Keeping Pace with K–12 Digital Learning is the title of this year’s report. Digital learning is replacing the previous reference to online and blended learning. This seemingly small word change signifies a significant evolution in the landscape, and a major change in the way we are analyzing and reporting on it…
Keeping Pace with Online Learning was first published in 2004... In subsequent years two key changes happened. First, an ever-increasing amount of online learning activity developed inside individual schools and districts, as an ever-increasing number of students were taking online courses from within their own districts instead of from state virtual schools and virtual charter schools. Concurrently, a second shift was taking place. Schools were beginning to combine an online or digital content component with regular face-to-face classroom instruction in new and unique ways... In 2012, in recognition of these changes and the growing visibility of blended learning activity, the report’s title changed to Keeping Pace with K–12 Online and Blended Learning...
Organizations such as the Clayton Christensen Institute have made significant contributions toward creating blended learning definitions and categories of blended models, but while this has been highly useful, there is little consistency among the many interpretations of these definitions by schools for their programs. To further complicate matters—and create a need to expand the research—the broader digital learning landscape continues to shift in many ways, including the exploding growth of new digital learning technologies and products, the changing and merging ways these resources are used, and shifting levels of usage within the various sectors of the K–12 education industry.
- Digital learning is any instructional practice in or out of school that uses digital technology to strengthen a student’s learning experience and improve educational outcomes. Our use of the term is broad and not limited to online, blended, and related learning. It encompasses a wide range of digital tools and practices, including instructional content, interactions, data and assessment systems, learning platforms, online courses, adaptive software, personal learning enabling technologies, and student data management systems to provide timely and rich data to guide personalized learning.
- Blended learning is "a formal education program in which a student learns at least in part through online learning, with some element of student control over time, place, path, and/or pace; at least in part in a supervised brick-and-mortar location away from home; and the modalities along each student’s learning path within a course or subject are connected to provide an integrated learning experience.” (The Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation)
- Online learning: Teacher-led education that takes place over the Internet, with the teacher and student separated geographically, using an online instructional delivery system. It may be accessed from multiple settings (in school and/or out of school buildings).