Spotlight on: Self-blend model of learning

As with any method of instruction, there are several different approaches that can be taken when implementing blended learning into classrooms. According to the Innosight Institute, there are six models of blended learning: face-to-face driver, rotation, flex, online lab, self-blend and online driver.

“There’s such a diversity of different types of programs and models that are using content in different ways,” Susan Patrick, president and CEO of the International Association for K-12 Online Learning, told EdNews Colorado. “It parallels the range of student needs that are out there.”

Although each blended learning model uses some combination of online instruction or adaptive learning software and face-to-face teaching, they each take a unique approach. For district administrators and teachers who are considering implementing blended learning instruction into their classrooms, the key is to find the model that will be most effective for their students.

But how different can the models possibly be? As it turns out, quite a bit different. Some forms of blended learning are better suited to elementary school students, while others have been proven to help teenagers who are struggling to stay in school and earn their high school diplomas. One of the most popular models of blended learning at the moment is self-blend.

How does it work?
The self-blend approach to blended learning is popular among students and teachers alike because it gives kids the freedom to supplement the instruction that happens in the classroom. Self-blend generally takes the form of students opting to take online courses outside of the time they traditionally spend at school. More often than not, this online learning allows students to tackle subjects that school districts may not be able to offer during the confines of the normal school day, whether it’s a question of scheduling, funding or student interest.

Who uses the self-blend model?
Self-blend is most often used in high schools because in order for it to be successful it requires students to take charge of the learning process and show initiative – something that may be difficult for younger students to master. In this significant way, it differs from other types of blended learning like the rotation model, which is quite often used in elementary schools.

What are the benefits?
There are numerous benefits to the self-blend model of instruction. Not only does it enhance classroom learning, it also gives students access to courses that may not otherwise be offered. In addition, taking some portion of their classes online helps students hone their digital literacy skills, which is important for teenagers who will soon be entering the 21st century workforce. Many states are also beginning to require high school students to take at least one online course before graduation, so the self-blend model will likely become increasingly popular in the future. Millions of students are already participating in this model of blended learning, according to The Journal.

Do students need their own technology?
While students whose schools use the self-blend model of instruction are not required to have their own technology, they will need to have access to the Internet in order to participate. Students who do not have computers at home may be able to use labs at school or head to their local libraries to complete coursework.

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