2016 BLU trends report

January 27, 2017 | by Clifford Maxwell


One of the principal reasons we created the Blended Learning Universe (BLU) school directory was so that we could more efficiently and effectively keep our finger on the pulse of blended learning. As schools and districts continue to join, and as current schools and districts update their profiles year after year, the BLU school directory will continue to house the largest and most up-to-date catalog of blended-learning programs worldwide.

Since launching the newest version of the BLU in February 2016, we have seen more than 200 schools and districts join or update their BLU profiles. Below are some of the key blended-learning trends of 2016 based on BLU data, namely the most popular blended-learning models and edtech tools that schools and districts implemented.

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Although 2016 data showed a small number of experienced blended schools and educators shifting away from the Station Rotation model in favor of the Flex and Individual Rotation models, the Station Rotation was still the most popular blended-learning model used in elementary schools.
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In 2016, the Station Rotation was also the most popular blended-learning model used in middle schools. The Flex and Individual Rotation models, however, showed a surge in middle schools in the fall semester, a trend we expect to continue in 2017.

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In 2016, two disruptive models of blended learning, the Flex and Enriched Virtual, were the most popular models used in BLU high schools. The rise of the Enriched Virtual is a trend we will be watching in 2017 as online courseware improves and students demand more flexible schedules in order to participate in extracurricular activities and develop work skills.
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After Khan Academy, most schools and districts using a Flex model created their own edtech tools in-house in 2016. This observation presents two interesting questions: 1) To what extent do schools and districts use outside providers–like Summit Learning (formerly Summit Basecamp), Gooru, Altschool, and others—for the learning management needs that a Flex program requires; 2) Will we continue to see schools and districts build edtech tools in-house in the absence of better (or less accessible) alternatives?

Thank you for your participation on the BLU in 2016. We value your leadership and your sustained efforts to innovate in ways that help each individual student reach her potential. If you have made any changes to your blended program, then please update your profile today!

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