Modern Tools Students Love

With Harmonize, instructors and students
can’t help but stay engaged.

Want to create vibrant blended learning environments?

Harmonize makes it a cinch.
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Increase student

Encourage more frequent and thoughtful engagement with tools that get students engaging online in blended learning environments.

Multimedia discussion tools help students contribute in ways that feel familiar and natural. Milestones and notifications keep students on track and help them stay organized around instructors’ expectations for the class.

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Promote social &
inclusive learning

Create a social blended learning environment that is inclusive of diverse learners.

Fully accessible discussion options give students of all abilities a way to participate. Instructors can also run polls, set up small groups, or enable anonymous posting to include students who otherwise might not contribute.

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Promote social & inclusive learning

Save time for instructors

Eliminate tedious tasks and help instructors identify students who need support.

From plagiarism detection and LMS gradebook integration to autograding, Harmonize saves hours of valuable time for instructors implementing blended learning. Use Engagement Insights to see which students are excelling — and which ones are struggling.

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A full suite of blended learning tools to build engaging learning environments

rich multimedia icon Rich multimedia

Help students express themselves by posting images, video, audio, or text

flag icon Milestones

Help students see what’s expected of them, and when, so they make substantive, on-time contributions

student annotation icon Streamlined grading

Save time for instructors with LMS gradebook integration and autograding

Student facilitation

Give students control of discussions with tools that encourage them to contribute.

reactions & tagging icon Reactions & tagging

Improve participation with tools that bring everybody into the conversation


Provide interactive feedback and help students engage more deeply with content

Plagiarism detection

Integrate Harmonize with your plagiarism software to auto-detect unoriginal content


Enable students and instructors to communicate privately or in groups


Assess comprehension and knowledge with polls that engage the whole class

Q&A Boards icon Q&A boards

Let students answer each others’ questions with public boards

Blended learning has never been more engaging
10 x

increase in student-to-student collaboration

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56 %

increase in student engagement

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100 %

of instructors satisfied with discussions

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Tools for Blended Learning

Terms like hybrid, online, and blended get thrown around a lot. So really, what is blended learning? Blended learning, also known as technology-mediated instruction, web-enhanced instruction, or mixed-mode instruction, is an approach to education that combines online educational materials and opportunities for interaction online with physical place-based classroom methods. Blended learning in higher education has its roots in online learning and represents a fundamental shift in instruction that has the potential to optimize online student engagement in higher education. Although colleges and universities have been using technology for years, until recently they haven’t generally used technology to provide students with a true blend of instruction that gives them some element of control over their learning. Enter, tools for blended learning.

To successfully design an effective blended learning experience, it’s important to incorporate a blended learning tool that supports collaborative learning. Collaborative learning requires learners to work together to make connections, uncover new ways of understanding concepts, and achieve a shared goal  (Laal & Laal, 2012; Falcione et al. 2019). It continues to be one of the most effective instructional methods for students. Studies show that online collaboration increases students’ academic achievement and self-efficacy. And while it may seem more challenging to facilitate collaboration in online learning, research shows that student participation in online collaborative learning activities are related to better course outcomes — which explains the rise of blended learning apps and blended learning platforms.

While there’s no shortage of technology for blended learning on the market, the best ones foster connection and community as well as provide learners with an active role and responsibility in their learning — working together to build knowledge, to explore ways to innovate, and to seek the conceptual knowledge needed to solve problems. In this article, we’ll explore some of these tools for blended learning, the benefits of blended learning in higher education, and share blended learning resources.

Advantages of Blended Learning

While there are certainly many challenges of blended learning, the advantages of blended learning are far ranging. In general, blended learning research shows that participants often experience greater efficiency, accessibility, and engagement.

Efficiency: Years ago, an instructor may have spent days explaining a complex math concept. It was difficult to assess student understanding and engagement. Today, asynchronous blended learning can help instructors more quickly and accurately assess the student’s knowledge and teach concepts more efficiently. It is said that blended learning improves the efficacy and efficiency of the entire learning process for both instructors and students.

Accessibility: With traditional teaching methods, educational materials were only available during classroom hours. Students may have been able to take their textbooks home with them, but they didn’t have a way to actually interact with or engage the material. With new learning apps and other technological advances, they have more flexibility to access and engage with course material from home. This accessibility along with the opportunity to self-pace the learning could translate into more successful outcomes.

Student engagement in blended learning: Blended learning also presents more opportunities for students to connect with their peers and instructors. Using blended learning tools, they can connect via chat, feedback, or on discussion boards. Courses with an online component is an effective means for instructors and students to become more engaged with one another outside of the classroom. In the end, the benefits of blended learning are powerful. Instructors can keep a better pulse on student progress and engagement, while students can ask more questions, collaborate more frequently with classmates, and gain deeper knowledge.

When it comes to blended learning advantages and disadvantages, the benefits far outweigh the challenges. In addition to instructional efficiency, the blended learning tools can give greater insight into how their learners are doing. With blended learning tools, instructors have real-time insights to see whether students are engaging with the content and keeping on track with learning goals. They can see what’s working, so they can offer a more effective learning experience. The same goes for the organization’s learning departments. With blended learning, they have real opportunities to deliver faster outcomes at lower costs, as well as reach a much wider audience through the use of blended learning platforms.

Blended Learning Models

There are many types of blended learning models. The majority of programs resemble one of four 4 types of blended learning: rotation, flex, a la carte model of blended learning, and enriched virtual. Here, we’ll share just a few, many of which are focused on the rotation model of blended learning.

  1. Station Rotation Blended Learning

Station-Rotation is just one of the models of blended learning that allows students to rotate through stations on a fixed schedule, where at least one of the stations is an online learning station. This model is most common in elementary schools because teachers are already familiar with rotating in centers and stations.

  1. Lab Rotation Blended Learning

The Lab Rotation model of blended learning, similar to Station Rotation, works by allowing students to rotate through stations on a fixed schedule in a dedicated computer lab allowing for flexible scheduling arrangements with instructors.

  1. Remote Blended Learning

Here, the student’s focus is on completing online coursework while only meeting with the instructor intermittently or as-needed. This approach differs from the Flipped Classroom model in the balance of online to face-to-face instructional time. In a remote blended learning model, students wouldn’t see/work with/learn from a teacher on a daily basis face-to-face but would in a ‘flipped’ setting.

  1. Flex Blended Learning

The ‘Flex’ is included in types of blended learning and its model is one in which a course or subject in which online learning is the backbone of student learning, even if it directs students to offline activities at times. Students move on an individually customized, fluid schedule among learning modalities. The teacher of record is onsite, and students learn mostly on the brick-and-mortar campus, except for any assignments. The instructor provides face-to-face support on a flexible and adaptive as-needed basis through activities such as small-group instruction, group projects, and individual tutoring.

  1. Individual Rotation Blended Learning

The Individual Rotation model allows students to rotate through stations, but on individual schedules set by a teacher or software algorithm. Unlike other rotation models, with this blended learning approach, students do not necessarily rotate to every station; they rotate only to the activities scheduled on their playlists.

  1. Project-Based Blended Learning

One of the other blended learning models we’ll cover is the blended project-based learning where students use both online learning—either in the form of courses or self-directed access—and face-to-face instruction and collaboration to design, iterate, and publish project-based learning assignments, products, and related artifacts. This is a blend of synchronous and asynchronous learning.

There are, of course, other types of blended learning in higher education. Learn more about those here: Christensen Institute and

Blended Learning Approach

When it comes to a blended learning approach, the key here is twofold. We must envision, adapt and then apply teaching strategies that mirror the goals of classroom instruction to an online learning environment, AND we must navigate the course development process in a way that leverages blended learning resources and asynchronous discussion tools designed to facilitate that mix of face-to-face and online instruction.

Let’s first talk about instructional strategies to improve student engagement in blended learning.

  1. Create collaborative community spaces. As more and more of the college experience moves (at least partially) into online spaces, so too must the social interactions among peers. Virtual communities are a great way for colleges to create new spaces for students to connect, ask questions, and offer support. Virtual social communities can be a highly valuable way for students to feel connected to their peers and foster a sense of belonging within the learning community. Instructional designers and instructors can use shared, collaborative spaces, like online discussion boards, to help reinforce the continuity between the asynchronous course materials and synchronous discussions. Students and instructors may share articles, videos, and podcasts that help deepen the conversation and enhance learning.
  2. Leverage the asynchronous time of blended as a flipped space. Many of us are familiar with the flipped classroom model. You can use that same framework for your asynchronous and synchronous sessions. Your asynchronous materials can help prepare students for the synchronous sessions and also serve as a debriefing space afterward. You can post your course materials online (readings, videos, links, images) and then use a tool like the discussion board to clarify, dive deeper, and explore other perspectives as students continue to reflect after the synchronous session.
  3. Use active learning techniques. Another way to reinforce continuity is by using active learning techniques. Assign activities during an asynchronous session and have the responses create the agenda or your talking points for the synchronous session. This approach provides ample opportunities for students to process course material through thinking, writing, talking, and problem solving — giving students multiple avenues for learning. It also allows the instructors to provide timely feedback and gives other students an opportunity to practice giving and receiving feedback.
  4. Refer to asynchronous materials during synchronous sessions and vice versa. This is one of the easiest, no-tech ways to encourage continuity between asynchronous and synchronous sessions. During asynchronous learning, be sure to incorporate how students should interact with these materials, where they’ll see them again in the course, and how you’ll use them in your discussion. During synchronous discussions, refer back to specific materials you shared in asynchronous activities. If students comment on a discussion board or prepare an activity for the class, make that a part of your synchronous session so you can respond to specific points or reinforce learning objectives.
  5. Build in simple interactions. During live instruction or in offline time, be sure to take temperature checks throughout the class. This could be a simple thumbs up/down or a yes/no poll. These will help you to make sure everyone is engaged and interacting. When teaching live, consciously design pauses into the lesson — using polls — that allow students moments to work with the information being presented and provide feedback. One of the benefits of blended learning here is that it helps a student feel like their voice is heard.

Together, blended learning approach research shows that these student engagement strategies can help you improve student outcomes in blended learning courses.

Technology for Blended Learning

One of the most impactful ways to engage students in blended learning environments is by mixing these asynchronous and synchronous examples using technology for blended learning. Using this kind of distance learning platform can foster better inclusion among all learners, and that often translates into more engaged students.

To achieve this, instructional designers are turning to a suite of online discussion and collaboration tools that are proving to be critical blended learning tools for teachers. This blended learning software focuses attention on the activities that drive student engagement, including:

These blended learning tools, also called blended learning apps, increase the quality and quantity of student-to-student, student-to-content, and student-to-instructor interactions and include:

In fact, by helping to foster virtual connection, distance learning technology like this works to reduce the common barriers that often prevent students from fully engaging in their online learning, including minimizing the sense of isolation online learning can cause. In addition, the best tools for blended learning are LTI tools (Learning Tools Interoperability), which allow courseware and blended learning tools from different vendors to be launched within a blended learning platform, often an LMS.

Using technology to incorporate an effective mix of synchronous and asynchronous online learning activities provides increased opportunities to engage — leading to higher likelihood of student engagement, retention and success.

As a solution for blended learning, Harmonize provides a suite of online discussion & collaboration tools that helps instructors increase student engagement in their courses. Built to integrate seamlessly with the LMS, Harmonize enriches the learning experience with tools that boost engagement, promote inclusive learning, and save valuable time for instructors.

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