Blended learning is typically defined as a teaching method that integrates classroom-based and remote teaching, using some form of Internet-based, digital technology.  However, just adding an online or digitally-mediated component to a course is not a fundamentally different way of enhancing pedagogy and is therefore unlikely to result in more effective student learning. Beyond introducing digital mediation, a pedagogically-effective learning design also needs to involve authentic, real-world problems, social interaction and collaborative learning, with input from experts from within and outwith the course and feedback by experienced facilitators, while retaining and extending the flexibility of time and place that digital mediation can offer.

RiBL conceptualises blended learning as being broader than just a blend of online and classroom learning to include also the following types of blends:

  • blends of different types of learning activities, including authentic, real-world problems
  • blends of different types of learning resources, including authentic content reused from real-world workplaces and organisational contexts in the given domain
  • blends of different times and places for learning activities, integrating formal and informal contexts in which students learn
  • blends of different ways that people learn and work together, including collaboration, knowledge sharing as well as individual learning
  • regular guidance and feedback by an expert instructor, with a focus on ‘teaching moments’ and coaching
  • authentic assessment with a focus on real-world workplace relevance
  • different types of digital tools and a shared web-based learning support environment to enable the integration of the above blends within the structure of a course