Sorry! De informatie die je zoekt, is enkel beschikbaar in het Engels.
This programme is saved into My study choice.
This programme cannot be saved.
You are not logged in yet to My study choice Portal. Login or create an account to save your programmes.
Something went wrong, try again later.

Active Blended Learning in practice at VU Amsterdam

Last updated on 3 February 2022
Active blended learning is one of the design principles of education at VU Amsterdam. This design principle puts the learning process and the development of the student centre stage. Read here what this means in practice.

The student's learning process is central

Thinking for yourself, working together, formulating a goal, and coming to a solution — that is what activates students in their learning process. This is driven by a diversity of challenging and motivating learning activities. Through active learning, students acquire profound knowledge and skills that sticks. This results in a higher chance of study success.

Blended learning is a mix of face-to-face and ICT-based (often online) learning activities, learning materials and tools. This is different from the teaching during the corona lockdown, which was solely online. Ideally, the mix of elements reinforce each other: the best of both worlds. The goal is to create a learning experience that uses learning technology to enable effective, efficient and flexible learning.

Blended learning with technology connects to the students' life experience by:

  • using rich interactive digital resources;
  • working together on assignments;
  • rapidly exchanging ideas;
  • giving feedback on (and exchanging) assignments with teachers and fellow students.

Assignments as a motor for learning and teaching

Successful teaching is organised according to the principles of the concept constructive alignment. This concept involves aligning the learning objectives, the learning activities, and the assessment with each other. Assignments as part of assessment are the driving force behind active learning.

Teaching and learning consist of a series of tasks that are well attuned to each other and require increased independence in the higher grades. Students can carry out the tasks and assignments during lectures and work groups, but also in between, both individually and in groups. A variety of digital tools support them in these tasks. The learning journey of the student is the starting point in the educational design. This allows the student to take responsibility for their learning process.

Formative assessment is an integral part of active learning. Students perform a task, they receive feedback, process it, and learn during this process. Apart from the teacher, students also give feedback on each other's concepts or completed assignments (peer feedback) or analyse learning objectives, rubrics, exams or good examples of assignments together. This stimulates reflection on their learning process.

The study guides contain the assignments, which students work on from the start of a course. This way, study manuals become more like workbooks. They clearly describe what is expected of students, what support they can receive from the teacher and at what moments and with what criteria they are assessed. 

Active learning activities

An active learning activity is an assignment (in-class or out-of-class), that stimulates students to take an active and participative role in their learning process, aimed at achieving the learning goals. This can be done in different ways, here are some examples.

Active learning activities

A safe and inclusive learning environment

An important condition for successful active learning and collaboration, both in a classroom and an online setting, is an inclusive and safe learning climate. A safe learning climate ensures that all students feel invited and safe to participate actively. VU Amsterdam considers diversity as an important value and incorporates it in its teaching methods. The study content, processes, and methods include different cultural and personal perspectives (mixed classroom). This encourages students to reflect on their development.

An inclusive learning environment also means considering special circumstances  regarding learning and providing support where possible. Think of situations such as high giftedness or limited access to the Internet, a lack of a safe or good study environment, autism, or functional limitations such as a visual or hearing impairment. An example of a solution for the latter to this, is making sure to subtitle all videos and weblectures. 

VU Amsterdam policy encourages openness in research and education by using open educational resources as much as possible. This widens the accessibility of the material for all students. 

Better learning and more personal growth

Through active blended learning, students experience the advantages of campus education, alternating with location-independent and online study, collaboration, and knowledge sharing. This motivates both students and teachers. It also offers a wide repertoire of possibilities for the structure of a course and for teaching, with room for individual creativity. Active blended learning encourages students to engage in deep learning, involvement, and reflection, and thus ensures better processing of the study material and more personal growth.

Animation Active Blended Learning

This animation gives a bird's eye view of what active blended learning entails for VU Amsterdam.