As schools across the country adopt blended-learning models, a few clear trends are settling in, and, at the same time, some groups—like the Next Generation Learning Challenges—continue to help schools push the design envelope on what’s possible for students.
First, many schools are embarking upon a variety of design processes, RFPs from vendors and the like only to arrive at the same cluster of solutions centered around the basic models of blended learning we identified here. There is nothing wrong with that per se. Entering into a design process, for example, can help gain buy in from teachers and others in the community for adopting blended learning, which is still radically different from traditional schooling.
Adopting what are becoming tried-and-true blended-learning models (yes, I know it still may be too soon to use that phrase for blended learning, but I just did it) to individualize learning for students and improve teachers’ lives is better than remaining stuck in a failed factory-based model of schooling, even if the model is not the most innovative thing ever that pushes the blended-learning field forward for students. Some standardization around a select few models—and a branding of those models—will likely be necessary ultimately to scale the practice nationwide.