Last updated: 16.04.14

Today's learners 'no longer passive'

Changes to the way we consume and interact with technology are fundamentally transforming today's students, facilitating a move away from traditional teaching methods. 

Thanks to social, cultural and technological changes, students are less willing than ever before to sit passively and receive information - in the form, say, of a conventional lecture. Instead, they desire 'blended learning' approaches that demand greater levels of engagement - the learning process is no longer one way, and instead becomes a conversation between student and teacher.

According to the Guardian, a growing number of educational institutions including universities are implementing blended approaches, with a number of academics seeing this as the future of learning. For students, this means much more interaction than would typically be required simply taking notes in a lecture. 

This is also true in the workplace, where training programmes are constantly striving for new ways to encourage individuals to engage more thoroughly with the programme - as this is one of the best indicators that knowledge is actually being gained. 

For both academic and business circles, one way that this student/trainee engagement can be encouraged is by making more of online courses. At its most basic level, blended learning is basically the concept that there is more than one valid way to impart wisdom on people. And the internet is finding itself with an increasingly prominent voice in this conversation.

According to PA Consulting Group's education expert Mike Boxall, blended learning covers a disparate range of approaches - from online courses supplemented with in-person seminars to "flipped" classroom models, where the onus is on students to learn the content of courses on their own, and then show their understanding in seminars and group scenarios.

One of the key benefits for moving resources online is that they become more scalable than in-person teaching and training. Virtual learning environments also allow for more efficient time-management among teachers and students, but the important thing to remember is that this places more responsibility on the trainee or student to ensure they remain an active part in the conversation.