New Learning Models
iNACOL’s Action Research Center illuminates the path forward as a knowledge-building hub for practitioners to transform education toward student-centered approaches. We advance the field by creating and curating research that informs, inspires, encourages and supports the development of new learning models.
Below are common questions surrounding new learning models. These questions and resources are organized around competency-based, blended and online learning. If you have specific questions not answered within these resources, please contact iNACOL.
Blended Learning is: A formal education program in which a student learns; At least in part through online learning, with some element of student control over time, place, path, and/or pace; At least in part in a supervised brick-and-mortar location away from home; And the modalities along each student’s learning path within a course or subject are connected to provide an integrated learning experience (Horn & Staker). For more information on defining blended learning, please visit the Clayton Christensen Institute’s website or watch a video from The Learning Accelerator.
- Visit schools to get a better understanding of what new learning models look like.
- Network with the iNACOL Community of Practice to learn more about what new learning models are and how to get started with your teachers and learners.
- Mean What You Say: Defining and Integrating Personalized, Blended and Competency Education
- Roadmap for Implementation of Blended Learning at the School Level
- Blended Learning Teacher Competency Framework
- Lessons Learned from Blended Programs: Experiences and Recommendations from the Field
- Promising Practices in K-12 Online Learning Series of Reports – Blended Learning: The Convergence of Online and Face-To-Face Education
- Clayton Christensen Institute: books, reports, and case studies from several blended schools
- Blended Learning Universe
- Breakthrough Models for College Readiness: An Introduction to Next Generation Blended Schools (Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC)
- Fundamentals of Blended Learning by Education Elements
- 2Revolutions Video on “The Future of Learning”
- Opportunity By Design: New High School Models for Student Success (Carnegie Corporation of New York)
- The Rise of K-12 Blended Learning in Colorado
- Sal Khan One World Schoolhouse (Sal Khan, 2013)
- Breakthrough Leadership in the Digital Age (Bror Saxberg and Rick Hess, 2013)
- Getting Smart (Tom VanderArk, 2011)
What professional development is available for school leaders and teachers to prepare them for blended learning environments?
A coordinated, intentional and systematic professional development plan, based on a school’s stated goals, should be in place for each school. Professional development, both formal and informal, as well as initial and ongoing professional development for both leaders and teachers, is a key component of blended learning models.
- Develop a vision and set goals for the school’s new learning models.
- Create a professional development plan for both school leaders and participating teachers. These plans should be personalized for each teacher and leader, modeling personalized learning for students.
- iNACOL Blended Learning Teacher Competency Framework
- iNACOL National Standards for Quality Online Teaching
- Webinar: A Day in the Life of a Blended Teacher
- Webinar: The Pedagogy of Being a Blended Learning Teacher: Personalize the Learning
- Webinar: Becoming a Blended Learning Teacher: The Changing Role of the Classroom Educator
- Webinar: Competency Works: The Learning Edge: Supporting Student Success in a Competency-Based Learning Environment
- Webinar: Implementing District Blended and Online Learning Programs
- Blended Learning MOOC by Christensen Institute and Silicon Schools
- For a list of Professional Development Providers for competency-based, blended and online teaching, please contact iNACOL.
Planning for implementation is as important as the implementation itself. In the initial planning stage, consideration should be given to human capital, technology, and financial resources.
Successful implementation of blended learning models requires strong and consistent leadership at both the district and school levels. Leadership is the foundation from which all other components develop, and it leads to the adoption of new learning models so that it becomes part of the fabric and culture of the school.
- Systematic, committed and supportive leadership is the first component needed for the successful implementation of a blended learning models initiative in a school. Leadership is the foundation from which all other components develop that leads to successful implementation of new learning models.
- Successful leaders collaboratively identify common goals and objectives regarding blended learning and then clearly communicate those goals and objectives with involved staff.
- Once the goals are written, formal and informal processes are established that track and monitor progress towards the goals on a weekly and monthly basis.
- A Roadmap for Implementation of Blended Learning at the School Level: A Case Study of the iLearnNYC Lab Schools
- RETHINK: Planning and Designing for K-12 Next Generation Learning (iNACOL & NGLC)
- Webinar: Planning, Implementation and Policy Considerations for Blended Learning
- Webinar: The Role of Leadership in the Implementation of Successful Blended Learning Programs
- Blended: Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools (Horn and Staker, October, 2014)
- Reimagining Teaching in a Blended Classroom
- Blended Learning Implementation
- Planning for Quality Booklet from the Keeping Pace with K-12 Online and Blended Learning 2012 Report
- For a list of consultants/Technical Assistance providers trusted by iNACOL, please contact iNACOL.
The online curriculum landscape varies widely and covers the entire range of educational options. The decision to buy, build or borrow digital content is essential in the implementation of online and blended learning programs. Teachers may use content from an online provider, create their own, use Open Educational Resources, or a combination of the three.
- School administrators, teachers, and staff should consider the following questions about content during the planning and implementation stages of a blended learning program:
- How will content be acquired (build, buy, or borrow)?
- Is the content aligned with the instructional goals of the program?
- If developing content in-house, what professional development will be provided for content developers?
- How will the content be customized to meet student needs?
- Which content management platform will be used to manage purchased and/or developed content?
- Is the content aligned to state standards?
- What ongoing professional development will be provided to teachers regarding the use of content, the platform and alignment to standards and quality?
- iNACOL National Standards for Quality Online Courses
- Webinar: OER – What are they and how can you use them in your classroom?
- Webinar: State Review of Online Courses
- Keeping Pace’s K-12 Online Learning Provider Landscape
- EdSurge EdTech Index
- New Schools Venture Fund Ed Tech Market Map
- For a list of digital content providers and open educational resources, please contact iNACOL.
A reliable technology infrastructure is required for the successful implementation of blended learning. This includes a dependable telecommunications network, software, and hardware devices that can be accessed and utilized by students and teachers. In addition to the technology infrastructure, educators and students need effective technology support to maintain positive momentum in teaching and learning in a digital environment.
- School administrators, teachers, and staff should consider the following questions about technology during the planning and implementation stages of blended learning programs:
- What technology, hardware, software, and networking will be needed to run a successful blended learning initiative?
- What technology infrastructure is currently available to support blended learning?
- What investments need to be made to the school’s technological infrastructure, including but not limited to bandwidth, hardware, software, devices, and network?
- What technical support for students and teachers is needed to maintain technological infrastructure (human, interoperability)?
- Will the school employ a single-platform hardware approach or utilize multiple platforms (PC, Mac OS)?
- Will the school support BYOD (bring your own device) for students?
- What technology accessibility, if any, will students need to have outside of school?
- How will interoperability between systems (content, hardware, learning management system, and student information system) be ensured?
- Re-Engineering Information Technology
- Webinar: Tech Tools to Enhance Student Engagement in Blended and Online Learning
- For a list of learning management systems or web conferencing tools, please contact iNACOL.