Caught in between virtual and physical learning environments

December 21, 2016 by Lauri Vaara

This guest blog is a part of our Christmas season blog series

Normally teaching at schools happens in face to face situation held in a physical learning environment. However, the significance of digital learning environments is increasing, as they can provide new effective knowledge practices for promoting learning and networking. The collision of digital and physical learning environments should, theoretically, lead to an engaging union, called blended learning environment. But could it also lead simply to confusion?

#How do the roles of the teacher and the student shift when moving from reality to virtual reality?

The teachers and students are often struggling with the blended learning environments and corresponding hybrid-learning. Sure there are top notch elements of learning to be found in settings like these, but what are the practices to exploit them? How can the precious face to face situations be optimized in a hybrid-learning process? What happens to the pedagogical storyline and evaluation when suddenly jumping into a digital learning ground?

Perhaps you have already all the answers, but those are the questions that we are discussing all the time with our teachers and students, who are participating in the piloting-phase of a project called Young Business Generation (YNS) lead by the Economic Information Office (TAT). One of the aims in the project is to develop new engaging and collaborative learning practices into a digital and blended learning environment. As our digital living lab we use Claned, mainly because of its advanced learning analytics and flexibility.

If we want to find out which practices work and which not, we have to participate the end users and investigate the situation together in a constructive and supportive atmosphere. In our project the feedback from those users has been so far very positive and constructive, which has already lead to many pedagogical innovation and wow effects.

For example, we have found out that in a digital learning environment the role of the teacher can be as central as in the real world, if the teacher is ready to take over new roles and the digital platform enables that. However, the digital learning environment also makes studying more flexible and promotes student autonomy, for instance through practices of flipped learning. If we want to get out the most of edtech, studying and teaching in a digital learning environment is and should be different. We should investigate how and map the best practices for fostering the adaptation!

Lauri Vaara

is a pedagogical advisor at TAT and PhD student at the University of Helsinki.

More blog posts

October 16, 2017 by Pertti Jalasvirta

How to avoid digitalization disaster in your school

August 24, 2017 by Topi Litmanen

Analytics in the changing landscape of learning

July 25, 2017 by Tuomo and Riikka Meretniemi

Personalized Learning In A Sailboat – Amazing Results

Load more