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The Teacher Perspective: Why Does Blended Learning Work?

As districts consider at-home remote learning, socially-distanced schools, or hybrid models, school leaders and educators can use this opportunity to intentionally integrate technology into their regular instruction by utilizing principles of blended learning.

Feedback from educators who participated in the first few years of Raising Blended Learners (RBL) suggests that blended learning strategies could positively influence the way schools reopen in the fall. Teacher surveys from the past three years of Raising Blended Learners indicate that blended learning has positive impacts on student engagement, individualized instruction, relationships, and their own knowledge and teaching ability. Here are the key takeaways: 

#1: Blended learning empowers students

If districts transition to any form of at-home remote learning, most students will be expected to take ownership and initiative over their own learning, signifying a need for innovative changes for student engagement. By utilizing blended learning strategies in the fall, whether in at-home remote learning, socially-distanced schooling, or a hybrid model, teachers have a chance to empower students to take ownership of their own education, thereby increasing engagement and, ultimately, academic learning.

Across all Raising Blended Learners sites, teachers, principals, and district leaders observed increases in student agency, personalized learning, academic rigor, and positive behavior.

What RBL Teachers Say:

say students became more responsible for their academic progress 

of teachers reported an increase in self-directed student learning

#2: Blended learning personalizes instruction

Looking forward to the fall, as educators will need to address wider variation in student knowledge and potentially larger learning gaps, the ability to tailor instruction to individual student needs is more important than ever. 

Teachers using blended learning have also reported having a better sense of individual student needs, making them more equipped to personalize instruction for students.

What RBL Teachers Say:

report having a better understanding of individual student needs

were able to be more targeted in their instruction due to blended learning strategies

#3: Blended learning encourages connection

As instruction has shifted from in-person lessons to online assignments, perhaps one of the most significant impacts of school closures has been the loss of connection between students and teachers. Although emergency remote learning may have resulted in a disconnection between students and educators, results from Raising Blended Learners districts imply stronger student-teacher relationships.

By utilizing blended learning principles, teachers will be much more equipped to connect with their students. Results from Raising Blended Learners demonstrate that, when used intentionally and strategically, technology can bolster the student-teacher relationships that not only make school a positive experience but also, consequently, improve student achievement.

What RBL Teachers Say:

reported having stronger relationships with their students

Evidence of Teacher-Student Relationships’ Impact on Student Achievement
“A Review of Educational Research analysis of 46 studies found that strong teacher-student relationships were associated in both the short- and long-term with improvements on practically every measure schools care about: higher student academic engagement, attendance, grades, fewer disruptive behaviors and suspensions, and lower school dropout rates. Those effects were strong even after controlling for differences in students’ individual, family, and school backgrounds.” – Why Teacher-Student Relationships Matter, Education Week (2019)

RBL COVID-19 Resources

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The Teacher Perspective: Why Does Blended Learning Work?

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Educators Should Focus on 3 Blended Learning Fundamentals in 2020-21

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A Blended Learning Coaching Tool

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Using Strong Data Culture to Create Effective COVID-19 Instruction