3 min

5 Reasons Colleges and Universities Are Adopting Blended Learning

By setting up solutions and systems to allow for both in-person and online learning, colleges and universities can give instructors more flexibility and make their campuses more attractive to students.

When students and instructors were forced off physical campuses in the spring of 2020 by the COVID-19 pandemic, they quickly learned just how many effective remote learning tools are out there. 

For some students, remote learning remains a great option. Others are happy to be back in class in person, full time. But for many, a blended or hybrid model offers a best-of-both-worlds solution, providing the personal connection that comes with in-person learning and the flexibility of online classes. And having blended learning solutions in place can help all colleges and universities respond to unexpected events.

Sick Days Are a Good Argument for Blended Learning

We’ve always known that people should stay home when they’re sick to avoid infecting others, but before the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us ignored this advice. Instructors didn’t want to leave their students stranded, and students often saw their grades docked if they missed more than a few classes in a semester. By allowing lectures to be delivered or viewed remotely, colleges and universities can keep classes humming, while also keeping their students and faculty safe.

Providing More Opportunities for Professional Learning

Many colleges and universities offer continuing education or professional licensure programs aimed at midcareer professionals. Often, these people already have jam-packed work and personal schedules, and many find it difficult to travel to a physical college campus for a class every week. Using a blended learning model, schools can bring cohorts together on campus just a few times per semester, with the rest of instruction and discussion occurring via an online learning management system.

Extended Opportunities for Discussion, Interaction and Collaboration

In any group of 20 or 30 students, there are inevitably going to be a few shy ones — and at least a couple who tend to dominate the conversation. Effective instructors will find ways to get everyone involved during in-person classes, but online forums provide extra opportunities for students to interact with one another, share their ideas and make their voices heard. Some students who are timid in a classroom full of people may express themselves better in writing.

Blended Learning Can Support Enrollment and Retention

Higher education institutions are constantly competing with one another to attract and retain students, and they need to offer an array of options that will appeal to a broad swath of potential applicants. By supporting a blended learning model for at least some classes, colleges and universities can position themselves to attract students who feel that this is the best learning style for them.

Future Proofing the Educational Experience

While it’s unlikely that there’s another global pandemic lurking around the corner, the past two years have vividly demonstrated one thing: We never know what will happen next. Colleges and universities might need to shut down their physical campuses for extended periods due to flooding, hurricanes, wildfires or other natural disasters. By embracing a blended learning model now, schools can ensure continuous teaching and learning, no matter what the future holds.

Story by:

Shannon Lee Day, a Territory Sales Manager supporting colleges and universities in California and Hawaii for the past three-plus years. In her almost nine-year tenure at CDW and CDW Education, Shannon has been widely involved in our Women’s Opportunity Network, AV planning committee, Amplified IT planning committee and has been in a leadership role since 2017. Outside of CDW Education, Shannon serves as Vice President of Theatre 121 and is active in film, tv and theater in Chicago.

Mark Roeser, who has been with CDW for 17 years and has held his current role of Territory Sales Manager supporting colleges and universities in AR, LA, MS, NM, and TX for over five years. In addition to his Territory Sales Manager responsibilities, Mark is a committee lead for our Next Generation Leaders group and is a liaison in the Emerging Leader Program.


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