Blended Learning Model Definitions

blended-learning taxonomyThe definition of blended learning is a formal education program in which a student learns:

(1) at least in part through online learning, with some element of student control over time, place, path, and/or pace;

(2) at least in part in a supervised brick-and-mortar location away from home;

(3) and the modalities along each student’s learning path within a course or subject are connected to provide an integrated learning experience.

The majority of blended-learning programs resemble one of four models: Rotation, Flex, A La Carte, and Enriched Virtual. The Rotation model includes four sub-models: Station Rotation, Lab Rotation, Flipped Classroom, and Individual Rotation.

1) Rotation model — A program in which within a given course or subject (e.g., math), students rotate between learning modalities, at least one of which is online learning. Other modalities might include activities such as small-group or full-class instruction, group projects, individual tutoring, and pencil-and-paper assignments.

a) Station Rotation (also referred to as Classroom Rotation or In-Class Rotation) — A Rotation-model implementation in which within a given course or subject (e.g., math), students rotate on a fixed schedule or at the teacher’s discretion among classroom-based learning modalities. The rotation includes at least one station for online learning. Other stations might include activities such as small-group or full-class instruction, group projects, individual tutoring, and pencil-and-paper assignments. Some implementations involve the entire class alternating among activities together, whereas others divide the class into small-group or one-by-one rotations. The Station Rotation model differs from the Individual Rotation model because students rotate through all of the stations, not only those on their custom schedules.

b) Lab Rotation — A Rotation-model implementation in which within a given course or subject (e.g., math), students rotate on a fixed schedule or at the teacher’s discretion among locations on the brick-and-mortar campus. At least one is a learning lab for predominantly online learning, and the other(s) are classroom(s) for other learning modalities. The Lab Rotation model differs from the Station Rotation model because students rotate among locations on the campus instead of staying in one classroom for the blended course or subject.

c) Flipped Classroom — A Rotation-model implementation in which within a given course or subject (e.g.. math), students rotate on a fixed schedule between face-to-face teacher-guided practice (or projects) on campus during the standard school day and online delivery of content and instruction of the same subject from a remote location (often home) after school. The primary delivery of content and instruction is online, which differentiates a Flipped Classroom from students who are merely doing homework practice online at night. The Flipped Classroom model accords with the idea that blended learning includes some element of student control over time, place, path, and/or pace because the model allows students to choose the location where they receive content and instruction online.

d) Individual Rotation — A Rotation-model implementation in which within a given course or subject (e.g., math), students rotate on an individually customized, fixed schedule among learning modalities, at least one of which is online learning. An algorithm or teacher sets individual student schedules. The Individual Rotation model differs from the other Rotation models because students do not necessarily rotate to each available station or modality.

2) Flex model — A program in which the online learning is the backbone of student learning, even if it directs students to offline activities at times. Students move on an individually customized, fluid schedule among learning modalities, and the teacher of record is on-site. The teacher-of-record or other adults provide face-to-face support on a flexible and adaptive as-needed basis through activities such as small-group instruction, group projects, and individual tutoring. Some implementations have substantial face-to-face support, and others have minimal (e.g., some Flex models may have face-to-face certified teachers who supplement the online learning on a daily basis, whereas others may provide little face-to-face enrichment; others may have different staffing combinations; these are useful modifiers to describe a particular Flex model).

3) A La Carte model (formerly Self-Blend model) — A program in which students take one or more courses entirely online with an online teacher of record and at the same time continue to have brick-and-mortar educational experiences. Students may take the online courses either on the brick-and-mortar campus or off-site. This differs from full-time online learning and the Enriched Virtual model because it is not a whole-school experience.

4) Enriched Virtual model — A whole-school experience in which within each course (e.g., math), students divide their time between attending a brick-and-mortar campus and learning remotely using online delivery of content and instruction. Many Enriched Virtual programs began as full-time online schools and then developed blended programs to provide students with brick-and-mortar school experiences. The Enriched Virtual model differs from the Flipped Classroom because in Enriched Virtual programs, students seldom attend the brick-and-mortar campus every weekday. It differs from the A La Carte model because it is a whole-school experience, not a course-by-course model.

 

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