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The title of this paper echoes Nicholas
Carr’s (2008) article, Is Google Making Us Stupid?, which evoked heated debate
around the issue of whether the Internet was having negative effects upon human
concentration and learning. While this paper agrees that blended learning has
the same issues as the Internet, blended learning is under the control of
organizations, institutions, instructors and students. Whether our brains are
being changed for better or worse is not the critical question, but how much
confidence we ascribe to blended learning. This paper argues that blended
learning should be regarded as blended teaching because the phrase comprises a
contested assumption. Educators, by their selection of traditional and online
media, have complete control over this teaching, but students, in the end, are
the ultimate arbiters of their own learning.
This paper compares Brian Cambourne’s Conditions of Learning (1988), APA’s Learner-Centered Psychological Principles (1997), and Malcolm Knowles’ Adult Learning Theory (2011). These theories embrace the natural learning process and not the traditional view of learning. The traditional view suggests that the teacher has the knowledge, the learner is dependent on the teacher to disseminate the knowledge and the learner has nothing to contribute. In the natural learning process, knowledge is distributed in a circular and reciprocal way through a collaborative sharing of experiences, centered on real life situations, and learners are responsible for their own learning. In the 21st century knowledge is constantly changing and expanding exponentially. The natural learning process facilitates the life-long learning that is needed to remain a valuable contributor in society where learning has become a collaborative experience.