Depending on your educational context, target group, personal preferences, and teaching style, online media can lend themselves well to a variety of instructional scenarios. At present, three basic variants of web-based training have gained popularity in the university setting: the enriched, integrated, and virtual learning models.
The enriched learning model offers students an array of online resources designed to complement face-to-face teaching, such as digital lecture notes, slide presentations, handouts, and exercises for course preparation and review; it can also include a web-based communications platform. Use of these supplementary materials is entirely optional.
With integrated learning, also termed blended learning, face-to-face classes take place alternately with online sessions, with the aim of providing the best of both worlds. In this scenario, web-based and on-site seminars may rotate at certain intervals, such as on a weekly basis; however, the online units are mandatory. While classroom sessions may still be the primary means of conveying course content, they are interspersed with online exercises, which are reviewed and evaluated during subsequent on-campus seminars. Alternatively, students may choose to work through their course content via self-study, using online resources rather than attending on-site lectures. In this case, the scenario is reversed: Face-to-face seminars (termed flipped classroom) are reserved for exercises and discussions, while progress is monitored during the ensuing online phases, using e-tests, for example.
In a further scenario, on-site seminars are completely replaced by web-based training: The virtual learning model can comprise numerous online course types such as self-study units, MOOCs, or online seminars offered by the Virtuelle Hochschule Bayern (vhb). At institutions of higher education centered around traditional on-campus instruction, this learning model is more the exception than the rule, but it maximizes flexibility by providing access to supplementary online materials as well as courses that are not available at particular institutions.
With each of these web-based models, and in particular with lengthy online units, experience has shown that supervising students closely and encouraging them to engage in peer exchange is crucial to sustaining their motivation.