Six Models of Blended Learning

November 22, 2013

I recently found an informative infographic (pardon the redundancy) that presented six distinct models of blended learning. Since many teaching and leaning infographics are crafted with K-12 in mind, I typically review them with a skeptic's eye and ask "how does this play out in a university setting?" If I easily make connections to the higher education environment, the next question I ask is "what could be the value to our campus?" This Knewton blended learning infographic [see below] passed the value test.

As I mulled over the models, I tried to imagine what blended learning might look like at UW-Platteville in each category. 

  1. The face-to-face driver model delivers most of the curriculum in a classroom setting, but has some online elements. Anyone who has placed content in Desire2Learn with the expectation that students would review this material outside of class has dabbled in this blended learning model.
  2. rotation model closely matches the concept of a flipped classroom. Set by a fixed schedule, students move between required online interaction and required face-to-face interaction. A class may be required to watch short videos that present concepts useful to a problem-solving process on their own before coming to class. Then, during the class time (which now isn't needed for lecture) students may work on solving those problems with some one-on-one or group coaching from the instructor.
  3. Courses designed around the flex model may require more strategic planning than courses designed around the other models. In this type of blended learning, most of the curriculum is delivered in an online format. On-site face-to-face instruction is provided as needed. This model may initially lend itself to part of a 15-week course, perhaps a 3-week unit. During this time, course content is delivered online and most class activities are conducted virtually. If students need additional guidance, it is available in a face-to-face setting (read: office hour).
  4. The online lab model is probably the one blended learning model best suited to K-12 learning. Students attending class in a face-to-face setting access online courses or labs that are not available in the traditional setting. It is possible that on this campus, departments and instructors might find themselves on the delivery side of courses in the online lab model.
  5. The self-blend model is alive and well on the UW-Platteville campus. Students are able to take online courses through the Distance Learning Center (and other venues) while taking face-to-face courses in the more traditional setting. 
  6. Finally, the online driver model of blended learning is different than online learning. Although most of the curriculum is presented online and students can engage with the material flexibly, there are mandatory face-to-face check-ins or on-campus meetings. Additionally, students may be required to synchronously meet to collaborate with peers in the online course.

Blended learning easily fits the UW-Platteville environment, and there are plenty of options to find just the right model for a particular teaching and learning need. Take a look at the infographic and consider how blended learning might evolve at UW-Platteville. We'd love to hear your impressions in the comments below.

Next week: Part 2 in this blended learning series - Working definitions for hybrid, blended and technology-enhanced learning.


Blended Learning Infographic

Created by Knewton and Column Five Media

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