Blended Learning is a method of teaching that uses both computer-based activities and face-to-face teacher training. It is a hot topic as many schools and universities increasingly use computers in the classroom or base their curriculums around material provided online.
The Rosetta Stone method of tuition flips the traditional learning methods around: Language learners study their vocabulary and language points through the Rosetta Stone software. The tutorial sessions, that all happen remotely, are in support of this computer-based learning. Tutors are there to make sure students are progressing well and to help them to gain speaking confidence – rather than to actually teach the language. This brings big efficiency gains as learners can take the time they need to reach different points in the syllabus and actual interaction time is spend on conversation, not explanation.
Flexibility – whenever and wherever
Remote learning is a fast-growing phenomena that is enabling the spread of learning around the world. The ability to log on and learn, not just through software, but actually with other students and with tutors, means we can recreate the classroom experience almost anywhere. This is especially pertinent for those who are a long way from good native tuition, or from anyone that speaks their learning language, but even for people with easy access to good schooling, this is a much easier and more time efficient way to learn.
Flexibility – choice of topic
One problem that many learners have, especially if it is not their first time with the language, is that they find themselves repeating material or learning phrases for situations that they are either not interested in, or that are not relevant to their needs. With the kind of Blended Learning provided by Rosetta Stone this isn’t an issue. The students themselves are in charge of deciding which part of the programme they want to learn and don’t have to do every Unit if they don’t want to. For example, if they’ve already done the basics of meeting and greeting in a previous class, they can skip this and move onto the next part of the course. It’s hard to get this level of flexibility in a taught environment, you certainly won’t find it in a standard classroom. With Rosetta Stone’s large team of online native tutors, students can access the teaching they want at a time that suits them.
Flexibility – At your own pace. Differentiated learning for different pupils and needs
One big advantage of using technology to lead the learning process is that students can learn at their own pace. If a learner needs more time to fully understand or to memorise a language point then they can take this time. Meanwhile, faster learners can move on. As already stated, with Rosetta Stone learners can book their online tutorials when they are ready for them, so there is no need to wait, nor to hurry – the pace of learning rests in the hands of the learners themselves.
“There will always be students who fall behind or succeed in such a way that they need to be challenged further. Because online learning works at a student’s own pace, each student in the class makes more efficient progress than if they forced to work in line with the average classmate.”
Hiring classrooms, paying teachers, transport to and from school – these are all expenses avoided through online tuition. Couple this with the efficiencies you get when the hard part – the learning – has already been done in advance, and Blended Learning looks very cost efficient. Lesson time is not wasted and can be condensed into bite-size sessions that are not only cheaper, but more rewarding.
Time efficiencies and flexibilities
Travelling to your class, having to book out the same time slot every week, wasting time while you wait for other learners to catch up. All these frustrations are avoided when you learn at your own time and pace online. Rosetta Stone’s half-hour intensive tuitions session can be booked by students when they are ready for them and at a time that suits them.
Accurate and personalised assessment
Assessment is easy and transparent when learning is happening online. It is also non-judgemental and unemotional. Learners’ progress can be accurately tracked and everyone knows where they are in the programme. One advantage is that this helps ensure that everyone who attends an online tuition session is at a similar level and has leant the relevant vocabulary and language points.
Traditional instiutions sometimes find it hard to bring technology into the classroom, but software-led tuition is different. So-called ‘flipped learning’ curriculums, such as that provided by Rosetta Stone, let the software lead the learning. The software provides a pre-defined structure that is easy to follow and transparent for all. Goals and outcomes are absolutely clear, progress is tracked and assessed. This leaves the tutors free to concentrate on what they’re best at: ensuring the learning has been understood and absorbed, that pronunciation is correct and enjoying the interaction.
We are ready to be corrected on this one, but it seems not. Many of the language learning apps available online use pronunciation training and some offer online personalised tutoring as a separate resource. There are also separate portals for online tuition alone. However, none of the major players offer tuition as an integral part of their learning programme. Rosetta Stone appears to be the only mainstream online language learning system that has really embraced the concept of blended learning.
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