Blended learning is on the rise, at least that is what the reports tell us. The use of mobile technology in nearly every facet of life today makes blended learning a natural choice. In fact, ignoring the benefits of today’s tech tools appears to be plain irresponsible.
If you are not familiar with blended learning, it is a teaching strategy being used in many educational institutions today, in particular with grade school children, but also at higher education levels.
Essentially, blended learning refers to any time a student learns (at least partially) at a traditional brick-and-mortar facility and also through online delivery where the student has a little more control over the place, pace, and learning path.
Why is it Popular?
The increased usage of mobile devices and elearning tools in our daily lives is certainly a contributing factor to the rise in popularity of blended learning. But there are other potential factors as well.
For instance, recently the U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan described education’s “new normal”, which puts an emphasis on schools to do more with less. Blended learning could play a critical role as schools begin to re-think about course delivery, structure, and materials in an effort to accomplish more with “less”. Blended learning allows for economies of scale never possible before.
It is projected that by the year 2019, roughly 50% of high school courses will be delivered online. With the course material online, it opens the possibility of using the flipped-classroom model – ultimately changing the fundamental way we approach learning.
The important thing to remember during the transition to a blended learning curriculum is to carefully plan the technology and the support infrastructure. This can be done on many levels. For example, guidance can be given at a school district level all the way down to a classroom-by-classroom basis. Consistency becomes critical.
It is also important to remember that the infrastructure that is put into place should be as dynamic as the learning itself. Evaluate what works and what does not work – substituting the less effective tools and methodology for new ones.
It is a great time to start-up with blended learning as we are now seeing the massive adoption across many sectors of society.
Charter School Growth Fund
Department of Education