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While reading the 2015 The New Horizon Report K-12 I was intrigued by the article suggested for further reading titled, Hybrid Learning Sends Test Scores Soaring. Despite constant revision to my math instruction, I haven’t been able to help students achieve the learning breakthrough that I would expect given the amount of thought, time, and energy I am putting into math instruction. The article defines hybrid learning as a combination of instruction that consists of this rotation: small group teacher-led instruction, collaborative work in small groups, and self-paced computer based learning.

The article stated that the first year of implementation did not go well, but the school leaders believed in what they were doing and it paid off with these results in the second year: A 24 percentage-point increase in math scores, a 20 point gain in reading, and 27 point gain in science. Those are pretty impressive results!

I read some peer-reviewed articles (see links below) on the topic and they all emphasized these positive qualities of hybrid or blended learning:

  • student choice in how they work (some teachers do not mandate that students always move through the complete rotation depending on the task)
  • collaborative learning is connected to higher learning gains compared to independent learning
  • small group teacher-led instruction, self-paced, differentiated computer instruction, and collaborative work with peers has the potential to deliver personalized student feedback three times if a student completes the rotation

These are all attributes that I strive for in my classroom, but I’ve been searching for an instructional model that helps me integrate them each day. Math time seems to be the best place to start given the need for improvement and the fact that it is very difficult to deliver the same math mini-lesson to 30 students and then alter their assignment when their mathematical abilities range from second to fifth grade. I can’t wait to give this a try this year!

Research about various benefits of blended learning:

Effects of Collaborative and Individual Learning in a Blended Learning Environment

Understanding Process and Affective Factors in Small Group Versus Individual Learning with Technology

Distributed collaboration activities in a blended learning scenario and the effects on learning performance

Artifact: Blended Learning with Rotation