There are many different blended learning models today, but what is at the heart of blended learning? According to the Innosight Institute, blended learning is a formal education program in which a student learns at least in part through online delivery of content and instruction with some element of student control over time, place, path, and/or pace and least in part at a supervised brick-and-mortar location away from home.
At first glance, this definition sounds very technical, but at the heart of this definition is a situation in which students are engaged in a realistic learning environment for today’s expectations. This becomes more clear when we consider the needs of the 21st century learner as well as the deficiencies of the 21st century American workforce. Both unveil the misalignment between our current educational practices and our desired outcomes.
As a district administrator, one of my tasks is to coordinate the development of a college going culture. This includes but is not limited to:
- Helping teachers better understand their students’ needs
- Helping students to becoming better learners
- Incorporating the skills sets that are increasingly necessary in today’s workforce (21st century skills)
This is where blended learning models come in. These are not silver bullets, but they are ways to better serve students on silver platters. The teachers today are confronted with many obstacles, but blended learning affords them with models to address today’s college and career demands. If we are truly working to prepare students for the rigors of college and career, we have to be focused on how students learn, the learning environment, and the expectations after they leave the K-12 system. If done well, blended learning accomplishes these goals.
There are several key factors that should be addressed before considering an implementation of a blended learning model, all of which are rooted in proper planning and support. Theses key indicators are presented clearly in the infographic found below from Digital Learning Now.