A set of Powerful Resources and Tools to Help Educators Understand Why Blended Learning is Vital and How to Develop or Improve Their Approach to it.
“Blended Learning” has many definitions. Here's one I really like, “Blended Learning is … a shift to online delivery for a portion of the day to make students, teachers and schools more productive. Learning in multiple modalities yields more and better data that creates an integrated and customizable learning experience.” This is from the Blended Learning Implementation Guide (discussed further below).
In this article, we offer a curated set of resources that can equip any educator to better understand how Blended Learning (a.k.a. “Hybrid Learning”, “Mix-Mode Instruction”, “Web-enhanced Instruction” and other terms) works and why it is increasingly understood to be an optimal approach to teaching and learning. Additionally, the tools and insights offered in these articles and videos can help the early adopter get up to speed and the experienced educator evolve their approach. Whether you are just beginning to learn about Blended Learning, or already ‘get it' but want to learn more, you've come to the right place.
1. The Blended Learning Implementation Guide 2.0 from the Foundation for Excellence in Education
This PDF takes the reader through a linear progression that starts with creating conditions for success and then works through planning, implementation, and finally, working to assess and improve.
One of many great sets of information imparted in this document is this list of 10 Drivers of Blended Learning:
1. Improve ability to personalize learning
2. Potential for individual progress
3. Improve student engagement and motivation
4. Shift to online state tests starting in 2015
5. Need to extend time and stretch resources
6. Potential to extend the reach of effective teachers
7. Ability to improve working conditions
8. Decrease device costs
9. Student and parent adoption of learning apps
10. Interest in narrowing the digital divide
If this piques your interest, download the paper and read on!
2. “Blended Learning Implementation Guide” Video
This is one of several video focused on Blended Learning in this Video Library from DigitalLearningNow. This video walks through the implementation steps discussed in the Digital Learning Now! Smart Series white paper, Blended Learning Implementation Guide 2.0 (the paper mentioned above). This is a great, quick overview of the importance of Blended Learning and how schools and school districts can approach it.
3. “Blended Instruction: Exploring Student-Centered Pedagogical Strategies to Promote a Technology-Enhanced Learning Environment” from BlendedInstruction.net.
http://blendedinstruction.net/ (note: you have to provide an email address to download this – look to the right side of the home page for the Submit & Download button)
This text from the BlendedInstruction.net About Page does a great job of introducing this PDF, and providing further insights:
“We’ve learned a great deal along the way. In that process, we’ve identified that blended learning is not:
- A way to reduce the number of teachers in a school
- Didactic teaching with the use of a computer instead of a lecturer
- A way to justify getting computers
- Distance learning
- An isolation of students or learning experiences
Therefore, we thought it was important to describe what we’ve determined blended instruction is.
Our Blended Instruction white paper captures what teachers do, what it looks like in the classroom, and explores important instructional strategies that promote student-centered learning autonomy.”
4. The Blended Learning Tool Kit from the University of Central Florida
This web site offers tools and resources for blended learning, grouped into five functional sub-menus: Process, Model Courses, Effective Practices, Evaluation Resources, and a Faculty Development section (this latter section appears largely geared towards existing UCF faculty, with the notable exception of the BlendKit Course, which has resources anyone can consume, including archived Webinars; there is also an upcoming online learning opportunity). There's some great stuff here, whether you are just getting started, or are already experienced with blended learning.
5. 37 Blended Learning Resources You Can Use Tomorrow from TeachThought
This is a nice blended learning tool kit, with listings of free Courseware, free Online Texts, and free Video Resources, followed by a section offering tools for ‘remixing'. “Once you have determined the content of your course, you will need to figure out a vehicle for delivering it to your students … to mix all the ingredients together.” For each of these tools, a sentence or two of explanation if provided.
6. Blended Learning Resources from the Donnell-Key Foundation
The dozens of excellent assets presented here are organized into seven well structured categories, as follows:
- What is Blended Learning?
- Site visits and Case Studies
- Digital Systems and Digital Content
- Hardware and Infrastructure
- Blended Learning Blogs
7. The EDUCAUSE Blended Learning Page
Resources focused primarily on Blended Learning in Higher Education, from one of the web's premier purveyors of insights and information regarding the application of technology in colleges and universities. This page consists primarily of staff-picked articles on the topic, and a “Library Items” button that, when clicked, will provide an updated list of many articles related to Blended Learning.
I hope you have as productive and enjoyable a time exploring these resources as I did. There may be some overlap in some of the sets of resources provided here, but I strove to avoid it. As always, we would love to hear from you, so please share your favorite resources and related experiences with us in a comment. Thanks!