Lessons Learned from a Blended Learning Pilot

Lessons Learned from a Blended Learning Pilot

This white paper is a comprehensive overview of the Blend My Learning pilot that set out to test blended learning in a real world setting.  Written for educators, funders, policy makers, and the general public interested in how technology will transform schools, the paper focuses on the insights and lessons learned from the Khan Academy pilot in Oakland, CA.

Download the pdf version of the white paper.

We encourage comments and the continuation of the rich dialogue that has taken place on the website.

The paper begins with an executive summary and then discusses:

  • Changes in the role of the teacher in the blended learning pilot
  • Student perspective on blended learning
  • How space is used in the blended classroom
  • Khan Academy feedback
  • Google Chromebook feedback
  • Quantitative results of the study
  • Questions that remain

Written by Brian Greenberg

Brian Greenberg

Chief Executive Officer for the Silicon Schools Fund


  1. The Blended Learning Pilot White Paper contains some real jaw-dropping surprises. I really appreciate this valuable contribuation to the limited body of knowledge regarding k12 blended learning. The results were particularly exciting for me because several of the findings reinforced observations I have made in my blended alternative high school math courses that use a combination of commercial online content and a free gaming site. My students routinely skip the online content just like your treatment group students skipped the videos. They won’t slog their way through the content any more than they will listen to a teacher in a traditional classroom. However, they engage for extended periods of time while taking the quizzes that they must pass and also the Mangahigh math games that I assign. Additionally, I have also seen a distinct shift in the conversations from “What’s this answer?” to “How do I do this?” just like the report noted regarding the treatment group. It is an amazing experience to hear a room-full of math conversations from a bunch of near-dropouts.

    Important takeaways for me:
    1) Content embedded within a Learning Challenge can be particularly valuable for students who traditionally don’t engage in the learning process. I’m thinking — worked examples where students are challenged to fill in blanks and then receive immediate feedback.
    2) Assuming that digital natives will pay attention to well constructed content just because it is elegant and digital may be a poor assumption.
    3) Students who have disengaged from traditional learning models can still find joy in rigorous learning that involves gaming-like goals.

  2. This blog about Blended Learning was really interesting. Since I am still in college, this post really assists in my future classroom teaching structure. I plan on teaching Kindergarten and I think integrating technology at an early age with interactive educational games may influence students to use technology for good not evil. In college, I have had many blended courses and really enjoy them. I honestly feel like I learn more having the ability to use multiple resources other than “teacher’s knowledge.” I think this helps not only students learn more, but assists educators continue in their learning and view additional (local and worldwide) opinions.

  3. Hi, I am commenting on this post for a class that I am taking at the University of South Alabama called EDM 310. Click here if you would like to read my blog for the class. This blended learning pilot introduces a great concept that works with the advantages of teacher assisted learning and student lead learning in regard to integrating technology into the classroom. It is also interesting to note that the students in the blended class had more opportunities for 1:1 teacher help which allowed the teacher to help the students on an individual basis.

  4. A great write-up and I’m happy that you point out the problems inherent with drawing conclusions from such a short trial. Anecdotal evidence is still very valuable, especially for teachers trying to experiment on their own. Definitely an interesting and thought-provoking read.

  5. The authors of this white paper write that they hope teachers would learn to use the real-time data to decide when to intervene with a student rather than waiting for the student to raise a hand. I work with students who have learning disabilities and two of our leading responsibilities are to teach them to self-advocate (communicate with the instructor that they need help and what kind of help they need) and teach them to take initiative for their learning (self-assess and self-address rather than wait for someone else to swoop in and save them—the automatic response for some of them). This particular observation that real-time data allows teachers to provide help while robbing students of the responsibility to self-advocate and initiate is not encouraging. Of course those skills are not effectively taught by simply withholding help until it has been properly requested, but neither are they taught by cheering the opportunity to eliminate the request.


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