Five steps to a successful blended learning program

3. Support the needs of all students.

Self-directed pacing and ongoing assessment empower students to take greater responsibility for their own learning. As students become more self-aware of their learning styles, they are building essential life skills—such as time management and communication—that will position them well for future academic, career, and life achievements.

To ensure that every student can be successful, look for an online curriculum that offers interactive tools and support to help meet the learning requirements of all students, including English language learners and students with special needs.

4. Anticipate pushback.

Change can be scary. Be prepared to address concerns from the entire school community, especially parents, who might be unfamiliar with the benefits of blended learning. Share your plan early with all stakeholders in a variety of settings, from meetings to websites, and establish an open door policy for questions.

While you might not expect objections from digital natives themselves, the shift to blended learning might prompt some students to ask about going back to the way things were. Be prepared to listen to their concerns, and mentor them on strategies that will help them succeed in this new mode of learning.

5. Innovate and adapt.

For most schools, blended learning is an entirely new challenge—and chances are you won’t get everything right from the start. Challenge your team to constantly evaluate your program so you can identify what’s working and what needs to be improved. Don’t be afraid to seek help from experts, including other schools that have implemented blended learning programs.

But one size does not fit all. Empower your staff to tailor a program that is effective for your students, and when you encounter obstacles, make changes quickly to overcome them.

Sari Factor is CEO of Edgenuity, a leading online learning company based in Scottsdale, Ariz.

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