Ashley Hall's Blended Learning Model | Frequently Asked Questions

Blended Learning: Frequently Asked Questions

Ashley Hall Blended Learning Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Ashley Hall’s Blended Learning Model is carefully scaffolded to provide individualized instruction and encourage student agency. Students encounter academic concepts through small group direct instruction, independent work, collaborative assignments, and online tools. While Blended Learning is primarily intended for on-campus instruction, it is well-suited to adapt to distance learning when the situation requires that we offer remote classrooms.

What is Blended Learning?

There are many different definitions for Blended Learning, and there are similar terms that get mixed in. Ashley Hall’s Blended Learning Model is defined as our formal education program in which a student learns primarily in a supervised brick-and-mortar location away from home with some control over time, place, path, and/or pace. Activities include independent work, collaborative activities, small group instruction, and online learning. The modalities along each student’s learning path within a course or subject are connected to provide an integrated learning experience. 

Blended Learning classrooms often feature rotations through stations, discussions, “playlists” with a choice of activities, small group work, and online lessons.

Why is Blended Learning so effective?

Blended Learning classrooms focus on mastery-based learning and individualized instruction. Students have a variety of activities designed to introduce, practice, master, and reflect on their learning. By offering choice and flexibility, students are supported if they need more practice or if they have mastered the concept and need to dive more deeply into application of concepts. There is no one-size-fits-all approach, and learners are encouraged to develop independence and confidence in their lessons. Blended Learning classrooms are student-centered and use technology as tools for engaging in learning at their own pace. 

NAIS: The Blended Learning Shift

OESIS: Learning Innovation Report on US Independent Schools

How is Blended Learning different from distance learning?

Blended Learning is designed to be accomplished primarily in community and with face-to-face time with teachers and classmates. Distance learning occurs when students cannot be on campus and must learn primarily through online connections and web-based assignments. The flexible structure of Blended Learning activities and the use of technology to enhance instruction are highly adaptable to distance learning, however, and offer creative and engaging ways for students to interact with the material from a remote location.

How does Blended Learning work for students who require accommodations or who move more quickly or more deliberately than the majority of their peers?

Blended Learning lessons feature required components for mastery, but they also include skills and content students should learn and components that students can aspire to as they engage deeper in their learning. All students need to master the required elements, and if they are ready to move forward, they can work on the lesson extensions to gain a deeper understanding. Accommodations for extra time and practice are inherent in the process, and since teachers are not lecturing or leading whole class activities, they have more time to work individually with students who need extra attention for mastery of a particular concept.

What are the benefits of a Blended Learning Model?

By focusing on enhancing student voice and choice, Blended Learning classrooms support student independence and agency; encourage personal responsibility and time management; offer greater academic support and opportunities for challenging activities; and create a more engaging classroom environment.

How are Ashley Hall teachers trained in the Blended Learning Model?

It takes time for educators to develop the skills and master tools to effectively run Blended Learning classrooms. Our innovator cohorts have been working on Blended Learning strategies over the past two years, and many of our faculty have already embraced this methodology. Those with more practice are working as mentors and ambassadors across divisions. Our June faculty professional development featured demonstrations of a Blended Learning lesson.

In addition, we are partnering with the OESIS Network (Online Education Strategies for Independent Schools), an independent school network devoted to innovation, to offer their learning pathways to faculty who wish to collaborate within the larger independent school community. The most important components of the Blended Learning Model are creating opportunities for students to engage in the critical content using multiple modalities and to provide frequent assessments to gauge how well students are progressing through the content. Technology is a tool, not the focus.

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Ashley Hall is a private school for girls located in Charleston, South Carolina enrolling students in pre-kindergarten-grade 12 with a boarding program for grades 9-12.