Blended Learning in K-12/Design of Blended Learning in K-12

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Blended Learning in K-12
 ← Synchronous and asynchronous communication methods Design of Blended Learning in K-12 Blended Learning's Lesson Design Process → 

Blended Learning by Design[edit]

Instructional design can be defined as a process, "It is the entire process of analysis of learning needs and goals and the development of a delivery system to meet those needs. It includes development of instructional materials and activities; and tryout and evaluation of all instruction and learner activities." (Applied Research Laboratory, 1996). A blended learning program will not succeed because it happens to include both online and face-to-face practices. It is the thoughtful, systematic process of instructional design using the combination of these elements that will facilitate structured development and lead to desired results.

"Blended learning is hot and understandably so, combining the best features of online learning (e.g., 24/7 accessibility) with the best features of classroom instruction (e.g., live, face-to-face interaction). No doubt it’s here to stay. But why do so many blended initiatives turn into frustrating boondoggles, consuming far more time... than anyone anticipated?" (Troha, 2002) Unfortunately, the undesired outcomes often appear during the implementation of the lesson, or even long after substantial amounts of time, effort, and enthusiasm have been expended. How can the practicing K-12 teacher avoid blended learning pitfalls?

This section develops a model of best practices to reduce the potential headaches and realize the promise of blended learning lessons. The importance of planning is reinforced. At each stage, control needs to be maintained from the beginning of the planning stage to ensure desired results.

Understand that before this plan can be implemented, some presumptions must be made. In order for a K-12 teacher to successfully apply this process to their own classrooms, they should have already designed successful traditional classroom lesson plans, prepared appropriate instructional documents (i.e. course syllabi, content-valid worksheets, etc.), and have an understanding of basic learning technologies. K-12 teachers may be familiar with creating a sound traditional lesson plan - one that includes a general description, its goals, objectives, activities, its practice methods and assessment. For many K-12 teachers, this is old hat. Incorporating technology into the lesson plan takes the design much further, still stating the goals and objectives, etc., but also assuming that the teacher has personally acquired skills to efficiently make use of the technology. These technologies should include models of instructional design and their most commonly used components, such as a word processor, a spreadsheet, communicating via email, and presentation creations such as Powerpoint. Without this foundation the information presented here will be less useful.

Three major, interrelated components comprise the recommended model for blended learning. They include a Lesson Design Process, Guiding Principles, and Success Tips. The lesson design process starts with gathering information that reveals the objective(s) of the lesson. It also includes a general outline which is used to guide the development of the lesson, its delivery and evaluation. The guiding principles provide perspective on the question “What’s the best mix of traditional, live, teacher-led presentation and synchronous or asynchronous, technology-driven methods of teaching?” {It is important to determine your role as a K-12 teacher in the learning process. Should it be one that is primarily directive or facilitative? Also, decide the importance of interaction amongst the students. These questions may be answered differently depending on the grade level being taught. In any event, blended learning lends itself to learner-centered, teacher-guided (as opposed to teacher-directed), interactive, and student-collaborative learning.} Success Tips help establish and maintain communication between students and their teacher. It serves as a type of FAQ - a reference source for students. Included in success tips should be exemplary examples from previous students. These make for a wonderful resource for student success.