What is Blended Learning?
Blended learning is the process of delivering some of the instructional content in a given course through , typically over some online applet on computer, coupled with face-to-face instruction by a teacher or professor.
The amount of technology delivered this way can range from full online instruction with fully-graded assignments and the face-to-face being mostly optional, to largely traditional instruction with the occasional online learning resources, typically used for homework (see Figure 1).
Cedar Ridge Academy utilizes a blended model that falls in the middle of the continuum. The students meet daily , and spend significant time with those teachers covering topics where they need either differentiated or supplementary instruction. Furthermore, we have found a balance where students can move at a self-paced rhythm while still having access to the best parts of a traditional classroom. In this environment students feel empowered to direct their own education and can learn well in a non-threatening and non-competitive environment while holding to high standards.
The available research on the blended learning classroom (see Bolkan, 2012) suggests that while blended learning models don’t necessarily present a clearly superior model to the traditional classroom, with blended learning student engagement and self-reported enthusiasm are significantly higher than in traditional classrooms. Student engagement and application are the two best indicators for whether a student will learn and potentially apply a given lesson. The research shows that because technology-delivered resources tend to improve student engagement, student performance tends to improve as well. Students who have learning exceptionalities and students who come from challenging socio-economic circumstances particularly seem to benefit.
We have seen students who struggle to engage turn around and not only engage with school but excel in their classes, maintaining over 80% proficiency in their classes. The role of the teacher is crucial in making that a reality. Students often have questions or misunderstandings that a recorded lecture simply cannot resolve. In these times, the students have the opportunity to meet with a certified and highly-qualified teacher in their subject area to help them to resolve these concerns and overcome their roadblocks.
In short, the research shows what we see every day here at CRA: students who learn online with the help of a face-to-face instructor dramatically improve their scholastic performance and their confidence, which leads to long-term esteem improvement and further positive school performance.
While these same outcomes may be possible through other means, the online portion of their instruction helps to track their progress, gives them individual pacing flexibility, and maintains the highest state, regional and national standards for all instructional units.
Blackboard.com. 2012. Blended Learning: Where Online and Face-to-Face Instruction Intersect for 21st Century Teaching and Learning. Eduviews November 2012. Taken on 7/22/2013 from http://ebookbrowse.com/blendedlearning-pdf-d413271210
Bolkan, J. 2012. School Reform Through Blended Learning. the Journal. Taken on 7/22/2013 from http://thejournal.com/articles/2012/06/07/school-reform-through-blended-learning.aspx