Important considerations for blended learning

CLRN aims to identify and review supplemental electronic learning resources, including courses, software, video, Web 2.0 tools, and mobile apps. It also identifies learning units aligned with resources and state academic content standards. Its interactive website offers a searchable database with relevant links to help educators find what they’re looking for.

About two-thirds of districts in California are using online or blended learning this school year, said Brian Bridges, CLRN’s director.

Bridges said schools must use strategic planning and a needs analysis to determine what their “customers”—students, teachers, and stakeholders—need from a blended learning program. Identifying deficiencies, such as potential network weaknesses or bandwidth performance, will help determine important steps, he said. Getting input from stakeholders, identifying possible blended learning models, and then piloting a selected model are key parts.

Most schools with successful blended learning programs “don’t jump in whole-hog; they pilot a few models, collect data from that, and at the end, determine whether or not the pilot needs to be expanded or changed in some aspect,” he said.

Selecting reputable and well-designed resources and courses can help a blended learning program succeed, he added, because students are working with high-quality materials.

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Laura Ascione

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