Learning occurs in both a supervised face-to-face learning community AND in an online setting (it can, but does not have to, include community-based learning experiences). In a blended learning program students have a measure of control over the path, pace and timing of their learning. The Christensen Institute defines blended Learning as "a formal education program in which a student learns at least in part online, 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."
If you're new to blended learning implementation, start by defining goals. How will blended learning serve your short and long term vision? Then, take inventory -- and not just on your equipment, but on your team: What is their current technical skill level -- and comfort level -- with troubleshooting device issues? Managing a blended classroom? Scaffolding the introduction of a new platform for students? Next, consider building a mini-roadmap for implementation. If you had to describe your implementation milestones over three different stages -- where the final stage was your ideal implementation -- what would each stage look like? What resources, personnel, tools, and platforms are needed for each stage? Finally, do some outreach to learn what you can from other schools that may be a few steps further along in implementing blended learning. What devices do they use, and why? Did they switch from another device previously? If so, why? With which platforms have they had the most success? What were the biggest challenges along the way, and how did they overcome them? This type of fact-finding will help guide your decision-making.
Tips for a Short Implementation Time-Line
For practitioners the challenge is in finding the right mix of digital and direct instruction for every student at different points along their pathway to graduation.