NNU and the International Association for Online Learning (iNacol) recently conducted a research study of blended learning in Idaho and the program that is being led by the Idaho Digital Learning Academy. The research was picked up by the Larry Jacobs Education Radio Talk Show a couple weeks ago and will be featured at a National Conference in Orlando this month and a nationwide webinar in November. Eric Kellerer, Lori Werth and Eric Werth are the authors of the full research report.
For your information, included below is the text from the foreward of the report and a link to the radio show. The foreward was co-written by the director of IDLA and the leadership team of iNacol.
“The need for effective blended learning environments—the best of online and face-to-face learning, coupled with tools driving continuous assessment of progress and personalization of content—is on the rise throughout the United States. Transforming K-12 Rural Education through Blended Learning: Barriers and Promising Practices specifically reports on the implementation of blended learning programs in the state of Idaho. Among its findings, three key takeaways are apparent.
First is the positive impact that blended learning has on those teachers who choose to incorporate emerging models of practice into their classroom environments. Clearly showcased in these results is a strong correlation between a teacher’s ability to innovate and their enjoyment of teaching (as well as their self-efficacy/confidence). Educators in the field know that enjoyment of and confidence in their work are essential factors to retain great teachers in the profession.
Second is a correlation between the opportunity for self-pacing and the quality of a student’s work and perseverance. Allowing students to work at their own pace provides them ownership of their education and enables them to achieve mastery on their individual timetable. It also reinforces for them the notion that persistence can lead to success throughout their learning.
Third is the importance of comprehensive teacher training for blended and online learning environments. The report emphasizes just how essential it is to identify and incorporate pedagogical strategies specific to blended and online teaching into teacher preparation for new models of education. Beyond merely “turning on a tool,” educators must perceive and embrace the need to change their teaching style in order to engage and enrich each student’s individual education more effectively.
Throughout all of our work lies an emphasis on the need for the field of K-12 blended and online learning to continue to conduct studies such as this in order to challenge, adapt and strengthen the initial drivers of innovation. We are extremely thankful for the partnership that has formed between Idaho Digital Learning Academy, Northwest Nazarene University, and iNACOL in this endeavor. We would like to extend a special thanks to Dr. Susan Patrick, President and Chief Executive Officer of iNACOL, and Dr. Cheryl Charlton, Chief Executive Officer of IDLA, as well as each organization’s administrative teams, for their support on this project.
Link to Radio Show Archive:
–Eric Kellerer, EdD., Director of the NNU Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning