Welcome to the latest post in our series on blended learning. Previously, we’ve explored what blended learning is and delved into its strengths and weaknesses. We’ve also looked at practical examples of blended learning and how they are applied in various educational contexts.
Today, we shift our focus to the models of blended learning. This post aims to provide an understanding of different blended learning models, their structures, and how they are implemented in educational settings. By examining these models, educators can gain insights into how to best integrate blended learning strategies into their teaching practices.
For those of you not familiar with the concept of blended learning. This is an educational approach that combines traditional classroom teaching methods with digital and online media. It aims to provide a more integrated learning experience, leveraging both face-to-face teacher guidance and the flexibility of online resources. This approach allows for a personalized learning journey, accommodating different learning styles and needs, and often involves some element of student control over time, place, path, and/or pace of learning.
Blended Learning Models
In the realm of blended learning, various training organizations and educational institutions adopt different models, and there is no single set of definitive models universally recognized in literature. This post explores blended learning models from two distinct sources: Dreambox Learning by Discovery Education and Blendedlearning.org.
While Dreambox Learning presents models like the Face-to-Face Driver and Flex Model, Blendedlearning.org offers models like Station Rotation and Flipped Classroom. These models, despite coming from different sources, often share similarities in their approach to integrating online and traditional learning methods.
However, they also exhibit unique characteristics tailored to specific educational needs and contexts. The exploration of these models provides a comprehensive understanding of the diverse ways blended learning can be structured and implemented.
Blended Learning Models
We will start with the models featured by Dreambox Learning then talk about Blendedlearning/org’s models:
Blended Learning Models by Dreambox Learning:
Face-to-Face Driver Model: This model primarily uses traditional classroom instruction, with online learning components serving as supplementary. It’s ideal for subjects where hands-on or face-to-face interaction is crucial, allowing for online resources to enhance understanding or provide additional practice.
Rotation Model: Students rotate on a fixed schedule or at the teacher’s discretion between learning modalities, such as online learning, group projects, and traditional classroom instruction. This model fosters a diverse learning experience, catering to different learning styles.
Flex Model: Predominantly online, the Flex Model allows students to work through course content at their own pace. Teachers provide support and guidance as needed, making it suitable for self-directed learners.
Online Lab Model: Instruction occurs entirely online, but in a supervised school environment. It’s often used when schools lack the capacity for certain subjects or advanced courses, providing access to a broader curriculum.
Self-Blend Model: Students supplement their traditional classroom learning by taking additional online courses. This model offers greater course variety and flexibility, allowing students to explore subjects beyond their school’s offerings.
Online Driver Model: Instruction is primarily online, with face-to-face check-ins. This model offers flexibility and personalization, ideal for students who thrive in an independent learning environment.
Here is a visual I created capturing the 6 blended learning models proposed by Dreambox Learning:
This visual is also available for free download in PDF format but only for subscribers to Educators Technology. Subscribe to get your free copy!
Blended Learning Models by Blendedlearning.org
Station Rotation: This model, commonly used in elementary schools, involves students rotating through various stations, including an online learning station. It’s akin to traditional “centers” or station-based learning, seamlessly integrating online components.
Lab Rotation: Similar to Station Rotation, but the online learning takes place in a dedicated computer lab. This model utilizes existing school computer labs and supports flexible scheduling with teachers and paraprofessionals.
Individual Rotation: Students rotate through stations based on individual schedules set by teachers or algorithms. They engage only in activities specifically tailored to their learning playlists, offering a personalized learning experience.
Flipped Classroom: Inverts traditional class and homework roles. Students learn at home through online courses and lectures, while class time is used for practice or projects, enabling interactive and hands-on learning during school hours.
Flex: Features a fluid schedule where online learning is central, and teachers provide support as needed. This model offers students significant control over their learning, adapting to individual needs and pacing.
A La Carte: Allows students to take online courses alongside face-to-face classes, offering greater schedule flexibility. Particularly useful for providing access to courses not available in the school, like Advanced Placement or electives.
Enriched Virtual: An alternative to full-time online schooling, combining online coursework with mandatory face-to-face sessions. This model requires less frequent on-campus attendance compared to traditional schooling, offering more flexibility.
Analyzing the blended learning models from Dreambox and Blendedlearning.org reveals distinct preferences and approaches. Dreambox’s models, like the Face-to-Face Driver and Flex Model, seem to emphasize a more structured approach, balancing online learning with traditional elements. This might be more suitable for settings that require a strong in-person component.
On the other hand, Blendedlearning.org’s models, including Station Rotation and Flipped Classroom, appear to be more flexible and student-centric, allowing for more personalized learning paths. The similarities lie in their shared goal of integrating online and offline learning experiences, yet they differ in execution, with each model catering to varying degrees of flexibility, student autonomy, and instructor involvement.
In wrapping up our series on blended learning, we’ve traversed a comprehensive path from understanding what blended learning is, to discussing its advantages and disadvantages, and exploring real-life examples of blended learning. Today’s exploration of various blended learning models offers educators a framework to consider how best to integrate digital and traditional learning methods.
Each model presents unique opportunities and challenges, catering to different educational needs and contexts. This series aims to equip educators with a deeper understanding and practical insights into the versatile world of blended learning, enhancing their ability to create more dynamic and effective learning environments.