Paro College of Education held a half day seminar titled ‘Blended Learning: Facilitating a Higher Learning Experience’ on 16th November 2018. A total of over 300 participants attended the seminar, including external guests, faculty and students of Paro College of Education. The aim of the seminar was to create awareness and initiate a dialogue amongst participants who are key stakeholders to both school and higher education settings on the basic concept of Blended Learning, its opportunities and challenges and more importantly, the way forward.
With a heart-warming welcome by the President of the College, the four presenters actively presented the content of the Blended Learning using creative slides with rich information on BL, illustrated with authentic samples of how social media, such as Facebook could be used for classroom instruction. Then an original sample of a video tutorial was used to demonstrate how Blended learning could be a reality for creative teaching learning experiences. Some specific topics that were covered at the seminar were: i) A Brief background on blended learning project and the concept of blended learning, its opportunities and challenges; ii) A survey report on blended learning and professional needs related to technological pedagogical and subject content knowledge of teacher educators at Paro College of Education and Samste College of Education; iii) Use of social media in classroom instruction; iv) A sample of video tutorial for classroom instruction. Finally, the participants were taken through the steps to creating and enrolling for courses on the BLTeae platform.
During the plenary, the participants shared their satisfaction and curiosity to learn more about Blended Learning so that they could use this methodology to create and use technology for classroom instruction. The feedback on the seminar evidenced that in general, the participants became more aware of Blended Learning and how it could transform teaching learning to suit the 21st century learners’ needs. Most of the participants, as per the feedback survey, expressed that the seminar was very useful and relevant to their needs - the information was useful and relevant; the samples of using Facebook and the video tutorials were helpful in convincing them that Blended Learning was interesting and doable. They also expressed that they wished to enroll for the courses on BLTeae.
It was also heartening to note that out of the 300 participants, 101 were guests from the Ministry of Education, Royal Education Council, Bhutan Council for Secondary Examination and Assessment, two constituent colleges (Gedu Colege of Business Studies and Norbu Rigter College), medical university (Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Sciences of Bhutan), and principals and teachers from Thimphu, Haa, and Paro valley. The seminar was organized by four faculty conveners under the advice of the President of the College.