Shaken, Stirred--Blended and Hybrid?

Shaken, Stirred--Blended and Hybrid?

This week, we asked readers to define the difference between "hybrid" and "blended" models. After all, even "personalized" is a bit of a conundrum these days. If you use any of those words regularly, tweet us (@edsurge) or email your definition; we'll share 'em back. Say what you mean; mean what you say. And we really truly mean that!

Here are a few comments we've received: 

Blended means a blend of traditional instruction and online instruction in the classroom The teacher uses tech to support the teaching and give some ownership of learning to the students for about 50% of the time.

Hybrid means the same thing, in my view.

The problem today is there are too many definitions for the same thing which is confusing everyone, even experts. Can we all be friends and use ONE term?

--Esther Wojcicki


Blended learning is a formal education program in which a student learns:

  1. At least in part through online learning, with some element of student control over time, place, path, and/or pace; 
  2. At least in part in a supervised brick-and-mortar location away from home; 
  3. And the modalities along each student’s learning path within a course or subject are connected to provide an integrated learning experience.

--Anna Gu


Personalized = individualized (identified by name), plus differentiated instruction, plus (and this is most important) personal salience, or meaning. Whether with math or counseling, but most so with the latter, evidence shows the greatest effect when learners enter through the door of their own deepest interest, concern, or (sadly, with our program) pain.

Blended: Classes or schools that facilitate learning online and face-to-face, but both mediums rely on one another, and you must attend class in order to access materials.

Hybrid: Classes or schools where students can do face-to-face, online or a mixture of both, but they don't rely on one another, and attendance isn't necessary to access materials.

Personalized: Any form of learning or instruction that meets students where they are at and/or leverages their personal interests to drive learning.

--Antonio Parés

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