Student Data is Key to Post-COVID Blended Learning
A common misconception is that simply integrating technology into the school day constitutes a blended learning approach. But just the presence of technology is not enough for blended learning. Liz Brooke, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, the chief learning officer of Lexia Learning, a Cambium Learning® company, has authored a white paper titled “4 Keys to Success Using Blended Learning Models in the Classroom and in a Remote Environment.” The white paper discusses the factors that district administrators should consider for successfully planning and implementing blended learning in the traditional classroom, remotely or in a hybrid environment.
“When schools were thrown into remote learning last spring, some of the programs they selected may not have had all four components for success,” said Brooke. “As schools assess reopening plans for the spring and fall semesters, they have an opportunity to re-examine the blended learning tools being used in terms of both efficacy research around the programs and the success factors mentioned in this white paper.”
The success factors are as follows:
- A technology tool that adapts to each student’s abilities
- An instructional program that captures student data
- Resources for teacher-led instruction
- Next-step recommendations for the teacher
By bearing these factors in mind, schools can avoid common technology pitfalls such as programs that provide “adaptive assessment” but not “adaptive instruction.” While such programs can place students at the proper instructional level, they will only provide one-size-fits-all instruction rather than targeted scaffolding and instruction.
“Without the capture of student data, an educational tool cannot differentiate students’ learning paths from session to session,” explained Brooke. “It also limits how well educators and administrators can monitor student progress, which can exacerbate the problems they have experienced with at-home online instruction.” A lack of targeted resources for teacher-led instruction results in teachers having to add to their heavy workloads further as they hunt down appropriate materials for struggling students.
Even when technology-based tools provide real-time data on student progress, teachers are still faced with the challenge of analyzing and connecting that data to appropriate instruction or intervention strategies. “Schools can dramatically improve teacher effectiveness by implementing technology that takes the guesswork out by automatically providing personalizedrecommendations for teacher intervention,” said Brooke.
“This white paper shares guidelines on how to effectively personalize instruction whether it’s face-to-face, hybrid or remote,” Brooke continued. “The focus is on these key factors for successful blended learning programs, but we should always remember that the teacher plays a central role in all blended learning models. These other four factors simply empower educators and maximize their effectiveness.”