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Ready to Implement Blended Learning?

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By Tom Vander Ark and Carri Schneider

Districts across the country are starting to see the blended learning light. We're encouraged by the growing number of forward-thinking leaders who are past the point of needing to be convinced about the potential of blended learning; and are now ready to get serious about implementation.

In honor of Digital Learning Day today, Digital Learning Now! (DLN) released "The Blended Learning Implementation Guide," the fifth DLN Smart Series paper, for leaders who are ready seize the opportunity and shift to blended learning.

The guide is co-authored by Scott Ellis, the CEO of The Learning Accelerator. The Learning Accelerator is a new nonprofit organization supporting the implementation of blended learning in school districts and recent recipient of a $750,000 Gates grant that plans to mobilize $100 million over the next five years to accelerate blended learning implementation.

The guide walks school and district leaders through a series of implementation issues around strategy, models, platforms, devices, and more. The authors all agree that the shift to blended learning should be driven by the desire to personalize and extend learning opportunities, rather than "tech for tech's sake" or potential cost savings. If blended learning implementation is seen as "just another district initiative," it's destined for failure.

The guide is organized according to four sections:

  1. Create Conditions for Success
  2. Plan
  3. Implement; and
  4. Improve.


Following this format, leaders can walk through the guide for full implementation advice on topics ranging from initially building support all the way through measuring impact and cultivating future innovation.

While shifting to blended learning might seem like a daunting task, "The Blended Learning Implementation Guide" will help leaders through the big decisions related to faculty roles, classroom structures, staffing patterns, school budgets, professional development, dedicated program management, and more.

We've heard that many of you are eager for a guide like this one. We're hoping you'll take it and run with it. Kick its tires and let us know what you think. We've subtitled it Version 1.0 because we'd love to capture your feedback and continue to build out the guide so it works for you. Please feel free to email your comments to SmartSeries@GettingSmart.com. You can also submit your feedback as comments on this article or engage with the authors through our websites, blogs, and social media.

The DLN Smart Series illuminates critical implementation topics at the intersection of the shift to personal digital learning and Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The Blended Learning Implementation Guide and the other DLN Smart Series papers and infographics are available for download at: www.digitallearningnow.com/dln-smart-series/ .

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The opinions expressed in Vander Ark on Innovation are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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