Section Goals

  • define blended learning.
  • explore different types of blended learning.
  • discuss how to use online learning for professional development.

Blended Learning

Traditionally, blended learning occurred when educators started replacing a portion of the traditional face-to-face instruction with online learning. Blended learning or Hybrid learning as it is sometimes called, can be used to loosely define courses or classes that are partly taught online and partly face-to-face. The Sloan Consortium (now the Online learning Consortium) (2007) defines blended learning as a course where 30%-70% of the instruction is delivered online. Other's put this range at 30-79%. This illustrates the large variety in what may be considered as blended learning.


There can be a great deal of difference between blended learning environments; designing an environment should be based mainly on the goals and objectives, resources and needs of the particular learning situation.
By using a blended learning model we can provide greater learner control over the place, time, pace, path of learning, allowing for more personalized learning experiences.

Watch this really short video describing blended learning and using it with students.

Models for Blended learning in K-12

The Christensen Institute’s research on blended learning in schools found that the majority of blended programs fall into one of four models: Rotation, Flex, A La Carte, and/or Enriched Virtual. Read the definitions for these here.

(Clayton Christensen Institute. Blended Learning Model Definitions. Retrieved from

*Optional Additional reading. __Blending Learning: The Evolution of Online and Face-to-Face Education from 2008–2015__

Blended learning and Professional Development

This practice of blending face-to-face and online learning can be extended to professional learning: where what you learn, where you learn and how you learn is very important to the adult learner. By blending professional development one can benefit from the flexibility of online learning as well as the collaboration and communication of face to face. Blended learning can allow for additional learning time, access to more content, and opportunities for collaboration and collaborative learning.

What are we blending?


Blended Professional Development: A few Scenarios

Using an online course (self-paced or instructor-led ) with face-to-face (F2F) professional learning communities( PLCs)

Self-paced course and F2F PLC

In this model, on-site facilitators guide and monitor the progress of groups of educators completing a self-paced module as a cohort or professional learning community (PLC). Groups of participants start and complete the instruction together, working independently online and collaboratively face-to-face.

Facilitators must be appointed by the LEA and should be physically present with the team during group meetings. The facilitator will lead and coordinate group discussions, implement timelines, set beginning and end dates for instruction, and coordinate meetings. Face-to-face meetings of cohorts can occur during PLC meetings, staff meetings, or department meetings, before and after school, during half-day sessions, or as decided by the LEA.

Instructor-led course and f2f PLCs

Educators are enrolled and participate in an online course with an online teacher. Parallel to the online course, a face-to-face system for coaching and support can be set up. At each step of the process the participants meet, face-to-face, in small groups with their coaches. Coaches work with their assigned small groups through monthly group meetings, individual meetings in face-to-face settings.

Using Videos or webinars online with f2f PLCs (Flipped Learning)

“ The flipped classroom is a pedagogical model in which the typical lecture and homework elements of a course are reversed. The notion of a flipped classroom draws on such concepts as active learning, student engagement, hybrid course design, and course podcasting. The value of a flipped class is in the repurposing of class time into a workshop where students can inquire about lecture content, test their skills in applying knowledge, and interact with one another in hands-on activities”
from: Educause ELI publication series in their __Seven Things You Should Know about…Flipped Classrooms__.

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As illustrated in the video example below, flipped professional development can use pre-recorded videos to deliver the content, saving much of the f2f tie for collaboration, clarification or discussion. Online webinars can also be used to anchor F2f sessions around. Watch this video "Modeling-Based (Flipped) Professional Development at Rutgers University - Dr. Lodge McCammon" about using flipped learning for professional development. Note your thoughts about this as you watch the video.

Let's do a Walk and Talk followed by whole group discussion.
Walk and Talk :
Discussion: What are your questions about the two blended learning models just described (f2f support for online courses or the flipped model)? What pros and cons do you see to these?

After you come back to your seat, facilitators will answer any remaining questions.

Using online forums as follow up activities for f2f training

Another way to blend professional learning is to follow up a F2F training session with online follow-up activities such as discussion, clarification and collaboration. Online discussion forums can allow participants to continue the conversation by sharing ideas and resources after the conclusion of the live training.

Answer these question at your table:
How to use blended learning as a gateway to online learning
How to use blended learning as an extension of online learning.


Ready to Flip: Three Ways to Hold Students Accountable for Pre-Class Work


Sloan Consortium (2007) Blending In: The Extent and Promise of Blended Education in the United States.

Welcome - Blended Learning - PD System - Reflection & Resources