There has been an emergence of blended learning within the last decade, where teachers are engaged in online and traditional classes. Through blended learning, experiential learning has impacted how teachers and students interact with educational content resulting in a dramatic shift in the entire education ecosystem (Heafner et al., 2019). Online classes have been the new norm in some parts of the world at every education level. However, even with the dramatic shift in the education ecosystem, what remains the same is instructing students. Education is still student-centered, and teachers remain the authority figure in the classroom. For example, in terms of blended learning, a student can decide whether to attend traditional classes and supplement lesson plans by completing online coursework or vice versa.
Some of the theories that undergird the evident changes in the instruction methods have been behaviorism, cognitive constructivism, and social constructivism. Through behaviorism, knowledge is perceived as a repertoire of behavioral responses to stimuli within the environment (Gary and McBlain, 2015). Cognitive constructivism views the knowledge system as a mental structure actively developed by students concerning pre-existing cognitive structures (Gary and McBlain, 2015). On the other hand, social constructivism perceives knowledge as a social context where interactions define the knowledge community.
The primary reason that has triggered online and blended classes have been the improvement in technology. As technology keeps on innovating, it becomes the responsibility of the teachers to guide learners (Ostashewski et al., 2017)rs on the best use of technology while undertaking their studies. Through technology, online and blended learning has increased flexibility, allowing students to control where and when they learn. Another role of the educator, specific to online learning, is cheerleading. Like every other learning environment, the teacher must ensure learners get the encouragement they need to feel part of the learning process (Bull, 2013). For example, unless the student is made to feel a sense of belonging to a school environment, the morale of the learner declines resulting in self-negative comments about the student.
Bull, B. (2013). Eight Roles of an Effective Online Teacher. Faculty Focus | Higher Ed Teaching & Learning.
Gray, C., & MacBlain, S. (2015). Learning theories in childhood. Los Angeles: SAGE.
Heafner, T., Hartshorne, R., & Thripp, R. (2019). Handbook of research on emerging practices and methods for K-12 online and blended learning. Hershey, PA IGI Global.
Ostashewski, N., Howell, J., & Cleveland-Innes, M. (2017). Optimizing K-12 education through online and blended learning. Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference.