and more coordinated neural activity between the conversing partners. These are all indicators of increased arousal and face processing ability in the brain.’ (Associate Professor Jonathan Boymal RMIT university).

So, how do you know which teaching to do on ZOOM, and which to do ‘face to face’? Remember that ‘despite its convenience, online representations of faces appear not to have the same access to the social neural circuitry in the brain as the real thing.’

More design angles we use

Technical resilience
Human resilience
Modular
Evidence-based design
Financial health and resilience by (re)design
Innovative and deep pedagogy
Multi- Inter- and transdisciplinary
Blended
Bichronous
Designed to be green (and technological simplicity)
Nature and aspirations
Flexibilisation and personalisation
Simplicity and decluttering


References

Den Heijer, A.C. 2021. Campus of the future: Managing a matter of solid, liquid and gas. Technical University Delft (TU/D) Research. 

Buhl-Wiggers, J., Kjærgaard, A., & Munk, K. (2022). How face-to-face activities impact the success of Blended Learning Publication: A scoping review of experimental evidence on face-to-face components of blended learning in higher education. Studies in Higher Education, 1-23

Enora Bennetot Pruvot and Veronika Kupriyanova 2022 Universities, the energy crisis and the cost-cutting trap

Surf Future Campus trend report: A look at the Future of the Campus in 2040.

Surf 2023. The Science Behind Blended Learning. Encouraging a more evidence based approach in higher education. 


Zhao, Nan, Zhang, Xian, Noah, J. Adam, Tiede, Mark & Joy Hirsch 2023 ‘Separable processes for live “in-person” and live “zoom-like” faces’. Imaging Neuroscience 1: 1-17.

We are here especially for you as unique professional, to come alongside you and partner with you, as you work on a (architecture / urban / development / policy / land / water / climate) curriculum, so that you can offer effective and resilient education in its simplest form.

StudioBlended Foundation 2024

Prefer to have direct contact?
Feel free:
Tikvah Breimer (MSc MAEd MSc)
Independent senior advisor, teacher trainer, lead
tikvah@studioblended.com
+31 6 42 47 29 69



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We are here especially for you as unique course/training coordinator, to come alongside you and partner with you, as you work on a (architecture / urban / development / policy / land / water / climate) curriculum, so that you can offer effective and resilient education in its simplest form.


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