Getting started with blended learning

If you are interested in teaching in a blended format, these are some key points to consider:

Enhancement, rather than addition
Use the blended format to enhance students’ learning. This is particularly relevant if you are redesigning a face-to-face course: think of the redesign as an opportunity to enhance the learning experience and avoid simply adding online elements to the existing course, which could also be problematic in terms of student workload. Consider opportunities for improving

the current course. For example,

  • is classroom time being taken by activities that could be more efficiently completed online?
  • what teaching and learning activities would be most productive face-to-face?
  • would a blended format allow for more active learning, feedback opportunities, collaboration, etc.?

Connection of face-to-face and online elements
Focus on designing your course with a meaningful connection between the online and face-to-face elements. One of the main potentials of blended learning is the possibility of combining the benefits of classroom teaching (e.g., social interaction with peers) with the advantages of online learning (e.g., continued and more flexible engagement with content and reflection outside the classroom). The clearer this connection is, the easier it will be for students to understand the sequence of teaching and learning activities and engage with them. The Blended Learning Wave below can help you visualise your blended design.

European Maturity Model for Blended Education

Choice and use of technology
The use of technology alone does not necessarily have a meaningful impact on learning. A thoughtful choice and use of technology is critical to avoid losing sight of the learning outcomes and the needs of the students. Consider if the tools you have in mind are well suited for the purpose of the activities or if they would give students the opportunity of engaging in activities that would not be possible without that technology. Furthermore, students’ ability to use technology may vary; although most students use technology for social purposes, they are not necessarily expert users of educational tools. Indicate to students where to get technical support and if possible, provide user guides for the tools included in the course.

Teacher presence in the online environment
The role of the teacher in an online context is a critical aspect to consider when implementing blended learning. Teaching presence is a key factor in the successful implementation of blended courses, and the facilitation of ongoing student interactions and engagement in the online environment is one of the most important tasks of the teacher. This can include, for example, providing explicit guidance for the use of learning materials. Learning in an online environment will also require a higher degree of autonomy and self-monitoring from students. They may need additional support in the form of clear guidelines, expectations for participation, and deadlines throughout the course. This resource can help you plan your blended learning design. If you would like to receive further support, please contact the T&L consultant allocated to your department or T&L at

Further considerations

Alignment and design
Be aware to design your course with a meaningful connection between the online and face-to-face learning activities. Alignment and bonding between the different activities will strengthen the students’ potential for deep learning.

Time and workload of students
Be aware of the amount of time it takes students to complete course activities. If more time is spent out of class doing coursework, then you might cut down class face-to-face time or cut out other course assignments. Blended learning is not an excuse to load on extra work on students but a way of being more efficient with the time spent.

Framing of activities
Online learning will require more autonomous studying from students and they may need additional support in the form of clear guidelines, expectations for participation, and deadlines throughout the course. Explain your rationale for using blended learning and describe the learning benefits.

Tech natives?
Students’ ability to use technology may vary and studies show that even though students are used to technology outside of their formal education, they are not necessarily experts in the tools you use in formal educational settings. Be prepared to support students in using technology and perhaps start your course with a low-stakes online assignment to get students acclimated.