According to a nationwide survey that looked at tech usage in learning, 73% of respondents used the blended teaching model. 28% of teachers said that all classes were blended, while 48% offered some of their classes in this model, showing that blended courses are on the rise.
What is a Blended Course?
Blended courses have an in-class and online portion of the course that complement each other. In the past, blended learning favored in-class segments, as the online class was often treated as an add-on. Now, the online section serves as a purposeful substitution for in-class activities.
A blended course may have a 50/50, 30/70, or 70/30 online vs. in-class split. At least 30% of the course must be completed online or in-class to be designated as a “blended course.” Learners benefit from synchronous learning strategies that include instruction and instant feedback.
How to Effectively Study for a Blended Course
To effectively study for a blended course, you’ll have to combine in-class and online studying advice. Here are 7 essential skills all students studying for a blended course should develop.
1. Great Organizational Skills to Block Out Your Studying Sessions
Finding the motivation to study isn’t easy, so we often wait for inspiration to strike. However, you can’t pass your exams if you don’t force yourself. Sounds harsh, but you likely won’t want to study most of the time. That’s why you need to block out time slots dedicated to studying.
One of the best ways to do this is with a calendar app that integrates with your phone calendar. That way, you’ll receive a notification whenever it’s time to study. If you prefer to use a physical calendar, make sure you block out study times on your school agenda and desk calendar.
2. Good Scheduling Skills to Fit In All Your Lectures and Lab Hours
The online portion of your blended course typically has a deadline that’s more lenient than your in-class lab assignments. Find a reputable medical assistant program that offers some flexibility, but maneuver your schedule around the things you can’t change, like lectures or due dates.
Always remember that you’ll need more time than you think to study for tests. As a rule, you should study 2-3 hours per one hour of class time unless you truly grasp the material.
Your college should give you a class schedule at the beginning of the year, but if that isn’t the case, ask the faculty for one. If your course does offer an online lab portion, keep in mind that these are more common in intro courses and don’t translate to 200-level courses and up.
3. Decision-Making Skills to Build a Strong Case in Your Essays
When you take a test, you’re making small decisions that lead up to your final score. Your choice of words, resources, or arguments can make the difference between a passing or failing grade. Decision-making skills also come into play when you’re creating a course schedule.
For example, if you want to take a language course in your first year, but you can only find a course available at night, you’ll need to decide if you can juggle your other commitments with school. Alternatively, you could wait until next semester and try to get an early course time.
4. Commitment Skills to Keep Studying Even When You Don’t Want To
You may have taken a blended course because you have a job or a family. However, online courses aren’t any easier than an in-class curriculum. To study effectively, you have to give up some of your free time to gain a valuable qualification and show employers your passion.
Teachers usually understand that electives aren’t taken as seriously as primary course work, so you’ll inevitably run into an instructor that purposely makes their assignments and tests harder.
The only really “easy course” is a course you completely understand and/or don’t have to study for. Even open-book tests can be challenging if you don’t know where to look. Either way, you need to show commitment in all of your classes, regardless of how necessary they are to you.
5. Active Listening Skills to Retain Information and Write Great Notes
As a student, you spend a lot of time listening. Whether you’re sitting in on a lecture or listening to an audio/video playback, active listening skills are vital if you want to retain information and write good notes. This skill is also important when asking for support from tutors or teachers.
There’s a fundamental difference between listening and understanding. While active listening skills can help you study, adequate instruction matters more than what’s being said. If a certain teaching style isn’t working for you, ask a friend or a tutor to explain the topic another way.
6. Research Skills to Find Accurate Information for Written Assignments
Research skills are helpful for projects, reports, and short answer assignments. Online courses often grade their students based on forum participation and research accuracy, so you’ll use this skill constantly. You’ll also need it for the long-answer section in your tests, quizzes, and exams.
Adequate researchers are usually better at studying because they know where to look. For example, you can look at the back of the book for citations or use the right keywords on Google.
Developing your research skills takes time, but you can learn a lot from expert researchers and librarians. Understanding how Google works and how individuals search for new ideas can also aid you. For example, Google Scholar specifically looks up scholarly papers and journals.
7. Reading Comprehension Skills for Chapter Reviews and Exams
Reading comprehension doesn’t stop being important after you leave middle school. In fact, you’ll need to write margin notes, highlight terms, and review what you’ve read constantly to prepare for your next test. When reading test questions, make sure you don’t rush or panic.
Study preparation can help you slow down, but some tests may throw you a curveball. Try learning a few speed reading tactics, like skipping conjunctions (and, the, if), not talking to yourself (subvocalizing), and skimming, to ensure you’re still reading when the going gets tough.