Expanding on the CIA of Blended Learning

Expanding on the CIA of Blended Learning

In December 2016, we was first introduced the CIA of blended learning; digital Curriculum, guided Instruction, and authentic Assessment. In a blended classroom CIA has unique qualifiers. The more we present this concept to teachers, schools, and administrators as they prepare to adopt blended learning, it grew and expanded to show the circular relationship of the three elements presented here. Understanding the one-third relationship of the three elements can shift teacher mindset for partnering with digital content to establish a blended personalized learning environment.

Blended Learning

First, let’s revisit the definition of blended learning, in its simplest of terms: Adding the wisdom of teachers, with the intelligence of technology to create a personalized learning environment for every student. Understanding the relationship of these three elements helps to create a balanced blended classroom.


Digital Curriculum

In a blended classroom, teachers need to partner with software and the intelligence of technology, that can provide individual data points, to deliver Depth of Knowledge (DOK) levels 1-2: recall and skill/concept. Computer access to lessons allows students to pick up where they left off, thus reducing gaps in learning.

  • Engaging digital software
  • Aligned to standards
  • Personalized learning space
  • Data points for every individual student

Through partnering with digital content, software and resources filled with curriculum with individual data points, teachers are freed from having to deliver DOK 1-2 to the masses.

Guide Instruction  

Using the data from the digital partner, the wisdom of the teacher can support and extend learning. When teachers partner with software, they no longer have to lecture to the middle, they can create learning environments that intervene (DOK 1-2) where necessary and stretch students to Depth of Knowledge (DOK) level 3: strategic thinking.

  • Data-driven
  • Small and whole group
  • Scaffold, support, and stretch
  • Emphasis on power/essential standards

Teachers know where students typically stumble or have misconceptions and what standards are essential. This wisdom is vital in the blended classroom. Large group instruction may be used to expand on standards or as a method to open and close digital lessons sandwiching the learning. But keep in mind, students also want a relationship with their teacher, so one-on-one tutoring and small groups provide valuable time with individual students.

Authentic Assessment  

Both the digital curriculum and the teacher guided instruction will assess students, so in a blended classroom, using digital tools, students should be assessed via project learning. This type of assessment extends learning to Depth of Knowledge (DOK) level 4: extended thinking using the four Cs:

  • Critical thinking
  • Communication
  • Collaboration
  • Creativity

Students can demonstrate their mastery of standards, via teamwork and project learning.

Putting it All Together

The relationship of the foundations of CIA of blended, and the connecting elements are best demonstrated in the circular representation above. Digital Curriculum provides DOK 1-2. With data. teachers provide guide Instruction, to intervention as needed and stretch learning to DOK 1-3. Teachers extend the learning via authentic Assessment. Utilizing the four C’s and the technology tools, students demonstrate mastery of curriculum standards.

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