A Case for Blended Learning

By Grace Mersch

September 9, 2020

Junior Aurey Barrios on her in-person “A Day”

2020 has been no normal year. Since the beginning of March, we’ve experienced things we could never imagine — worldwide lockdowns, cancellations and even a record-breaking economic depression. Among these things, there is maybe nothing more relevant to us as students than blended learning.

Blended learning, also known as hybrid learning, is a method of education that involves partial online learning mixed with in-person classes select days a week. Norwood High School, along with hundreds of other high schools, elementary schools and colleges across the country have adopted this learning schedule for the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year.

Of course, there are plenty of criticisms of this learning style. Many students miss seeing their friends, while others believe in-person classes provide an effective learning environment that cannot be replicated through a computer screen. On top of this, thousands of parents do not have a schedule that can be altered to meet the demands of learning from home.

On the other hand, there is a whole other group of people who have faith that blended learning might prove itself to be more effective than we have thought it to be, and I am one of those people.

Since participating in remote learning since the middle of March, I’ve been able to experience education like never before. Instead of working seven hours a day, five days a week, I found myself spending about three or four hours on schoolwork each day. Not to mention the fact that there was no such thing as homework when I was working from home already.

I was able to cook almost every meal I ate. I was able to spend more time on classes I needed to, and less time on those I didn’t. And most importantly? I was happier.

I recognize the fact that blended learning is not the same as remote learning. I still have to go to school two days a week with the blended learning schedule, but I also still have three days a week where I could spend time on things that matter to me. And for me, that’s enough.

Blended learning might prove itself to be especially beneficial for colleges and universities, in a place where many students live on campus and have an environment that is suitable for working from their dorm room.

I also recognize that the remote learning or blended learning experience is not the same for everyone, and that’s okay. Especially in middle school or high school, many kids don’t have a quiet space in their house to learn. And younger children aren’t familiar enough with technology to be able to learn online, or their parents might not be able to be involved enough in assuming the position of their director.

Blended learning should definitely not be implemented for everyone in the future, but I feel like it deserves to be seen as an option for those interested down the line — pandemic or not.