Clay Christensen writes of the Theory of Jobs to Be Done, “When we buy a product, we essentially ‘hire’ something to get a job done… People don’t simply buy products or services, they ‘hire’ them to make progress in specific circumstances.” Understanding the “job” for which one is hiring for will benefit the client in selecting the right product and service in need and maximize its fullest potential. When developing a digital learning program, it’s key to align our true priorities with the proper product and service. Just as important, is to ensure appropriate staff professional development when changing classroom pedagogy.
Using online content and tools has become a regular appearance in the nation’s K-12 classrooms. Many different deployment methods have been utilized – often lumped into a single category of ‘digital learning.’ However, in the landscape of the classroom, when technologies are brought into the fold, not all programs are created equal. Especially in the eyes of the ever watchful National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), who is concerned when schools develop non-traditional learning programs. Thus it is important to note the various types and degrees of digital learning environments that are being offered to students.
The table below attempts to describe the various digital learning deployment programs, in degrees from non-traditional fully online learning, to the traditional classroom’s utilization of digital content (e.g. content area instruction) and tools (e.g. productivity software and apps) to enhance student success and engagement.
What is your digital learning vision? What deployment program best describes the ‘job to be done?’ Knowing the answers to these questions will help you seek the best products and services. Also, consider the professional learning needs of the staff (and students) to ensure that the job is fully aligned with your school’s or district’s vision and true priorities.
Numbers added to aide in conversation.
|1. Credit Recovery
|Utilization of grade level fully online courseware with a mastery-based component that always students to test-out of instruction and assignments. Individual learning paths for students will vary. Non-NCAA eligible.
|2. Online Course
|Utilization of grade level full course online courseware. Students work independently to complete the courses (typically vendor products), with an option to reach out to a highly-qualified instructor, as needed. Often deployed in a virtual lab setting with many students taking various courses at the same time with a lab mentor/coach. Exams are typically proctored. Tutoring may be available. Non-NCAA eligible.
|3. Online Learning
|A highly-qualified subject-area course instructor utilizes a grade level fully online course (vendor product or self-crafted) aligned to standards with rigor and high expectations. In addition, the instructor provides regularly scheduled instructional times (online or face-to-face) with students to extend and support the online classroom. May be NCAA eligible.
|4. Blended Learning
|A traditional classroom, with a highly-qualified subject-area instructor meeting daily with students within the typical bell schedule. Classroom instruction is a mix of online digital content (e.g. subject area instruction) and face-to-face teacher-led instruction. Student learning is guided by an integration of online and face-to-face instruction. Instructors use the data from the digital content partner(s) to guide student learning and classroom instruction.
|5. Educational Technology
|A traditional classroom, with a highly-qualified subject-area instructor meeting daily with students within the typical bell schedule. Classroom instruction utilizes digital tools, such asproduction software (e.g. Google Suite or a learning management system), instructional apps for presentations and assessment (e.g. slides and quizzing), or other technological processes and resources to facilitate learning.
|6. Unit Recapture
|In a traditional classroom, when a student fails a unit of study, the instructor assigns digital content aligned to the standards and expectations of the unit for students to re-learn and re-test for grade improvement purposes. *Same digital ‘learn-test’ strategy may be applied in an in-house suspension program when students are removed from the general population for a short period of time.