Blended Learning Models Any Teacher Can Use
Blended learning is an effective technique to create a more “integrated” approach to teaching that benefits both teachers and students. This strategy, combining face-to-face classroom exercises with eLearning technology for better results, is effective for most students at all levels of education. The technique still has various different names.
Blended learning by any other name…
Blended learning examples may still be called by other names, although these identifiers are now used primarily in research studies. When you see the following terms, all should refer to blended learning, at least in the U.S.
- Hybrid learning
- Technology-mediated instruction
- Web-enhanced learning
- Mixed mode instruction
While these titles are often used interchangeably, they are blended learning examples of techniques and strategies that are growing in popularity by students and teachers alike. Courses that feature these strategies are offered at many education levels, including K-12 student settings.
The Innosight Institute developed a working definition of blended learning that helps clarify the procedure for teachers and instructors. In the opinion of Innosight, 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 at least in part at a supervised brick-and-mortar location away from home.”
As the concept grows, more and more courses and classes are offered that use blended learning examples to improve the education experience. Adopting this–or a similar–definition offers teachers freedom to tailor their preferred strategy and plan to their subject and student age range.
Blended learning examples
Although less prevalent in early grades, blended learning examples abound in the K-12 environment. Because of the lingering use of some different terms and language, examining the models and ways eLearning technology is used can help identify the blended strategy in practice. As blended learning language and terms stabilize, designing and installing teacher-preferred strategies will become easier to clarify and identify.
Combining traditional instruction with eLearning technology
Face-to-face teacher-led instruction and discussion to and with students of similar ability in a “unified curriculum” environment. This classic structure is then augmented by “digital enhancements,” such as open access to Internet-connected devices, digital textbooks, and use of online lesson plans. The primary content and instruction is still delivered by the teacher in a face-to-face setting.
Four blended learning models
These four blended learning examples are all growing, particularly in the K-12 education category. Any teacher can successfully use one of these options or combine techniques, at their discretion.
- Rotation model. Instructors of a single subject rotate their students, on a teacher-set fixed schedule, between learning types, including small group instruction, group projects, individual tutoring, pencil and paper assignments, and online instruction.
- Flex model. Most content and instruction come from the Internet. Students have a customized, fluid schedule, while the teacher remains on-site to offer face-to-face support on a needed basis. The amount of in-person support time depends on individual student needs.
- Self-blend model. Students choose one or more courses entirely online, supplementing classic face-to-face teaching of other subjects. Not a “whole school” experience, students self-blend their online and traditional course selections.
- Enriched-virtual model. Unlike the former program, this is a “whole school” experience, as students divide their time between attending school in-person and remotely getting online content and instruction. Instead of having what might be termed two separate curriculum options, with individual courses fully online or in- person, this technique combines teaching methods of identical subjects, split between face-to-face teaching and Internet use.
These blended learning examples can be used by any teacher at any level. All fit the Innosight Institute definition since they include face-to-face teaching and eLearning technology solutions. Instructors retain the freedom to structure their courses in the way they believe will yield the best results for their students.Learn More: Click to view related resources.
- Heather Staker and Michael B. Horn, "Classifying K–12 Blended Learning," Innosight Institute