The definition of blended learning has pretty much been determined as “a formal education program in which a student learns at least in part through online learning, with some element of student control over time, place, path and/or pace; at least in part in a supervised brick-and-mortar location away from home; and the modalities along each student’s path within a course or subject are connected to provide an integrated learning experience.” (Horn & Staker, 2013).
The real challenge is how does one best implements blended learning. In research I did as part of iNACOL, we determined there are six elements that are needed to implement a successful blended learning program:
- 1. Leadership
- 2. Professional Development
- 3. Teaching
- 4. Operations
- 5. Content
- 6. Technology
These six elements are in a specific order on purpose because without leadership, it is difficult for any initiative to succeed. Many have said, and I agree, that blended learning is a top down and bottom up initiative all at once. However, when all of these elements are in synch, then the likelihood for a blended learning initiative to be sustainable increases. It should also be noted that implementing blended learning in a new school is much easier than transforming an established school.
Future blogposts will focus on each element with examples of promising practices for each element. In addition, I will share about the schools where there are examples of these elements in action.