Blended Learning Guide: Bigger, Better Version 2.0

Learning, Online & Blended, PreK-12

By: Carri Schneider and Tom Vander Ark

When we launched the Blended Learning Implementation Guide with Digital Learning Now!’s John Bailey and The Learning Accelerator’s Scott Ellis in February, we knew that it was just the first iteration of what would be an evolving document. What we didn’t know is that version 1.0 of the guide would need to be updated just six months later.

Since the release of the first launch, we’ve observed lots of exciting updates in the blended learning field:

  • Updates to pioneer blended learning models to make better use of data (e.g., Rocketship)
  • New model descriptions from Christensen Institute
  • New resources from Aspire, Educause, EdElements, and others
  • More device options and a growing toolset of apps
  • Big district-wide and state-wide device deployments
  • New platforms (e.g., EAA Buzz; Activate from Summit & illuminate)

These updates, coupled with the feedback we collected from schools and districts using the guide, necessitated the release of version 2.0. Because we wanted to make the guide the go-to source for any leader looking to implement blended learning, we expanded our cadre of contributing authors to nine – bringing together the expertise and experience of staff from Digital Learning Now!, The Learning Accelerator, and Getting Smart. Bringing all these folks to the table meant we could really drill down on some key sections that were the most valuable based on the feedback we received.

The Blended Learning Implementation Guide version 2.0 offers the following upgrades based on updates in the field and user feedback:

  • Impact Measurement : We added a 6th “Key Decision” in the Planning Section to reflect the need to think about Improvement and Measuring Impact in the earliest phases of implementation.
  • Funding : The Funding The Shift section grew from one page to six pages and now references more tools and examples in addition to reviewing key cost drivers and tying the funding options to specific blended learning models.
  • Picking A Device : This full section now walks through key decisions related to planning, purchasing and BYOD.
  • Professional Development: What was once just an overview acknowledging the role of professional development is now deeper look at the Who, What and How of blended learning PD.
  • Culture : We added a new section on school culture that describes 10 key ingredients of high-performance culture.

Because we expect the field to continue to evolve, we will continue to update the guide to meet your needs. We’ll collect your feedback, comments, and success stories using the dedicated email:smartseries@gettingsmart.com. We also encourage and appreciate your interactions with our organizations on our websites, blogs, and social media channels. We also hope to see you at upcoming events like the ExcelinEd National Summit on Education Reform and iNACOL Online and Blended Learning Symposium, where we enjoy hearing your stories and learning how we can continue to inform your successful implementation efforts.

Download the full paper, executive summary and infographic at: www.digitallearningnow.com/dln-smart-series/

Keep an eye out for the ebook that we’ll release next month that will feature the updated Blended Learning Implementation Guide, along with updated versions of the other papers in the DLN Smart Series.

Digital Learning Now! and Educause are Getting Smart Advocacy Partners. Tom is a director at iNACOL.