Blended learning – a form of education that replaces traditional teaching
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the quarantine reoriented the entire education system in a short time. Lithuanian vocational schools faced a huge challenge looking for solutions on how to quickly adapt to change, teach vocational subjects intelligently and productively. Blended learning, where virtual lessons are remotely combined with practice in the classroom, has become a great way to organize the educational process. In order to run it smoothly, it has grown the importance of teachers’ digital competencies.
In order to provide necessary knowledge of vocational teachers, Karalius Mindaugas Vocational Training Centre is implementing the Erasmus + project “Innovative teaching and learning practice in the field of professions in beauty sector – INLESSON”. Together with the project partners form Greece, Portugal and Belgium we are working to share with vocational teachers in Lithuania the prepared digital learning materials and the necessary pedagogical knowledge on how to organize blended learning form students.
Innovative training for beauty professionals
“Vocational teachers from Karalius Mindaugas Vocational Training Centre and other vocational schools from Belgium and Portugal, during the international training, were trained on how to create attractive digital learning materials for their lessons. Much attention has also been paid to methodologies for organizing blended learning in the beauty sector. These skills are becoming very important not only in today’s context. Pandemic has forced to organize distance or blended learning at this time, but in the future blended learning will undoubtedly become one of the models for vocational training. This project develops digital learning materials for students of the beautician and hairdressing professions. I believe this is a great start and inspiration for teachers in all other professions” – says “INLESSON” project manager Gintarė Lisauskaitė.
“In order to train future beauticians, it is necessary not only to constantly deepen knowledge and keep up with innovation, but also to improve digital skills” – says VET teacher Sigutė Dumbliauskaitė-Poškienė. “When education moves to virtual space or it is organized blended learning, content needs to be oriented much more creatively and smarter. During the project, we practically tested working with various IT tools and learned to create videos for our lessons. We are happy, we’ve got the knowledge of how to do it with free IT tools. Now, when presenting hardware procedures, I can not only demonstrate them in practical while filming, but also explain each button and functions of the apparatus using IT tools” – tells VET teacher. Hairdressing VET teacher Rūta Lankelytė also says that digital knowledge helps to feel more confidently. She created learning material about men’s beard and mustache haircuts. The teacher is pleased to have improved in IT and received valuable practical advice that will be useful in day-to-day teaching activities.
Tools for creating virtual lessons
Pre-recorded video lessons for students, various interactive tasks are a great way to prepare the learning material. Ministry of Education, Science and Sport (of the Republic of Lithuania) recommends to record video lessons. By bringing them into the teaching/ earning systems used in schools, they become accessible to every learner.
Modern technology opens up many opportunities for teachers to present teaching content, but not everyone knows how to create digital content. “Many teachers use Power Point, but not everyone knows all the possibilities of this program. They don’t know about possibilities to upload slides supplemented with sound recordings, video inserts, you can animate text, pictures, shapes, tables, SmartArt graphics, etc.” – says project manager Gintarė Lisauskaitė. She also says, that in order to create attractive digital content, it is useful to know the basic steps of its creation as well as various free platforms, e.g. free use of the audio and video recording system is available by visiting: https://screencast-o-matic.com/ or https://www.openshot.org/ etc. All this knowledge will be systematized by the project partners and it will be developed digital content teaching material for blended learning in the beauty sector.
As Gintarė says, the possibilities of information technology are limitless. So, it is worth using them by creating interesting, interactive and memorable lessons.
Although the INLESSON project is still being implemented and digital material is being actively developed, a number of useful recommendations for teachers and developed products can already be found on the project website: http://io.inlesson.eu/.
Blended learning based digital learning materials will be developed for 6 modules in the hairdressing and beautician professions (3 modules for each profession). This learning material will be tested by at least 200 students and evaluated by 18 experts from 3 countries.
This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This communication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.