Lessons Learned about Blended Learning

Brad Neuenhaus is the co-founder of Keys to Literacy. Over his 7 years in education he has focused on developing on and offline materials and processes to support the professional learning of teachers and administrators. His interest is in developing programs and implementation strategies that support sustainable school and district wide instructional change. This is his first post on the Tech Matters Blog.

Are you considering the benefits of a blended professional development (PD) model?  Should your school combine live and online training? Many schools are finding that in addition to cost benefits and flexibility, blended PD can be an effective way to improve teachers’ instructional practice.

At Keys to Literacy, we began developing online courses in 2009. Since then nearly 3000 teachers across 54 districts have taken our Comprehension or Vocabulary blended online professional development.

Our approach involves a one day onsite PD session followed by an asynchronous, online six-hour module. However, there are multiple ways to combine online and in-person PD to create engaging, targeted, and authentic learning opportunities for your school or district. Whatever approach you choose, we’ve found that there are 4 critical elements that must be addressed:

  1. Participant readiness
  2. Technology requirements
  3. Supports
  4. Feedback and accountability

Careful planning and communication will have a significant impact on your program’s success. Through our work, we’ve learned a great deal about what it takes to implement blended PD, and have compiled a list of key questions to help your school or district get started. Download our questions below and explore the PowerUp PD Facilitator Guide for more ideas!

Keys to Literacy Blended PD Planning Checklist (PDF)

PowerUp WHAT WORKS PD Facilitator Guide (PDF)

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