By Dawn Sweet, Instructional Development Services Manager
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Blended Learning or Instruction (currently often referred to as “Flipped Classroom”) results when a teacher, an instructor or trainer uses mixed instructional strategies and teaching or training approaches combined with mixed mediums for the delivery of instruction and creation of knowledge. Blended learning is not to be confused with Hybrid learning! I feel that while hybrid learning can be a format for blended learning, it has a different goal!
I believe that blended learning provides a great mechanism for maximizing class time in a way that educators can focus on assisting learners in building higher-level thinking, as well as allowing them to take responsibility for their own learning of lower-level concepts. Thus, allowing for a more motivating and engaging educational environment that prepares learners for authentic real-world situations.
This article and accompanying workshop, will focus specifically on the technically termed “Rotation Model” of blended learning, and outline some of the essential steps that I feel one can take and use in order to achieve a successful blended learning environment (a.ka “Flipped Classroom”).
According to the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation, (http://www.christenseninstitute.org/blended-learning-definitions-and-models/) the Blended Learning Rotation Model is:
a course or subject in which students rotate on a fixed schedule or at the teacher’s discretion 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. The students learn mostly on the brick-and-mortar campus, except for any homework assignments.
a. Station Rotation – a course or subject in which students experience the Rotation model within a contained classroom or group of classrooms. 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 – course or subject in which students rotate to a computer lab for the online-learning station.
c. Individual Rotation – a course or subject in which each student has an individualized playlist and does not necessarily rotate to each available station or modality. An algorithm or teacher(s) sets individual student schedules.
Steps for Creating a Successful Blended Course or Lesson:
My recommended steps for creating a successful blended course or unit are detailed below in my infographic, Instructional Pathway to Blended Learning. If you do not see it, visit: https://magic.piktochart.com/output/2611081-instructional-pathway-to-blended.
Tools I Recommend for the Instructional Design Work
There are a few tools that will make visualizing your course or unit plan much easier, making the overall process much more enjoyable for you! Here are some of my favorites:
Bloom’s Taxonomy and Bloom’s Taxonomy Revised – One of the main goals for promoting blended instruction is to aid educators in targeting higher level learning in the classroom. I suggest using Bloom’s Taxonomy (or your favorite instructional model) to ensure that you effectively classify objectives and choose appropriate strategies, activities, and technologies (when warranted) for achieving that goal! I like to use both the traditional and revised versions of Bloom’s. The revised versions are a very valuable resource when selecting delivery and creative technologies for media development and creative student assignments and projects. Here are a few of my favorite representations of the model!
ASU’s Online Objectives Builder – Great assistance when writing clear classifiable objectives that are aligned with Bloom’s Taxonomy. https://teachonline.asu.edu/objectives-builder
BlendKit’s Blended Course Blueprint – a great tool for mapping and ensuring that your course activities and assessments align with your intended objectives. https://blended.online.ucf.edu/files/2011/07/course_blueprint.docx
BlendKit’s Blended Course Mix Map Templates – I like to use these in two ways. They are essentially Venn Diagrams. I have used them to separate “direct” (outside of class individual guided practice activities) and “indirect” (inside of class problem based exploratory activities) to clearly show where the main course/unit learning activities will occur. I do this for two reasons: 1.) to ensure that the higher-level learning is occurring during class time and 2.) to determine where I can infuse technology or use it as a tool to facilitate the learning process. You can access the mix map templates online at: https://blended.online.ucf.edu/files/2011/07/mixmap_template.docx
BlendKit’s Blended Course Implementation Checklist – Great help during the implementation phase to ensure that you are not forgetting something before, during, and after your instruction. https://blended.online.ucf.edu/files/2011/06/implementation_checklist.pdf
Blended Course Peer Review Form – A great tool to use as a formative evaluation! Have a co-teacher or peer review your course using the following form as a guide for continual revision and improvement. https://blended.online.ucf.edu/files/2011/06/blended_course_peer_review.pdf
Tools I Recommend for Media Creation, Course Delivery, Collaboration, Assessment and Data Collection
An LMS System (Learning Management System) – especially if you are blending an entire course, it is essential to have a location where you will make all course materials accessible to your students both inside and outside of the classroom. This is also the place where you can set up guided practice modules that your students will complete outside of the classroom in order to achieve the lower-level direct instruction objectives prior to face-to-face classroom meetings. If you are at an institution or a school you may already be provided with an LMS (at Western, you know it as WesternOnline or D2L); however, out in the K-12 world you may find that your school does not have one, or that they use something different. If you do not have one at your institution, here are two free choices that are great systems!
Video Creation and Screen Casting Tools – for the direct instruction guided practice lessons within your course you may find that a personalized overview of the information is necessary, or some type of video aided or screen cast tutorial would help your learners grasp the content better than pre-assigned reading and etc. Here are some great choices!
Video Resources and Libraries for Setting Up Guided Practice/Direct Instruction Activities – Perhaps you are looking to use videos that have already been created on various topics you are teaching, or maybe you want to upload your own videos and share them. The following tools are a great place to start for finding educator created materials, as well as adding interactive guided practice activities with tools such as TedEd.
References and Resources
Finally, this article and approaching workshop would not be possible without the wonderful list of resources and references and their authors! Without these I would not have gained such a liking for blended learning and the flipped classroom!
The Flipped Learning Network, Aaron Sams and Jonathan Bergmann – http://flippedlearning.org/site/default.aspx?PageID=1
University of Central Florida and The American Association of State Colleges and Universities: Blended Learning Toolkit – https://blended.online.ucf.edu/blendkit-course/
Arizona State University’s Instructional Design Community – https://teachonline.asu.edu/objectives-builder/
Educause Learning Initiative (ELI) Blended Learning Resources – http://www.educause.edu/eli/search?keys=Blended%20Learning&filters=
I hope that you will be able to join me in person for a great discussion and demonstration of some of these tools at our regularly scheduled workshop time! However, if you can’t make the workshop and want to sit down one-on-one to explore these ideas or others, please email me to set up a date and time at: DR-Sweet@wiu.edu.