Education Technology

Op-Ed

Why Blended Learning Is an Ideal Way to Approach IELTS Training

By Jerrin Samuel
April 06, 2022

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is a crucial examination for anyone wanting to live, study or work in an English-speaking country. Success in IELTS opens doors to prestigious universities and renowned employers in many countries, including the UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

With that in mind, many students are anxious to know the ideal way to prepare for IELTS so that they are fully prepared to demonstrate excellent English language skills when the exam comes around.

When you select a course or method of studying, there are many factors to be considered. These include your work or study background, your family commitments and your preferences for different ways of learning.

Here we look at one approach to IELTS training in detail: blended learning. This has lots of advantages, particularly for those who cannot study IELTS full-time.

What is blended learning?

Blended learning combines traditional face-to-face classroom learning with online learning. In other words, both digital and traditional teaching methods are used. You might also read about it as ‘hybrid learning’.

Blended learning is growing in popularity.

According to statistics from Macro Connect, 82% of students prefer blended learning to learning purely in the classroom. Advances in educational technology and gamification have made digital learning very popular. However, many students are not keen to put classroom learning behind them just yet, which explains the popularity of blended learning.

What blended learning for IELTS could look like

All IELTS classes are designed to develop speaking skills, listening comprehension, reading comprehension and written English skills ready to be examined. Blended learning IELTS classes will use some or all of the methods of teaching and learning to do this.

Face-to-face classes led by a teacher
Textbooks and other written materials
Video content
Live video conferencing led by a teacher
Classroom discussions with peers (both online and in-person) for speaking practice
Self-guided digital learning and practice questions on an online platform
Interactive online quizzes

Benefits of IELTS Blended Learning

Let’s explore some of the advantages of blended learning for IELTS:

Blended learning is the most accessible option

The time commitment involved in attending in-person classes can be too great for many people. If you are a professional, have a family, or are studying other courses, you may not be able to find a class timetable compatible with your busy schedule. You may also find the commute to class too difficult or time-consuming.

On the other hand, the idea of only learning at home by yourself may not appeal either. One aspect of IELTS is that it tests your ability to communicate and converse in the English language. You may understandably prefer to practice your conversation skills in person.

Blended learning offers you the best of both worlds. It opens up IELTS classes to many more people who find it difficult to attend or fully engage otherwise.

It is flexible

One of the best things about blended learning is that much of the course can be taken at your pace.

While you will need to make sure you regularly attend your in-person classes, the rest of the course can be studied wherever and whenever suits you. This may be in the evenings, in your lunch hour or during weekends. You may even be able to complete elements of the course on your commute. This will certainly reduce stress associated with the course.

Blended learning courses usually involve somewhere between 30% and 70% digital learning meaning that there should be an IELTS course ideally suited to your unique circumstances. You can access the support for learning that best suits you.

These might be live interactions with your teachers and peers or the time and flexibility to work through tricky course components at your own pace. Being able to pick and choose how you access the IELTS course is a superb example of personalized learning working very well for the student.

Working through the course at the right pace for you will deepen your learning and mean that ultimately you will be more proficient in the English language. You can focus more of your time on your pain points and less time on the elements of the course you find straightforward.

Blended learning is more engaging

Blended learning courses use the latest educational technology to inspire learners. There’s no doubt that many students find the digitized aspects of blended learning very engaging. According to EdTechnology, 96% of teachers believe that including online learning aspects in their courses increases participation and engagement.

Digitized courses use the same kinds of games and online activities that people enjoy outside of school and work. Fun online games, quizzes and high-quality video content will be included in a blended learning IELTS course. If your course feels a little more like leisure than hard work, then you are going to enjoy it more and engage more in the learning process.

It is cost-effective

The cost implications of studying for the IELTS exam can be heavy and come at a time when you may be saving for college fees or the cost of relocation. Flexible blended learning courses allow you to spread costs over a longer period if necessary. They will also reduce the cost of commuting and help you avoid decreasing the hours you spend in paid employment.

Blended learning is highly successful
What potential students want to know about most is whether or not a blended learning IELTS course works. Does it get good results?

The simple answer is yes. The accessibility, flexibility and personalization of the courses improve the likelihood of success. Plenty of blended learning IELTS students have achieved excellent operational command of the English language and IELTS scores of 8 or 9. They are now working or studying in an English-speaking country and are fulfilling their dreams.

Blended learning courses have the backing of teachers.

According to the Center for Digital Education, 73% of educators think blended learning increases student engagement. It is clear that both students and teachers see and feel the benefits of blended learning.

Why not check out whether any training institutes in Abu Dhabi offer a blended approach?

Jerrin Samuel is the Executive Director at Regional Educational Institute (REI) in Abu Dhabi. Since 1995, REI has been at the forefront of education by delivering quality corporate training courses in the UAE, helping many businesses and organizations achieve greater productivity and higher customer satisfaction levels.

Featured image: Evangeline Shaw, Unsplash. 

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