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.

COMMON QUESTIONS

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.

How do I learn more about competency education?

CompetencyWorks is an online resource dedicated to providing information and knowledge about competency education. Innovators and researchers contribute to a practitioner-based blog, and the wiki provides a community of resources surrounding key issues, policy developments, case studies and more.

What is blended learning and what does it look like?

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.

Recommendations

  • 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.

iNACOL Resources

Outside Resources

How can I learn more about online learning programs?

Starting an online learning program can be an overwhelming process. To assist you in your efforts, iNACOL has built a webpage that compiles a multitude of resources for guidance.

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.

Recommendations

  • 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 Resources

Outside Resources

What are blended learning promising practices?

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.

Recommendations

  • 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.

iNACOL Resources

Outside Resources

What types of digital content are available and how do you ensure they are of high quality?

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.

Recommendations

  • 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 Resources

Outside Resources

What are the blended learning technological implications?

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.

Recommendations

  • 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?

iNACOL Resources