Principles of Blended Learning in Adult Education

The principles of blended learning are the core tenets that are essential to a blended learning approach in adult education.

1. The program is learner centred.

The focus of blended learning is on the learner, not the technology. When learners have access to online resources and networks, educators are afforded unique opportunities to deepen and broaden what learner-centred education looks like. As people learn how to use online resources and networks, they learn to curate personalized resource collections, collaborate with peers and experts, and communicate with authentic audiences. In this way, they become co-creators of their learning experience. Learner centred does not mean outcomes based.


A learner-centred approach for adult literacy programming means that:

  • The program incorporates the learner’s knowledge and skills into the curriculum, including various digital and printed learning and assessment tools, and various teaching and learning strategies.[1]
  • Learners are involved in the planning and decision-making processes about what, where and how learning will happen.
  • Learning is meaningful and relevant to the learner’s needs and goals.
  • Learning values the learner’s knowledge, skills and life experiences, and draws upon the learner’s experiences as a resource.[2]
  • Learning cultivates self-direction in learners.[3]
  • The learning setting fosters a spirit of collaboration and uses small groups.[4]
  • Emotional presence is recognized in the learning process, and educators ensure a safe, constructive, supportive learning environment, both face-to-face and online.
  • There is a purposeful and thoughtful integration of face-to-face and digital learning.[5]
2. Blended learning activities are relevant and useful.

Blended learning activities are relevant and useful for literacy and language skills development and for knowledge development. The main goal of a blended learning approach is not to make the technology exciting but to fit it seamlessly into the curriculum.[6] Content is chosen because it is meaningful to the lives of learners, and technology is chosen when it is appropriate to developing a skill or constructing and communicating ideas, opinions and knowledge.



3. The blended program has a strong teaching presence.

A central tenet of blended learning is that the educator is an essential part of the educational experience in the classroom and online, be it face-to-face or from a distance, and in synchronous or asynchronous engagements. Literacy workers draw on pedagogical, content and technological knowledge in order to implement a blended learning approach and they are at the centre of the decision-making process. Blended learning requires knowledge, planning and strategizing. It depends on resources, time and, perhaps most importantly, educator expertise.


The Benefits of Blended Learning in Adult Education


[1] Garrison & Vaughan, 2008; Mollins, 2011.
[2] Saskatchewan Literacy Network, 2016.
[3] Saskatchewan Literacy Network, 2016.
[4] Saskatchewan Literacy Network, 2016.
[5] Palalas, 2019.
[6] Bersin, 2004.



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