What is blended learning?
Blended learning allows students to learn in part via online learning and part in-person. Blended learning programs are a great way to engage students in multiple ways. It offers some levels of flexibility in how students can access the material and ways to use technology to complete assignments. Being intentional about connecting lessons with the use of technology while considering student needs is a key part of blended learning success. There are some limits to the use of blended learning programs which should be considered before implementation. It’s important to know the needs of your students and understand your digital learning environment.
Technology and Schools
As school administrators continue to anticipate shifts in learning this school year, technology has been a great asset. Technology is being used to communicate with families, lead learning and a place for students to access lessons when school is not in session. This has allowed for students to have multiple levels of access to learning materials. When planning for blended learning programs, also consider the time and financial investment for your school site. If teachers will need support in learning the software or professional development about adjusting their lesson plans, be prepared to offer those supports. If students and families will need support with access to digital resources or accessing the internet, keep that in mind as you plan for implementation.
→ Manage your school culture programs via distance and remote learning, check out our PBIS Playbook and PBIS Behavior Tracking Template
Blended Learning and PBIS
Blended learning programs can be designed using competency-based models. It allows teachers to measure a student’s mastery of knowledge and skills. This is aligned to the PBIS plans that create tiered interventions to support student goals. A combination of blended learning programs and a PBIS plan can create an environment for students to gradually practice working on at their own pace and practicing their own behavior management.
As teachers begin to create lesson plans, consider when and where students will be. For example if some students will be in-person and others learning from home, consider how your blended learning program can be accessible and beneficial to both. Leverage the use of a blended learning matrix to communicate the learning expectations in all environments.
As you are thinking about managing your culture and learning programs check out this PBIS Playbook. This resource can help you plan for school culture programs and incentives while getting creative with digital learning.
If you are starting a new program for PBIS consider the following for your plans:
Increase Parent Involvement
Students will be in their family environment more and it is important to connect with their supporters outside of school to help students be successful. If students will be splitting time in the school and at home, try to prepare expectations that can be consistent across both environments. Parents and guardians are a great resource for reinforcing expectations and skills. Students may have various experiences in their home life, so be thoughtful about how PBIS can provide some structure and supports for students.
Create Flexible Plans
A positive part of blended learning is the use of both technology and traditional school resources. Think about ways to teach the same lesson in different formats. For students this creates options in how they can engage with the learning. Having flexible plans allows for teachers and staff to be proactive if there are any major changes in the learning environment. If teachers have a plan to use technology, transitions for students will be smoother. Additionally, if a student is finding that being remote is better, they can still move through the lessons in a way that works for their learning style. If students are in-person, teachers can still teach using the technology as a way to expose students to using the digital learning environment.
Collect Student Data
Like any learning program, data helps to inform program effectiveness and student outcomes. The blended learning environment expands ways that the teacher can collect student data. Consider short quizzes or mini performance tasks that can provide data to the teacher in realtime. Additionally for students who experience a shift in the learning environment, they have access to engage and can still have their learning performance measured. Teachers can learn more about the needs of students and what avenues of learning make it easier for them to retain information. If you learn that a student is not doing well with the technology that could inform how digital literacy supports could be leveraged. This may help with the student’s engagement and learning outcomes.
The flexibility of a blended learning program and the use of technology has the potential to increase students and family engagement as well as strategically address the needs of the students.