blended learningBlended learning can refer to any time a student learns in part at a brick-and-mortar facility and in part online. It's a disruptive innovation in education, and one that many schools are employing to increase student learning and engagement while dealing with the realities of public funding.
Other approaches go even further by looking at blended learning by combining various on-line tools/solutions mainly and keeping the face-to-face at a very concise portion or even virtual. In that case blended learning can also be seen as mixing group learning (group teaching by/with the teachers and collaborative learning with/by the students) plus customised monitoring/tutoring 1-to-1 with each student/learner. Even more, as we have been developing in the WikiSkills project, active and collaborative learning can go one step further where the students/learners have an active learning/teaching role, and where the teachers and the other stakeholders (educational governance, companies ...) also get involved and contribute in a new relationship model.

The present infographic on the Blended Learning has been published by it is mainly focused on the US market, but it translates a a deep coming change in the education sector and in the communication sector as well within the society. See as well their other infographic on the "Flipped Classroom".

We use this infographics as an initial food for thoughts. It only represents part of the blended approach and is mainly on the US market as explained a bove, but it sets the scene well. This infographic is more about blended learning's history and potential, the different ways in which today's US schools are employing online courses, and specific research needs for the future.

The Future of Work is Now

As DesignShare presents in one of its article on transforming schools for the 21st century, the workplace is already adapting in response to the corresponding global, technological, and societal changes. By breaking down traditional structures, companies are positioning themselves to succeed in this new arena. Google, for example, views their employees as their most valued asset or the new ICT learning school Google realizes that by empowering employees to choose how they will contribute to the larger whole motivates them to be more innovative and productive. Google allows their engineers to spend twenty percent of their time working on self-selected projects (Mediratta, 2007). They use this time to develop something new or to fix things that are broken. Individual freedom requires employees to be self-directed and self-motivated. IDEO, a company whose focus is to help other companies innovate, has created a culture around teamwork and collaboration. They put together interdisciplinary teams to solve problems and find innovative solutions through a process that encourages exploring wild ideas (Kelley, 2001). Employees at IDEO must be agile, able to quickly adapt to different working arrangements and collaborate with others.

What Needs to Change?

Blended Learning Continuum (by DesignShare)If schools are to keep pace with exponential change, neither classrooms – nor the learning that takes place therein – can remain static. What transformations are critical? Driven by globalization and the speed of change, schools in the USA are responding to factors that can be perceived as both threats and challenges.

A Blended Option: Integrating Bricks and Mortar with Online
In their book, Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns, Christensen, Horn, and Johnson (2008) assert that online and blended learning are creating disruptive innovation that will impact Michigan and the nation. Stacker chronicles 40 schools that have successfully blended bricks and mortar with online learning in The Rise of K-12 Blended Learning: Profiles of Emerging Models (2011). Beyond reform, "Online learning has the potential to be a disruptive force that will transform the factory-like, monolithic structure that has dominated America's schools into a new model that is student-centric, highly personalized for each learner, and more productive" (Stacker, 2011, p. 3).


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