Blended Learning

Blended Learning

Teaching and learning are so straight forward and yet an illusion at the same time. Everyone has had the education experience; but, that does not make us all experts on how learning should take place. This is often true of our own learning. We do know that learning is about creating new brain pathways that connect the new and old in meaningful ways (Stern, 2005). The challenge is that each individual student is wired differently. We each have unique experiences and ways of conceptualizing the information we are learning or already know. Therefore, we need to constantly adapt the instruction in the classroom so that we meet the needs of each student while maintaining the integrity of the curriculum and ensuring all students meet the benchmarks, standards, and expected outcomes.

A current response that is taking hold in many circles, especially in schools where their students flourish is a Hybrid Learning Model. Casey Casey, Brosnan, Greller, Masson, MacNeil, & Murphy, n.d.; Ross et al, (2008) point out that the Hybrid Learning Model Provides a framework for teaching and learning but does not in and of itself transform practice. It is intended to provide opportunities for learning, leveraging scarce resources, establishing clear feedback, and formalizing the instructional design. Moreover, the teacher and the learner can build practices into the daily activities and routine that enhance learning and enable deeper understanding. This isn’t a move from traditional learning. It isn’t some fancy new way of teaching or learning. In fact it is reliant on the teacher to use the data provided in order adapt the instructional methods according to the student’s needs. Notice, the Hybrid Learning Model (HLM) is an interactional model that encapsulates teaching and learning in a plain English format and captures the processes from the learner and the teacher perspective. This is applied in many various formats within classroom, but the model is meant to be a common sense, basic, and productive model for teaching and learning. ( Ross, Murphy, MacNeill & Masson, 2008 p. 12).

Developed HLM provides the learners and teachers alike with a simple to use and understandable method to clarify and communicate the student-oriented practices and social-emotional development that is part of the learning process. This is in response to the school’s need to use data in order to make informed decisions. In addition to this being best practices, the major recommendations from the previous accreditation terms stated, “Develop a strategy for systematically gathering, analyzing, and using data in making curricular and programmatic decisions, as well as using comparison and trend data of student performance from comparable schools in evaluating the school’s effectiveness.” Simply put, the school’s effectiveness is the instructional effectiveness indicated by the students’ performance.

Ross et al. (2008) state that this is to be, “from both the teacher and learner perspective. (p 16).” A Hybrid Learning Model is designed to systemically use data to monitor and provide information for the teacher to use when tailor instruction for his or her pupils.

There are several interactions of this model. In simplest terms, it blends technology based learning, independent and collaborative learning, with more traditional methods (Casey et al.; Ross Et al, 2008; Roseth, Akcaoglu, & Zellner, 2013; Whiteside, 2015). The proponents of this model argue that just because it is traditional doesn’t mean it does not work. However, they continue their argument to say that in contemporary society we have technological tools at our disposal that can enhance learning if applied correctly. Additionally, they propose that there needs to be more interaction and feedback from the teacher who can make sure the learning is appropriate, on task, and comprehensive for the varied types of learning. Essentially, HLM is intended to take the best practices and apply them to teaching and learning within the classroom. It is a student focused not a teacher focused model.

In this school’s case the independent portion is primarily the technology portion of the model. This has been installed so that it does not overly emphasize screen time, informs instructional methods, and enhances the face-to-face instruction. IXL is used regularly in the classroom during the independent work to provide the student and the teacher the data needed to monitor progress and needs. Additionally, the teacher develops collaborative groups and small-group direct instruction according to the data provided. In addition to IXL, MAPS, Acadience, and classroom assessments are used. As the school embraces the data it empowers the teachers to become more effective. Additionally, as the system employs the model, the school can better communicate a child’s progress. It is a model of blended learning with the proper emphasis on each instructional ingredient. This has been a monumental step for the school system, teacher’s classroom, and student learning.


Casey, J., Brosnan, K., Greller, W., Masson, A., Macneil, A., & Murphy, C. (n.d.). Designing for Change. Handbook of Visual Languages for Instructional Design . doi: 10.4018/9781599047294.ch021

Roseth, C., Akcaoglu, M. & Zellner, A. (2013). Blending synchronous face-to-face and computer supported cooperative learning in a hybrid doctoral seminar. Techtrends, 57 (3), 54-59.

Ross, Murphy, MacNeill & Masson. (2008). The Hybrid Learning Model – A Framework for Teaching and Learning Practice. International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning. pp. 12-19.

Stern, E. (2005) Pedagogy meets neuroscience. Science 310, 745

Whiteside, A. L. (2015). Introducing the social presence model to explore online and blended learning experiences. Online Learning, 19(2).

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