A team of researchers from several US universities recently demonstrated that students learn best when classroom learning is augmented with online access to materials and discussion. This approach, often called “blended learning”, improved student test scores by nearly 5 points – half of a letter grade – over a period of just a few weeks.
The controlled study looked at scores for students randomly assigned into one of three groups, ranging from traditional classroom-only settings to two groups with different access to online materials. The results were clear: students who used the online systems outperformed those who didn’t, with the largest gains seen by students who used the online systems most.
Researchers found that online course materials were used most by students who initially struggled with the material, supporting more personalized learning by allowing students to review or progress through material at their own pace.
Although blended learning has existed for nearly a decade in various forms (and even longer than that, under different names), it continues to grow in popularity each year – and it should come as no surprise. By combining in-class and online activities in a variety of ways, teachers and administrators can create the blended learning program that works best for their class or school. These blended-learning models allow for teachers to more easily differentiate instruction, for parents to be more active and involved in their child’s education, and for students to build technology literacy while working in their core academic areas.
Other studies have shown that blended learning is beneficial to students as early as kindergarten, particularly in the development of basic reading skills – skills that set the foundation for the rest of a student’s academic career.
How can your school reap the benefits of blended learning?
For many schools, the best way to offer blended learning for their students is by implementing school management software, that includes learning management system capabilities. Our checklist will help guide you in assessing your school’s requirements so you can start passing along the benefits of blended learning to your students.