Thursday, October 9, 2014 - 9:45am
Each year Fuel Education and EdNET Insight conduct a nationwide survey to better understand the best practices in online and blended learning. And, while the study results reveal many key points for online administrators and educators, perhaps the answer to this question is most important: What actually makes up a successful online and blended learning implementation? Our study reveals that online learning and blended learning share five important attributes for success, with engagement, reporting, and training being most important to respondents.
The top five most important attributes for success in online and blended courses:
- Offering rigorous and engaging curriculum – Engaging curriculum helps keep the student moving forward and focused, and a well-designed curriculum provides different methods of delivering content to accommodate different learning styles.
- Tracking student progress/adequate reporting – Progress monitoring tools and data are crucial for teachers to know how students are doing and if intervention is needed. The tools also provide immediate and specific feedback that teachers can use to personalize instruction.
- Teachers available to intervene to assist struggling students in a timely manner – Some may think that online learning reduces the role of the teacher. In fact, the teacher plays an essential role by offering targeted instruction when needed and support.
- Providing students with enough training/clear expectations around their responsibilities to take online courses – Just because students are savvy with technology does not mean they are comfortable using online learning tools. Students new to online courses need training on how to use the learning systems as well as a clear outline of expectations in coursework, deliverables, and overall responsibilities for learning.
- Instructors well-trained to deliver online courses – Teachers who excel at in-person instruction are not necessarily strong at delivering online courses. It is imperative that online instructors be well trained in how to engage students, use the online tools, monitor progress, provide feedback, and support students who need additional help.
When considering online and blended learning, it frequently comes back to keeping students challenged and engaged; implementing accurate assessment and tracking of student progress; training teachers to understand their changing role in the classroom; and online training for students as well.