NEW NORMAL INSTRUCTIONAL AND SOCIAL EXPERIMENTS ON ADAPTABILITY OF BLENDED LEARNING MODALITIES TO PANDEMIC CRISIS

In this present state of Philippine educa tion when the new normal climate of teach ing and learning is prevalent due to the educational and social crisis brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, the national government and the Department of Education are both committed and determined to seek, discover and explore on alternative learning systems. These alternatives are proposed and encouraged to be utilized as temporary substitutes, but not total replacements on established and conventional face to face instruction and physical learning process. Currently, the typical face to face instruction is now being least prioritized due to the risks that it would cause the learners and teachers and even the entire school community. Thus, the search for alternative teaching modalities is on the rise to pursue educational sustainability for the learners even amidst this critical period.

These are all the salient reasons on why the Department of Education is presently persistent to conduct and pursue instructional and social experiments on alternative teaching-learning modalities. These modalities include the blended learning approach. Blended learning approach is known a flexible, comprehensive and multifaceted type of teaching-learning method. This is because blended learning highlights the combination of technology or ICTs and the established and time-tested and proven teaching strategies and pedagogies. A concrete example of powerful combination of pedagogies that lead to effective blended learning strategy is combined lecture and computer-aided instruction. It is viewed as a blended pedagogy as it features the instructional delivery in a modern approach through the computer-aided instruction that is supported by traditional, yet well-established and proven method which is lecture that could help reinforce the construction and comprehension of meanings offered by technology-aided instruction.

Pursuing blended learning modalities can be viewed as both an instructional and social experiment. Instructional experiment, indeed! because it would be the first time when face to face instruction which is highly risky at present would be temporarily replaced by blended learning practices and methods such as combined on-line learning and modular instruction. It is an instructional experiment because it is a test of how feasible and effective it would be to sustain instructional delivery among learners using blended modalities. Moreover, the use of blended learning approach can also be considered as a social experiment because it would serve as a huge test or challenge not only for the teachers and learners on they can pursue the teaching-learning process amidst this critical period but also among the parents, school leaders, stakeholders, education department and community leaders on how they can help support the provision of alternative learning systems for the benefit of the learners during pandemic. (By Cirila G. Catubig)