BLENDED-LEARNING: NEW TRENDS AND EXPERIENCES IN HIGHER EDUCATION
Nowadays the learning methods at universities are under a constant review process. In the last decade, the learning mode has evolved from classroom learning to on-line learning (such as: e-learning, m-learning, e-tutoring). Different technologies have also helped in the choice of learning strategy, now these educational methods are designed to evaluate the student effort. The incorporation of methodologies as Blended-Learning (b-Learning) has allowed that the student can achieve a much more significant learning, at the same time it assumes the responsibility of their own learning. Thereby methodologies focused on blended-learning allow to speed-up the learning process, because it emphasizes in the concept of student-centered teaching. The use of these educational resources allows increase the student motivation factor, while improving the abilities, skills and competences acquired by the student.
b-Learning has become an important concept in higher technical education; it is a effective idea to acquire knowledge if students are motivated. Motivation is essential in the teaching of various knowledge disciplines, especially the associated with the Electrical, Electronics and Telecommunications Engineering. Although this learning model it is not new; it integrates the advantages of e-learning method (multimedia resources, interactive simulations…) with some aspects of traditional method (face-to-face interaction). The incorporation of the b-learning model not only it involves the installation of a learning platform, creation of a blog or a video presentation, but that its purpose is adequately use them to improve the set of activities performed during the academic course.
This paper describes the b-learning experience carried out in an engineering subject. In the classroom have been incorporated active and collaborative methodologies as Problem-based Learning, Challenge Problem or Case Method. Simultaneously these activities were complemented by on-line tasks, to be developed by students out of the classroom, as Webinar (seminars on specific topics), YouTube video viewing, on-line questionnaires and theory pills (brief summaries of contents). This method provides more flexibility in class (main advantage), although the changes in the strategies, contents and learning environments require more advanced assessment methods. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is an indispensable part in modern education, especially due to large number of resources offered by this technology.
In summary it can be concluded that the classroom/on-line model has proven to be highly effective in the development and acquisition of learning specific skills, since it combines interactive tools with learning environments in the classroom. In general, technological tools facilitate the design and implementation of active strategies and it provides a complementary balance between innovative and traditional educational environments. The b-learning combines classroom activities (face-to-face) with virtual activities (on-line) seeking an appropriate balance between them. In this paper, the presented methodology has been suggested as an alternative approach to improve efficiency in the learning process. Some of these tasks provide the student the opportunity to do, research and experiment; stimulating a teaching-learning process of quality in higher education. Most students think that is a positive and innovative methodology although with a different approach.