Blended learning

Blended learning is a formal education program in which a student learns at least in part through delivery of content and instruction via digital and online media with some element of student control over time, place, path, or pace. While still attending a “brick-and-mortar” school structure, face-to-face classroom methods are combined with computer-mediated activities.

Proponents of blended learning cite the opportunity for data collection and customization of instruction and assessment as two major benefits of this approach. Schools with blended learning models may also choose to reallocate resources to boost student achievement outcomes.


The terms "blended," "hybrid," "technology-mediated instruction," "web-enhanced instruction," and "mixed-mode instruction" are often used interchangeably. The concept of blended learning has been around for a long time, but its terminology was not firmly established until around the beginning of the 21st century. One of the earliest references to the term appears in a press release in 1999, when the Interactive Learning Centers, an Atlanta-based education business, announced its change of name to EPIC learning. The article mentions that “The Company currently operates 220 on-line courses, but will begin offering its Internet courseware using the company's Blended Learning methodology. The meaning of blended learning widely diverged to encompass a wide variety of synthesis in learning methods until 2006, when the first Handbook of Blended Learning by Bonk and Graham was published. Graham challenged the breadth and ambiguity of the term's definition, and defined 'blended learning systems' as learning systems that "combine face-to-face instruction with computer mediated instruction. Currently, use of the term blended learning mostly involves "combining Internet and digital media with established classroom forms that require the physical co-presence of teacher and students."


Although there is little consensus on the definition of blended learning and some academic studies have suggested it is a redundant term, there are distinct blended learning models that have been suggested by educational think tanks and some academic studies.

Blended Learning can generally be classified into six models
  • Face to face driver - where the teacher drives the instruction and augments with digital tools.
  • Rotation - students cycle through a schedule of independent online study and face-to-face classroom time.
  • Flex - Most of the curriculum is delivered via a digital platform and teachers are available for face-to-face consultation and support.
  • Labs - All of the curriculum is delivered via a digital platform but in a consistent physical location. Students usually take traditional classes in this model as well.
  • Self-Blend - Students choose to augment their traditional learning with online course work.
  • Online Driver - All curriculum and teaching is delivered via a digital platform and face-to-face meetings are scheduled or made available if necessary.

Flipped Classroom

Created by Knewton and Column Five Media

Introduction to Blended Learning: