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Five steps to a successful blended learning program

Follow this advice, and your transition to blended learning will go a lot smoother

blended-learning

Blended learning is an entirely new challenge—and chances are you won’t get everything right from the start.

History tells us that as they forged westward, pioneers often faced unexpected obstacles. It’s a great reminder that trailblazers need to be prepared for potential pitfalls.

As school leaders consider adopting blended learning to provide more opportunities for their students, here are five key considerations gleaned from the thousands of schools we’ve worked with.

1. Define your academic goals.

A blended learning model can be tailored to meet one or more objectives, such as personalizing instruction by infusing technology into the core curriculum; expanding the course offerings available to students; allowing students to take accelerated or specialized courses without leaving the school building; or helping students recover credits and graduate on time.

Your district’s goals should inform every step of the process, from selecting curriculum materials to recruiting the right staff. Once goals are set, it’s important to establish metrics so you can ensure the program is meeting its intended results.

2. Help teachers understand their critical role.

There is a common misconception that implementing technology displaces classroom teachers. In reality, the online component of a blended learning model is a powerful complement to face-to-face instruction—and, as in any classroom, the teacher is the single most important determining factor for student success.

With data generated from online tools and resources, teachers can pinpoint individual student needs and focus on high-value activities: coaching students, providing intervention for those who need extra help, and designing challenges for those who grasp concepts quickly.

School leaders can increase teachers’ comfort with blended learning by building awareness. Consider hosting forums to share your vision for this new model of instruction, and engage teachers in the process. Professional development also will help teachers learn how blended learning can be a classroom ally, freeing them from burdensome tasks so they can personalize the learning experience for students and spend more time mentoring, motivating, and instructing.

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