Online & Blended Learning

Colorado’s online offerings for public school students in grades kindergarten through 12 are rapidly expanding. Depending on the areas in which students live, they may have access to some or all of the following types of online learning.

Blended Learning

Blended learning can take many forms, but, as its name suggests, blends online learning with more traditional classroom instruction or guidance.  Blended learning has been defined as, “a formal education program in which a student learns at least in part through online delivery of content and instruction with some element of student control over time, place, path, and/or pace and at least in part at a supervised brick-and-mortar location away from home.”*

The Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation has identified four blended learning models:

  • Model 1 Rotation: Students alternate between face-to-face instruction and online lesson delivery in a classroom, computer lab or at home.
  • Model 2 Flex: The curriculum is delivered online usually in a learning lab while teachers provide on-site support in the form of tutoring or small group instruction.
  • Model 3 Self-blend: Students take traditional courses at school and self-selected online courses at home.
  • Model 4 Enriched Virtual: Students take classes online at home and check in with teachers for face-to-face learning as needed.

The benefits of effective integration of technology in a classroom include reducing the amount of time teachers spend on tasks like attendance, grading, data aggregation and analysis, and skills practice, thereby enabling teachers to focus on high-impact instructional strategies and personalized attention. Blended learning can give a teacher flexibility to have students who have mastered the material to move ahead to the next online module while she personally works with students who are struggling.

Full-time site-based

Full-time site-based programs (sometimes called Learning Centers) are similar to blended learning but typically students do the majority of their online work at the center.  Mentors or teachers are available on-site to provide assistance.

Full-time home-based (for students out-of-district and / or in-district)

Colorado students in grades kindergarten through 12 (including former homeschool and private that serve students no matter where the student resides as long as the place of residence is in Colorado. A similar number of school district online schools or programs only serve students who live in the school district. Some programs are charter schools, some are developed by districts or a district may contract with a management company that has developed a program.

Supplemental online classes

Supplemental online classes are used to augment another educational program. Some school districts use supplemental online classes to provide classes that the district does not provide, but core classes are also available through supplemental online providers. As online education grows some school districts are encouraging students to experience an online class even though the district offers the class in its traditional program.

Check here for our latest on online education

Watch education senior fellow Krista Kafer and Tony Lewis of the Donnell-Kay Foundation discuss the latest blended learning trends in Colorado:

Blended Learning Resources

    Independence Institute Publications

Media

Online Learning Resources

    Independence Institute Publications

Parent Resources