Giving Compass' Take:

• Sometimes blended learning models do not help to meet learning outcomes.  Tiffany Wycoff proposes that teachers develop the capacity to pick and choose different models, altering them as they go to see which model works best.

How can philanthropy help shape blended learning models or contribute to the education space? Can advocates of blended learning help build teacher capacity for new models? 

• While some educators find that blended learning solutions are the key to the future of education, others think that blended learning needs to build more of an evidence base.

When I first began blending digital and face-to-face learning, it was easy enough to create a flow between online learning spaces and offline learning. However, I noticed that sometimes my students were not getting as much out of the digital learning platform as I had anticipated. This was especially true when students could rush through their tasks, consuming content without real understanding or application of learning. Instead of trying to learn, they were racing to be done.

This situation reflects the limitation of a models-approach to blended learning implementation. While models have been pivotal in helping teachers implement the blended practice, a hyper-focus on their individual components, or one model over another, can obscure the big picture. In the case of blended learning, it is easy to get the model right and entirely miss the targeted outcome.

While models precisely outline classroom design they do not inform alignment with learning outcomes or the means of personalized assessment beyond adaptive tools.

As school leaders, we can start by creating a culture of trust, collaboration and growth mindset, or what we call a culture of generativity. Teachers are then empowered as learners who regularly engage in self and shared reflection. From there, we can explore the models as a stepping stone to personalized learning and make space for iterative practice by encouraging teachers to tinker with tools within a model that feels comfortable as a starting point.

To enable a mindset over models mentality, we need to ensure teachers can build capacity in the hallmarks of effective blended practice:  PAACC. This model focuses on personalization, agency, audience, connectivity and creativity. By aligning lessons and project units to this framework teachers can implement a model or combination of models with the confidence that they are hitting the personalization target.

Read the full article about blended learning models by Tiffany Wycoff at EdSurge.