White background with orange and yellow watercolour marks and the outline of a student working on a laptop.

Lesson 3: Blended online model


Blended learning models, such as the blended online model, occur when “face-to-face and online environments are strategically integrated to meet students’ needs across environments and in-class time is replaced with, or supplemented by, pedagogically advantageous online activities”  (Joosten et al., 2020, p. 25). 

The blended online model is the inverse of the blended face-to-face model. In this model, learning occurs predominantly online. Practical activities such as guest lectures or labs take place in-class (Cleveland-Innes et al., 2018). 

Blended online model


Selecting a blended online learning model depends on the context: 

Student learning

Which skills and competencies can be introduced, refined, and reviewed in the online environment and then practiced in the face-to-face component?


How can the subject matter be taught online and then best supported through hands-on learning in person?

Class size

How will the class size influence the way content, activities and assessments are planned for online delivery and supplemented with in-class applications? 

Course level

How does the course level impact the breadth, depth of content and expectations of students working predominantly online with structured face-to-face activities?

Core elements of blended online design

Blended online design focuses learning in the online environment with opportunities to develop further skills with practical face-to-face activities. Consider how pedagogy, technology and the learners are integrated into a blended online course design to maximize engagement and student performance. 

The blended online design incorporates a learner-centered approach that is accessible and can be personalised.

For example, include opportunities for students that support collaboration and community-building such as whole class discussions that begin online, supported by a lab simulation in-class and culminating in a group project. 

In a blended online model, learning technologies are key to student success. Select technological tools that allow the students to connect with the content, engage in peer interactions and communicate with the instructor.  

For example, upload content videos for students to preview online, assign pairs to create an infographic that demonstrates critical thinking on the topic and present these assignments to the class for feedback from the instructor.

Keep learners in mind when organizing your blended online course. Learners benefit from clear expectations, intentional course design and frequent communication. This will reduce student anxiety, help them better understand their learning process, and facilitate their time management (Nilson et. al, 2021).  

For example, communicate regularly with students online and post course announcements, syllabus and group feedback online.

Put into practice

Use the following Online Course Design Checklist as a guide before your online course is opened to students, as reminders for you throughout the semester, and as a review at the end of the course.

Learn more

Lesson checklist

  • Identify the core elements of blended online design 

  • Determine key considerations for learning activities

  • Distinguish types of assessments for blended online models


More lessons

White background with red, gold and pink watercolour marks and the outline of a group of students working on a laptop together.

Lesson 4: Flipped model

White background with orange, gold and teal watercolour marks and the outline of two students looking at a book together and a girl working on a laptop by herself.

Lesson 5: Rotational model

White background with gold and orange watercolour marks and the outline of two students in a classroom setting.

Lesson 6: Summary