There’s no reason to feel intimidated by the concept of blended learning. Simply put, blended learning is the combination of teacher instruction and online technology that enables student-centered learning.
Teachers using blended learning can help students learn any time, any place, on any path, and at any pace using adaptive digital content. And you also know the use of technology frees up teachers to restructure their classroom and teach in new ways. Together, this provides the opportunity for more individualized instruction, meeting each student at their current level and challenging them at their appropriate pace. But that’s a broad overview of what blended learning can do; in this post we’ll get down to the nuts and bolts of blended learning models and how they work in classrooms.
The Christensen Institute has studied emerging blended learning models and determined most blended courses in schools today can be described as one of four models: Rotation, Flex, À La Carte, and Enriched Virtual. While the Christensen Institute has created these definitions as a helpful common taxonomy for talking about blended learning in practice, it is important to note many schools do not rely on just one of these models. Teachers and school leaders may implement more than one model or pull components from the models they find most effective to create something unique for the needs of their students. The point is, these models are not the only way blended learning can be implemented, but are a helpful starting point in describing what blended learning really looks like in classrooms.
Educators are likely already familiar with the Rotation model where students within a single class rotate between a number of different learning activities. In a blended learning Rotation model, though, at least one of these modalities is online learning. Other examples of rotation activities might include one-on-one time with the teacher, peer group interactions, teacher-led lessons, or independent study time. In the Rotation model, students learn primarily on a school campus, in a classroom with their teacher. Within the Rotation model, the Christensen Institute defines four sub-models: Station Rotation, Lab Rotation, Flipped Classroom, and Individual Rotation.
To read more about how blended learning can enable student-centered learning at scale, check out this blog post, this follow-up blog post, and this short video.
Source: Horn, Michael B., and Heather Staker. Blended: Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2014.
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