Blended learning for inclusion

Image by: Maicon Fonseca Zanco/Pixabay.com

Blended learning is a mix of different learning environments and tools that can open up a world of possibility for learners, regardless of their background and abilities. In this article, we will look at how digital technology can encourage inclusion and see some case studies and practices that show inclusive education in action.

Potential benefits of blended learning for inclusion

The Final Report for the study titled Enhancing learning through digital tools and practices: how digital technology in compulsory education can help promote inclusion noted that there are many benefits to digital technology in the classroom, such as providing learners with transversal, technical and critical thinking skills. At the micro level, teachers are faced with the challenge of utilising digital tools to meet the needs of individual learners, while also achieving expected learning outcomes.

The Inclusive blended learning: EU working group on schools seminar also discussed some important points and case studies on blended learning for inclusion.

Digital inclusion and students at risk

According to the report, when implemented correctly, digital technology can provide a wide range of solutions for inclusive learning:

  • assistive technology can support learners with diverse and/or complex needs so that they can access education;
  • e-learning, open education and MOOCs can provide students who have poor access to education (due to geographical, physical or cultural obstacles), or no home learning opportunities, with access to high-quality learning;
  • robotics and Artificial Intelligence can provide hyper-personalised learning opportunities as well as more immersive means of engagement;
  • phone, computer and internet technology can break down barriers between school and home environments, allowing teacher-led activities in the home, better support and resources for parents, and ultimately a more equitable home learning environment.

The Compendium on digital inclusion in education showcases case studies and good practices for digital inclusion across Europe, including:

  • FUSO offers a ‘digital schoolbag’ to children with learning disabilities, a one-stop specially adapted digital platform that allows learners to read, write, study and store information in an easy-to-use way.
  • Educa en Digital was launched in Spain in 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, in a bid to provide children in rural and disadvantaged areas with access to digital devices and internet connectivity. The project is still ongoing.
  • Sweden’s Polyglutt is a digital bookshelf and multilingual audio book app that supports language development among pupils in preschool and early primary school. The tool is used in schools by students from migrant backgrounds, matching them with books both in Swedish and their native language.