The Rise of K-12 Blended Learning
“There is a significant risk that the existing education system will co-opt online learning as it blends into its current flawed model.” That’s the main argument of this white paper by Michael Horn and Heather Staker of Innosight Institute. As the authors see it, blended learning—which is an education model blending online learning with brick-and-mortar instruction—is a “disruptive innovation” with the potential to fundamentally redesign American education. However, without targeted shifts in policy, the benefits of this new education model will be squandered, tied down by arcane statutes and regulations. To explain, the authors offer a concise tutorial on the varieties of blended learning. They identify and define six models, moving up the spectrum from the “face-to-face driven” model (which uses online learning as a supplement, like High Tech High) all the way to the “online driver” model (which allows students to learn remotely, so long as a requisite GPA is maintained). It is from these examples that Horn and Staker draw their policy recommendations. Some thoughts—like nixing caps on enrollment and class-size mandates—would provide but a modest makeover for education provision. But, others—including creating dynamic, integrated systems for better syncing among various providers’ content and services—may truly spell profound shifts in the way that students access education.
Michael B. Horn and Heather Staker, “The Rise of K-12 Blended Learning,” (Mountain View, CA: Innosight Institute, January 2011).
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