The move to blended learning, with all that it entails, is the biggest shift in education in over a hundred years. To expect teachers to “just do it” with minimal support is unrealistic. Yet this change is too important for just a token effort.

The time when an organization reaches the “blended learning stage” is shown as Stage B on the graph below. The red circle indicates the effect on both teachers and pedagogy – disruptive.

(Click to enlarge image)

blended-learning-model

The stages shown on this graph are explained below. The order of some stages may vary, and the duration of a stage may vary from weeks to years.

Leaders of educational organizations need to be aware of these stages and the stresses that they place on various parts of the organization so that strategies can be implemented to allow change to occur effectively.

Stage I (Infrastructure)

In this stage the network (servers, switches, fibre optic and copper cabling, wireless access points, printers and miscellaneous hardware, internet access as well as the software driving the systems) must be analysed for suitability and upgraded if necessary; to get the system to the point where it will cope smoothly with the increased technological load.

IT staff and eLearning staff are heavily involved at this stage, but the impact on teachers and pedagogy is minimal.

Stage O (Online Learning Environment)

In this stage the existing Online Learning Environment (OLE) is evaluated, and a decision is made to remain with it or to investigate an alternative system that will suit the educational and technical needs of the organization for many years.

As this is primarily a decision based on pedagogy, eLearning staff and teachers are involved. IT staff are involved purely to ensure that the chosen system operates effectively. Pedagogy is unaffected.