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Opinion: Diverse Research Crucial in Determining How Blended Learning Works

Opinion: Diverse Research Crucial in Determining How Blended Learning Works

According to Michael B. Horn, founder and Executive Director of Education at the Clayon Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation, using diverse methods of research to report findings on the effectiveness of blended learning is important to best understand how the complex mode of personalized learning works.

Horn first and foremost argues against focusing on the answer to the question "Does blended learning work," because he says the different implementations of blended learning will drastically effect the results each time.

"Equally important is defining what the problem is--and how to define success in solving that problem in concrete terms. Success metrics could range from whether students were proficient on a state test to whether all students attained mastery of a set of knowledge and skills to whether we were looking to boost engagement and intrinsic motivation," he said, according to the article.

For this reason, he insists the way to best define how blended learning is working is to better focus research studies and better use the results to draw conclusions on the effectiveness.

The Learning Accelerator, according to Horn, is leading blended learning research aggregation in a way that can best help people in the education field see what works and what does not.

In an initial report released by the group as part of its research clearinghouse on blended learning "starts with the evidence of why personalized learning or individualized instruction can be so powerful, with references to several rigorous studies that have produced sizeable impacts on student learning."

The research looks at eight different types of research designs and discusses the likelihood of replicating the designs' results.

One of these research types, for example, is called “Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning: A Meta-Analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies," which looks at most learning occurring online or in a blended environment.

"What emerges from the report is that more studies on the impact of blended learning are being produced than is perhaps popularly recognized, and that these studies have an array of different research designs. The different research designs accordingly have different implications for what we can usefully take from the studies," Horn said, according to the article.

All in all, Horn argues that the Learning Accelerator's method of comparing different forms of research against each other is the best way to judge the results of blended learning to compare and contrast the many different learning forms that exist.

Read the full article here and comment below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

05/26/2015

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