If you've been researching web based education and training methods, you've undoubtedly encountered the term "blended learning". You might wonder exactly what the expression means. There are actually two different approaches to the concept. Understanding that may give you a better idea of what any individual source means when they use the term.
Some people refer to blended learning (or blended elearning) as a way of combining traditional "in person" educational opportunities with online lessons and instructional materials. They advocate a "blend" of traditional and web based techniques to improve the quality of education and the efficiency of its delivery.
This version is often mentioned in academic settings where it seems as though the drive to maintain levels of traditional face-to-face contact is stronger. This desire to maintain interpersonal contact stems both from pedagogical belief and the fact that many universities and other schools are not technologically prepared to move to a wholly Internet based method of instruction.
Blended classes might start with a series of traditional face-to-face classroom gatherings, during which core information and prerequisite information is supplied to students. The class would then move online for the bulk of the term. It might then close with another series of traditional meetings.
We can contrast this outlook with another perspective on blended learning. Many in the elearning field consider blending a matter of combining multiple online delivery methods as part of an educational or training program. When the term is used this way, the entire course is presented via the Internet.
You'll often see this perspective on elearning mentioned in more business-oriented situations.
The best way to determine exactly what a writer or speaker means when he or she mentions "blended learning" is by context. Try to determine if the individual is discussing situations that are likely to involve traditional face-to-face teaching and/or classroom methods. You can usually contrast that perspective on blending with that of those who are discussing completely web based systems