The Education Workforce Council (EWC) has published a new report examining how a blended approach to delivery can maximise the impact of professional learning and could improve access to learning opportunities for education practitioners, in all parts of Wales, as the new curriculum is introduced.
As well as examining recent academic and professional literature on blended learning, the research team spoke to stakeholders and experts from Wales and beyond to help build a sophisticated picture of how different blended learning approaches can be used to benefit learners.
The report makes a series of recommendations, which are based on the following three themes:
- Establishing professional learning infrastructure and cultures that embrace blended learning and provide a consistent offer to practitioners in all parts of Wales;
- Embedding a learner-led system where individual learners direct their own professional learning, based on blends that suit their individual learning requirements; and
- Establishing a sustainable approach to elements of the professional learning offer, ensuring that they are embedded in the culture of our education system and are capable of enduring political, funding and organisational changes.
The report’s findings build on previous research undertaken by the EWC in 2018, which was one of eleven commissioned by the Welsh Government to support the development of the National Approach to Professional Learning (NAPL).
Rob Humphreys, a member of the research group said: “Flexible online learning opens up huge opportunities for teachers to enhance their professional knowledge and skills. The greatest benefits for our teachers - and of course the students they teach - will only be secured by the right combination of face-to-face, distance and flexibility in the design and delivery of professional learning.
"This report focuses on that combination, starting from the real experiences and professional practice of teachers in schools.”
Professor Ken Jones, lead researcher said: "We welcome the Welsh Government's commitment to seeking out new approaches to professional learning. This report continues to explore blended learning approaches drawing on experiences from other countries and other professions.
“We invite further suggestions and examples of ways in which a learning blend can be adapted to support all professionals in our schools."