The COVID-19 pandemic that started back in 2020, has significantly changed the way we teach and learn, making online and blended learning slowly becoming the new normal. More and more educational institutions around the globe are now using online learning platforms, and discovering the many benefits of a flipped classroom setup. With an increased array of online learning tools and active learning technology available, education has been transformed into an online learning experience willing to create a true added value for both teachers and students.

But one question remains: how can you get a grasp on e-learning methods and take your classroom to the next level? Discover everything about online and blended learning in our informative guide below!

e-learning modern methods

Online learning: advantages & disadvantages

What is online learning?

Online learning is an internet-based learning method of education where students learn in a predominantly digital environment.
Online learning connects students with diverse backgrounds to express, share and explore different perspectives and knowledge. 

Now let’s see what are the advantages and disadvantages of online learning

Benefits of online learning

Teaching online reduces many of the roadblocks that students may face these days. It is also an efficient way for educators to deliver and extend the lesson plan beyond traditional textbooks by using and providing online resources and tools. Students can attend class from any convenient location of their choice, as online learning can be taught asynchronously. This also eliminates the cost of student transportation, housing or general living costs, as students can attend from anywhere, anytime. All these factors ultimately improve student attendance and engagement, as online and blended learning suits a variety of learning styles.

Differences between online learning & virtual classrooms

Online learning (or ‘e-learning’ as it is often referred to), is internet-based educational courses that can be offered synchronously and/or asynchronously. A virtual classroom for its part is a form of online learning where students attend classes in real time (i.e. synchronously). This means two things:
1. Both students and teachers need to be connected to their virtual classroom tool at the same time to deliver/assist the course (for example: Microsoft Teams, Glowbl, Google Meet, etc.)
2. Teachers need to upload learning content (such as PowerPoint presentations, videos, books, etc.) on a web-based portal like a LMS or a software so the students can prepare for the class and the exams.

Differences between synchronous & asynchronous learning

Synchronous learning

This form of digital learning involves a real-time discussion between teachers and students with two e-learning methods to choose from. A video conference can be set up as a virtual classroom, where students can interact with their teacher and fellow students as spontaneously as in a traditional classroom. The second possibility is live streaming: this method can reach a larger and more dispersed audience. And the teacher can provide the course while being in his class or amphitheatre. Unfortunately (for the most part), spontaneous interaction is not possible.

Asynchronous learning

This form of online learning allows both teachers and students greater flexibility. Basically, when choosing this format, teachers deliver their course in video format (creating quick educational videos addressing one key idea, concept or chapter is the best) for their students to watch or rewatch at their pace whenever and wherever they are. How convenient! What’s more, students organise their time as they wish and spend quality time reviewing videos in order to better prepare for classes or exams. Last but not least, in this format, interaction is highly encouraged!

Depending on the tool, teachers and students may add comments or files on a sidebar, or participate in quizzes for example. Note that asynchronous learning is often part of a hybrid setup (blended learning for example), with theoretical content available online beforehand, in order to prepare for discussion and activities in class on campus.

A variety of e-learning methods

Fixed or linear e-learning

All students receive the same information volume without it being adapted to students’ learning preferences. The content remains in its original state for practical reasons. Similar to a traditional classroom, fixed or linear e-learning methods don’t rely on student input or the use of real-time data.

Adaptive e-learning

As suggested by its name, with this method learning content is adapted or modified depending on each individual's need. Learning can be redesigned to match a student’s performance, goals, abilities and skills. The active learning tool will customise the content to align with the student’s progress.

Collaborative e-learning

A collaborative approach boosts student engagement and ensures better retention of learning content. Why? Because it creates a sense of competitive drive between students, who are encouraged to master the skills and concepts they are learning. It is a collaborative learning environment where students can share and dare to outshine one another.

Hybrid e-learning style

This method involves both face to face classes and distance learning. Most of the time, real time classes are made for teachers and students to discuss a topic previously seen in one of the pre-recorded videos delivered by the professor. In this way, the moments in class are made way more engaging for everyone, thus contributing to content retention! During this time, students can actively interact and questions that have been raised about the learning content can be answered quickly. What is more, real-time discussions expand students’ comprehension and engagement, as a group of learners and/or individually.

Blended learning: a hybrid teaching method

What is blended learning?

A variety of active learning technologies can be used to make blended learning a successful reality. Hybrid learning, technology-mediated instruction, web-enhanced instruction, or even mixed-mode instruction, are all examples of a blended approach to teaching online. Using a combination of fundamental face to face learning and online/mobile technologies, students receive an enhanced education suited to their tech-savvy generation.

Blended learning models

The rotation model

Students can follow a fixed schedule which rotates between different learning modalities. Modalities such as interactive activities including small-group or class discussions, team projects, individual mentoring or tutoring, and traditional paper-based assignments.

The flex model

Students can customise an adaptive schedule, switching between learning modalities as it suits. Students may even be directed to activities offline that expand on class content, even if online learning is the main educational tool.

‘A la carte’ model

An entirely online course is provided to accompany a student’s experience at a physical school, training or learning centre. This offers the student even more flexibility, with both online and offline courses available to them, which can then be chosen at their convenience.

The enriched virtual model

To balance the traditional classroom with the virtual classroom, learning content is shared between online and offline instruction. Although face to face learning is the main teaching method, the student is not always required to be physically present on campus.

Benefits of blended learning

Education is more effective if students are engaged, and the teaching method is adapted to their individual learning needs. Everybody learns differently and in varied ways. By exploring and implementing multiple modalities, student engagement, learning and retention is reinforced.

Not only can students control the pace of their learning, blended learning allows them to benefit financially. This means more students have greater access to education, whilst teachers can enhance the learning experience. Blended learning is not only practical, it is modular and scalable, allowing teachers to adjust, improve and check-in on students’ progress on an ongoing basis.

Benefits of a flipped classroom

What is a flipped classroom?

Teachers have more and more opportunities to either partially, sporadically or completely integrate active learning technology into their classrooms. A flipped classroom is essentially a type of blended learning, a way of taking the traditional classroom and reversing the learning process.

Students are given online learning content (mostly short video lessons as this format is efficient and highly connected to this new generation) to watch at home to better prepare before coming to class, where they will then discuss, practice, share and collaborate with fellow students. Basically, the whole concept could be summed up as “Learning theoretical content online at my own pace to then better put into practice what I have learned in a collaborative way”. In this way, participation is increased and skills are more easily retained.

How does a flipped classroom work?

What does a flipped classroom look like? Students are given class material online to learn at home individually, before attending classes. Once in the classroom, the teacher can then guide and focus on expanding the students’ learning as a group. This essentially flips the traditional learning experience, where the learning would take place in the classroom, and expanded learning or activities beyond the initial instruction would take place at home.

Students can also review class or homework online via pre-recorded videos, lessons, a class portal or discussion forum. This means classroom time can be optimised for students to concentrate on group activities or assignments, rather than being bored by the outdated lecture model.

The main benefits of a flipped classroom

Benefits for students

The flipped classroom works because it allows students to be responsible for their own education: they organise themselves as they wish, manage their time, and learn at their pace where they are the most comfortable and productive. The teacher is there to guide their learning, but students are encouraged to develop independent and group learning skills which helps them to become more emotionally invested in topics and course work.

Students are more active in the construction and expansion of learning content. Even if they acquire an initial understanding individually, a student’s learning is supported by their teacher, their peers and with easy access to online learning materials such as video content. The flipped classroom thus ensures that absent students can’t fall behind, as being present in class is not the only form that learning takes place. The flipped classroom is not only more engaging, it is more effective in gaining students’ interest, as more meaningful discussions occur in the classroom!

Benefits for teachers

It is clear that flipped classrooms give great benefits to the students, but what about the teachers? A teacher’s greatest asset is time, and if class time can be devoted more to exploring a subject rather than lecturing it, lessons become more constructive. As students perform self-study to prepare for class, the basics are already covered and a teacher only needs to expand topics in greater depth.

Flipped classrooms make the actual learning environment more engaging, a place where ideas and content are shared, where students interact more and the lessons are more fun. Teachers can thus observe and guide their students through the learning process as it unfolds, and introduce more collaborative activities. It also gives teachers a chance to be more creative, to make videos or presentations that are more engaging to the new generation of learners. This content can in turn be reused as an online resource for students at home, and any confusion or additional question can be handled individually. This gives teachers the advantage and freedom to spend the required time with each individual student, without taking up valuable class time.

Is teaching online for you?

Not everyone feels comfortable using technology, but teaching online is much easier than it sounds. There are many online teaching resources available to learn how to conduct live online classes, or create and provide access to pre-recorded videos. The process of educating people in a virtual classroom via live streaming is yet another viable option to boost your students’ learning and enthusiasm. But the real question is: is teaching online for you?

Online teaching vs classroom teaching

Online teaching

Although learning is transferred to a digital environment, it is still highly interactive. Students have complete and open access to learning materials and content, and teachers are available to answer any questions via emails, messages or online chats. With the increased flexibility of learning access, students fit their online learning around work schedules and their private life, making them more accountable and involved in their studies.

Classroom teaching

Traditional classroom teaching requires the physical presence and interaction between the teacher and students. Students must attend classes during specifically assigned hours, in order to benefit from face to face learning. There is a major social element to the classroom teaching model, where students have more immediate contact and opportunities to share learning with their peers while theoretical content is being delivered. Teachers can also give more direct feedback during the course of the lesson.

How to conduct online classes?

Choose the right format

Depending on the subject, there are many possibilities for how an online class will be conducted, and what formats will best deliver the content. Blended learning or incorporating active learning technology can be as simple as explaining whilst presenting slides, writing on a digital screen or even using various camera angles to keep students attentive.

Must-do’s when conducting online classes

Here are some basics you need to do before and during online classes:

  • Never forget to have a list of all students' up to date email addresses before you plan an online lesson.
  • Make sure that you have the right equipment and that it’s working correctly before class.
  • Prepare any online work that will be completed by students after class is over.
  • Keep lessons short and always focus on one subject or learning topic, providing breaks for mental processing time.
  • Ask open-ended questions that engage students and spark lively discussions. Use digital learning tools such as polls, quizzes or word clouds to increase student engagement.
  • Never hesitate to continuously invite students to ask questions and be more active during online discussions.
  • And of course, analyse student participation and take their feedback to gauge what could be improved for the next session!

How to make video lectures?

Video lectures are an essential asset to the virtual classroom. A pre-recorded video lecture or lesson, presents learning content and material on a specific topic digitally. The creator of the video may decide to speak directly to the camera, use slides, or text to enhance the video, or a mix of approaches to make their video lectures more interesting.

Video lectures: the essentials

Before recording your lecture, it is crucial to choose the right tools. To make a video lecture, you’ll need a screen recorder (or screen recording software), presentation or slideshow software, an external microphone, a webcam and basic three-point lighting.

To prepare a lecture, think about creating a script so you know beforehand which resources might be useful to include, or activities such as a quiz and what slides highlight important learning points.

Next, make a test video to ensure the visual and audio quality is good. As soon as the video lecture is recorded and edited (software or app), then it’s ready to be shared on the appropriate learning management system!

The art of video making

It doesn’t take incredible talent or skilled technical know-how to create videos for online courses. Regardless of your level, there are many approachable solutions to plan, create and share quality educational content with students and peers alike.

Examples of online teaching videos

There are many kinds of teaching videos, each with their own purpose and goal:

  • Lectures and conferences using pre-recorded videos to deliver content, allow teachers or lecturers to use boards or slide presentations simultaneously.
  • Short educational videos that are around 10-15 minutes long, can quickly explain a specific theoretical learning point. These types of videos however, need to be prepared with a concise script to maintain a strict focus on the subject matter and to captivate the students attention. Activities can also be added to make those videos interactive and more engaging for the audience.
  • MOOCs (Massive Open Online Course) provide online training available to all students. There are MOOCs created for online training purposes for business experts and professionals, and those created for more academic faculties of study.
  • Tutorials are short instructional videos, explaining step-by-step the use of a software for example.

Each form of teaching video engages and enriches a student’s learning experience, and the teacher’s also!

Active learning technology: what are the best tools to use?

Students are usually instructed to participate in either practical or intellectual activities in the classroom. Students are often asked to discuss, map ideas, debate or construct knowledge using critical thinking. They are also regularly asked to reflect on their own learning habits, or their strengths and weaknesses in an effort to improve their ability to learn.

Using these techniques supported by active learning technology, encourages students to participate, collaborate and problem-solve with their fellow classmates, whether face to face, or in the virtual online space. This approach vastly improves students’ individual motivation, performance and grading rates, and uplifts the collective educational environment.

Active learning technology tools

There are a multitude of digital tools to choose from:

  • To communicate there are video conferencing platforms such as Google Meet, Microsoft Teams and Zoom.
  • To brainstorm, students can use Miro or MindMap.
  • To organise work tasks, Trello and Google Sheets are both great options.
  • To create and present content individually or as a group, Canva, Google Slides and PowerPoint are ideal tools.
  • To gather information, Google Scholar, ResearchGate or a local university library helps students to use reliable sources.
  • To share work remotely in synchrony, students can turn to Glowbl, Big Blue Button, Microsoft Teams and Zoom to stay on track.
  • To testify or present content via video, Nudgis by UbiCast is a great online teaching solution.
  • To experiment with immersive learning, there’s Uptale.
  • To engage students with quizzes, Wooclap and Kahoot are efficient tools made to boost student’s participation in-class or online.
  • For word cloud features, teachers and students can use Mentimeter for example.
  • And to promote knowledge retention, Magma Learning will do the trick!


Online classes and blended learning have become essential methods of education. Students and teachers' expectations have evolved, with new and effective approaches to teaching being discovered every day. With such models as flipped classrooms and active learning technology finding its way into online courses around the globe, the prominence and necessity of a video-based teaching platform is increasing. That’s because video is an engaging tool that students and teachers already use in their everyday lives. Video and the use of other digital tools optimises teaching time, and enhances the content being taught.

That’s why UbiCast has created Nudgis, a customisable private platform that allows teachers to record, store and stream interactive videos. With Nudgis, you can create and share content in the form of videos to easily captivate student’s attention and enhance the whole learning experience. Thanks to its interactive features like its engaging sidebar, videos can be enriched in a snap with links, additional resources, comments, quizzes, polls and much more! Teachers then share content to their students so they can learn at their pace whenever they want and wherever they are, before, after or instead of in-person classes.

When teaching with videos using Nudgis, relevant analytics are also made available for teachers to ensure the content is adapted and understood thus allowing a more fitted experience easily open to feedback. Want to know more?

Discover Nudgis by UbiCast

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