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iNACOL Releases New Report on Promising Practices in Blended Learning from 2008-2015

Education Domain Blog

Authors: Verena Roberts

Issues: Issues in Practice


By Verena Roberts

Today, iNACOL released a new publication, Blending Learning: The Evolution of Online and Face-to-Face Education from 2008–2015, which explores case studies in blended learning and highlights promising practices in the field.

This paper examines trends, definitions and the diverse ways blended learning is implemented across school models in an effort to answer:

  • How does blended learning help engage students and support academic success?
  • How are online learning and face-to-face instruction being combined effectively?
  • What digital content and curricula are being used in blended learning?
  • What can we learn from blended learning case studies that can inform our thinking about new school designs?

Blended learning models enable educators to harness the power of technology to personalize instruction and create more engaging, efficient, and success-oriented learning environments in K-12 education. A large part of the future of education will involve blended models offering content, resources, and data-driven instruction both digitally and face-to-face. Blended learning features an element of student control over time, pace, path, and/or place, allowing for more student-centered learning experiences.

The report features Michael Horn’s work and builds upon the Clayton Christensen Institute’s research on the four predominant blended learning program models. The case studies and promising practices are identified using Christensen Institute’s models as context: Rotation model; Flex Model; A La Carte Model; Enriched Virtual Model.

These case studies are highlighted in the report:

  • At Randolph Central School District in New York, teachers utilized online assessment tools to examine student data and to create fluid, flexible, small groupings for elementary students. This resulted in improved academic performance for the students.
  • Spring City Elementary Hybrid Learning School’s blended learning implementation helped support a whole school transformation effort. Professional development opportunities, redesigning instructional models and physical classroom layouts combined with a thoughtful integration of technology helped facilitate a strong increase in test scores and student engagement.
  • Nolan Elementary-Middle School in Michigan adopted blended learning to meet the needs of their students and drive personalization. They incorporate blended instruction as a means to personalize and accelerate the learning process because students are grouped by stage in learning and readiness, not age. Nolan provides teachers’ professional development using a blended approach.

iNACOL would like to give special thanks to the authors of this report and contributors: Allison Powell, John Watson, Patrick Staley, Susan Patrick, Michael Horn, Leslie Fetzer, Laura Hibbard, Jonathan Oglesby and Su Verma. This project was highly collaborative and drew from experts across the field of K-12 education. We are indebted to our professional colleagues who are so willing to share. Thank you for being committed to each others’ successes and contributing to the advancement of the field as a whole. It is gratifying working with selfless professionals who do what is right for the kids every time.

You can find the iNACOL paper Blending Learning: The Evolution of Online and Face-to-Face Education from 2008–2015 and learn more about these schools using blended learning to make a difference for students.