When you think of the words “blended learning” what image comes to mind? I ask this because blended learning models are not just one thing. It’s like the words, “vehicle” or “home.” You have a mental image of a vehicle and a home, but your mental image is probably not the same as the person next to you. Vehicles and homes come in many different shapes, sizes, colors and prices. A pickup truck, compact automobile, and luxury sports car are all very different vehicles. As are a two-story, ranch, and apartment homes. Sadly, for some of our students their vehicle is home.
Blended learning, like vehicles and homes, come in many different formats. Some are just a few small steps outside the traditional setting, others are very large leaps away from what one would consider a traditional classroom. And like the varying prices of vehicles and homes, the price or mind shift change in pedagogy and structures of the blended classroom or school can be low or steep. Blended learning is not just one thing. It’s underpinning, like the four wheels of a vehicle or the foundation of a home are described in the definition: combining online digital curriculum with traditional classroom instructional methods, but each deployment model, just like vehicles and homes, will look and feel very different when filled with students and teachers.
Like the varying prices of vehicles and home there is a cost, or “purchase” price of the adoption of each type of blended learning model. As you consider blended learning adoption, think about what structural changes your classroom, school, or district would have to make to buy into its adoption. The cost of adoption is truly the change process and change is often not easy to make. Students and parents are clamoring for change in education, but are you and your staff ready and at what cost? Are they ready for small steps or large leaps, or maybe somewhere in between? There are several models to choose from. I’m sure you will find one within your price range, or change process tolerance.
As the leader of a district, school, or classroom it will be up to you to set the underpinning principles of blended learning you have selected in to place. To document policies and procedures for others to understand. You will cast the vision, set the tone, and determine expectations for adults and students in the building and classrooms. And how much change is needed will depend on the deployment model you choose to adopt. So, consider all options. Know your own pocket book and how much change tolerance you, your staff and students are willing to make when picking a deployment model. It could range from a simple hybrid station or lab rotation, to a whole new look, disrupting the traditional classroom to a flex or enriched virtual model. No matter the blended learning model you select, just like any good vehicle or home, once you determine a model to your liking you will customize it and make it your own.
Planning for a blended learning environment can be overwhelming. Try our 7 steps to Program Design. Finding the just right fit can be daunting. Check out our 10 Models for Courseware to help secondary schools get the most out of their vendor purchases. Or just reach out and let us help you through the process.