A well-designed blended learning course can provide a teacher with greater insights to support his or her intuition


Intuition is a wonderful thing. Malcolm Gladwell suggests in his book Blink that an expert can draw a correct conclusion in seconds, even in the face of apparently little evidence and understanding of where the conclusion came from.

His opening example in Blink describes an apparently ancient statue purchased by a museum after many scientific tests indicated it was real.

However, experts in the field knew with a glance that it was fake.

An experienced teacher also can have significant intuitive powers. Teachers often have a “gut feel” about how a student is progressing with learning and understanding. This “feel” is often reinforced by in-class informal questions, levels of participation, quizzes, discussions, homework, and more. Results from tests and assignments provide the ultimate feedback.

However, effective blended learning courses have the ability to dramatically expand the supporting data available to a teacher. These data are more granular; more fine-tuned, detailed, and indicative of day-to-day efforts. In well designed and implemented blended learning courses, it is no longer necessary to wait for key assessment items, or time to grade a range of tasks, to gain an indication of how a student is progressing.

Blended learning courses that use a powerful learning management system to incorporate a wealth of learning resources, as well as feedback mechanisms such as quizzes and discussions, offer quantitative data to support teacher intuition. This information can allow the teacher to be even more proactive, intervening with students before key assessment occurs.

(Next page: Providing teachers with key information using graphs)