6 Ways Blended Learning Supports Educational Standards
The Common Core Standards were developed not only to provide consistent learning goals across states, but also to provide a clear and consistent framework for educators. According to the Common Core State Standard Initiatives the standards were also “created to ensure that all students graduate from high school with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in college, career, and life, regardless of where they live.” Blended learning, a method of instruction that combines the use of online instruction through educational technology like PebbleGo, combined with face-to-face learning, provides unique opportunities to support the Common Core and other state learning standards.
1. Blended Learning Lets You Dive Deeper
Blended learning can allow teachers to teach fewer topics in greater depth. The depth of knowledge that students are required to master is one of the significant challenges of the Common Core standards, which require far more than rote memorization. By building foundational knowledge through online instruction, blended learning allows teachers to focus small group and individual time on a deep dive into a particular area of a curriculum. This higher level thinking is a hallmark of the Common Core, and blended learning supports a teacher building those skills with its structure.
2. Blended Learning Supports Data-Driven Instruction
One of the benefits of a blended learning classroom is that significantly more data is generated than in a traditional classroom. This is done utilizing the online or technology-based portions of instruction, which can provide not only feedback to teachers about students’ learning but also to students’ themselves. Adaptive learning programs can help both teachers and students understand where a student’s strengths and weaknesses are. One consideration in investing in a blended learning system is data analysis capabilities. A system that is too difficult to draw conclusions from and develop a plan will likely slow teachers down.
3. Blended Learning Supports Differentiated Instruction
The ability to differentiate instruction is critical in helping to make sure that all students meet educational standards. By analyzing the data captured through a blended learning system, teachers can develop differentiated instruction to meet the needs of individual students or groups of students needing assistance in mastering the more complex skills found in the Common Core Standards.
4. Blended Learning Builds Communication Skills
Blended learning promotes effective collaboration between teachers and students and among students themselves. Being able to communicate well and make connections between the curriculum and the real world is a huge part of the common core standards. By freeing up instructional time to allow for more collaboration (for example, through project-based and independent learning supported by PebbleGo), blended learning supports these requirements of Common Core.
5. Blended Learning Directly Supports the Common Core College and Career Readiness Standards
Part of the ELA Speaking and Listening Anchor Standards for college and career readiness require that students be able to use digital media and digital displays of data to express themselves. Blended learning is uniquely situated to support many of the standards directly. Under the Common Core, students are required to learn independently, synthesize information, and then bring those understandings to classroom discussion. In many models of blended learning, students are required to use those exact skills after independently learning introductory materials on their own.
6. Blended Learning Systems Are Designed to Support Common Core
No teacher has time to reinvent the wheel! As districts begin to invest in hardware and software systems supporting blended learning, teachers can take advantage of lesson plans, gamified learning systems, and other programs which are already designed to align with Common Core standards. For example, many math games-based learning systems will already be aligned with grade-level standards. ELA programs may already be tailored to Lexile levels and other standards. If your district is considering investing in a blending learning system, one factor that is important to consider is whether the online system provides suggestions for teachers for in-person instruction as well as online data regarding students’ performance.