Change the Blended Learning Categories, Just Don't Call Me Late for Dinner!

Do I write enough here about blended learning? Probably not. The fascinating and significant topic has many different manifestations, and developments change so fast that it’s hard to get a really solid grasp of what it is. The respected gurus at the Innosight Institute define blended learning as:

a formal education program in which a student learns at least in part through online delivery of content and instruction with some element of student control over time, place, path, and/or pace and at least in part at a supervised brick-and-mortar location away from home.

That definition comes from the new report Classifying K-12 blended learning by Heather Staker and Michael Horn. Why come up with a new report? To improve the system of classifying different blended learning models. After consulting with many other education experts, they reduced the number of identifiable models from six to four (skipping right over my favorite number — five!):

  • Rotation model
  • Flex model
  • Self-blend model (Hint: Watch for an important Education Policy Center paper on this topic coming VERY soon!!!)
  • Enriched-virtual model

Interestingly, most of the famous successful, real-world examples of blended learning fall into the four new subcategories of the “Rotation model”:

In one sense, names and categories definitely matter, to help us all understand what’s going on and what separates one approach to instruction and schooling from another. But in another sense you can call these different approaches what you want, just don’t call me late for dinner! Seriously, though, the new Innosight Institute report is definitely worth checking out.

Still unclear what blended learning is? Go back and watch the video. Don’t let your mind limit the possibilities, though. We’re talking about the future of education here, unfolding before our very eyes…