Blended Learning: a new methodology for the new times
Along the times, education’s main purpose has always been to nurture people to become valuable contributors towards our society and guide them to discover their full potential. Over time, its purpose hasn’t transformed significantly, however what has changed is the methodology by which it is implemented. This change in education has been observed by Manuel De La Fuente, the new headmaster of Career Academy Asia (CAA), a new Senior High School institution in the Philippines that mixes virtual and face-to-face classes to graduate even more prepared young learners.
“The methodology is pretty much determined by the contexts of the times. It was different during the Medieval Era. It was different during the Industrial Age, and it has to be different now. Today, knowledge is no longer within the realms of a school or within the confines of library. It is accessible to anyone who has an Internet connection,” says De La Fuente, to introduce us to what CAA is doing.
The institution opened its doors in August 2016 and sees education in a very innovative way. As a senior high school (11th and 12th grade), it focuses on teaching, math, sciences and other basic subjects along with skills that will help students prepare for college or to get a job once they graduate. This is why their curriculum offers professional courses in Graphic Design, Multimedia Art, Fashion Design, Events Management, and Hotel and Tourism Management.
These professional programs belong to recognized institutions that work as CAA’s partners, such as The First Media Design School of Singapore and the SDH Institute. According to De la Fuente, “we realized that we didn’t have to create a brand new curriculum; we could borrow an existing one that has already been tried and tested, so that people would trust us.
All of these offerings are not taught through a traditional educational system (an instructor teaching information and a group of students listening).
Their learners are physically on campus two and half times a week, while the rest of the time they do their work and study from their homes or from any other place they are.
Career Academy Asia uses Blackboard Open LMS to moderate their students’ learning progress. That way, even though the teachers don’t get to see their youths every single day, classes still happen daily.
“Knowing from the very beginning that we wanted to be a little bit more contemporary and that our learners should be on their own. We knew that we needed to have a platform… that will empower our students and will give them a certain structure for their educational process. That is when Blackboard came into mind,” explains De La Fuente.
CAA uses Blackboard Open LMS to moderate their students’ learning progress. That way, even though the teachers don’t get to see their youths every single day, classes still happen daily. According to De La Fuente, the students’ parents have expressed very positive comments saying that, in the past, they literally had to pull their kids out of bed to go to school; now, the students wake up by themselves and work from their computers.
With 28 local learners in total, Career Academy Asia receives students that come from homeschooling systems and easily adapt to blended learning methodologies. The students also come from traditional education backgrounds and learn to take personal accountability and responsibility of their studies and doing well on their own.
About Manuel De la Fuente, Career Academy Asia – Headmaster
With a very religious background, Manuel De la Fuente understands education as one of the best tools to make a better society. During his youth, he joined The Jesuit Community and was trained to be a priest. After 14 years, and with a degree in philosophy and a master’s degree in literature, he left the religious community and helped open three different schools in the Philippines working as a consultant. All this knowledge and experience increased his passion for education, not only in the academic field, but also in everything that has to do with the spirit, body, and mind. After 30 years dedicated to doing educational work, he decided to lead this new educational proposal called Career Academy Asia.
Photos by: AFP Joseph Agcaoili