The rise of blended learning and the role of the tutor

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Over the past few years, the UK’s professional qualifications market has seen a significant uptick in demand for blended learning solutions. From the pandemic, which propelled educational institutions into the unknowns of virtual learning, to the cost-of-living crisis that has seen many adult learners prioritise work over study, the interest in flexible study options is only set to grow.

A shift in expectations

In a post-pandemic world, colleges are finding that learners are expecting digital course elements to form part of their learning experience. To balance professional development with financial pressures, they want flexible study options that will allow them to consider the short term while also investing in their future.

Employers are also seeking professional development that fits around work commitments. In a recent Forbes article, it was predicted that 39% of knowledge workers will have adopted a hybrid working pattern by the end of 2023, indicating an increase in the demand for flexible training options.

Further, during discussions with Mindful Education, AAT reported a recent significant shift in what employers are looking for in a training provider. Most employers who approach them want in-person delivery as well as the ability to access online resources, anytime, anywhere.

With blended learning fast becoming the preferred solution, the quality of the offer becomes a key element.

Not all blended learning is created equal

Some programmes categorised as ‘blended’ are actually online lectures mixed with self-study – there is no classroom-based study. The most effective form of blended learning allows learners to study independently, and on their own terms, when and how they want, with access to a tutor and face-to-face sessions. And the best planned programmes tend to be based on flipped delivery – where learners study online, prior to a taught session in a classroom. This means tutors have more time to focus on difficult concepts with learners, providing coaching and guidance to embed learning.

With the addition of new technologies and the shift in delivery models, tutors are asking how blended learning will impact what they do in the classroom? 

The evolving role of the tutor

Traditionally, classroom-based learning has been syllabus-led, with a top-down approach leaving little room for differentiation. But with the establishment of blended learning, tutors have been able to adopt a more learner-driven approach, with the ability to tailor the support they provide. They can interact with individual learners online and face-to-face – wherever and however is most suitable. Most notably, blended learning has allowed tutors to track learner progression online, and in real time, so they have the information they need to provide meaningful support. Combined with high-quality resources readily available via VLEs, tutors can focus more on planning and preparing classroom sessions around the areas learners find challenging, which in turn means that they can have a greater impact on learner outcomes.

Mindful Education spoke to college tutors across the country about their experiences of blended learning and here’s what they had to say:

“Coming from where we used to have to build our own resources, have the lessons and get them ready, I would recommend it because it gives the tutor and the learner an opportunity to develop and exceed. The development and support I’ve had from Mindful exceeds all my expectations… Working with Mindful Education has been brilliant.” Samantha Carnegie, Accounting and AAT Course Leader, Westminster Adult Education Service

“The Mindful approach has embedded technology in our teaching. It has not taken away the role of the teacher, but I can focus more on reinforcing knowledge and coaching students.” Raymond Njoroge, Senior AAT Tutor, Harlow College

“The quality of the online resources, the questions, the answers. You know we’re getting everything and it’s amazing. It really makes my job so much easier. I’ve been very lucky because Mindful Education has done the legwork for me. The teaching team becomes… coaches, which is really what they should be doing.” MIke Webster, AAT Tutor, Cardiff and Vale College.

Your blended learning partner for professional qualifications

At Mindful Education we produce flexible, award-winning blended learning courses and apprenticeships that continue to set new standards in digital education. We’re an edtech company that specialises in blended learning for professional qualifications including accounting, management, law, business and human resources. A compelling mix of academic expertise, technology and creativity, our courses bring learning to life and achieve outstanding results.

If you’re interested in running Online and On Campus courses and apprenticeships, email our Partnerships team:[email protected]

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*This content is brought to you by Mindful Education

Mindful Education create award-winning online courses and apprenticeships which set a new standard in the digital delivery of education.

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