(2012/2013) Analysis of a High School Blended-Learning Model

Abstract

By Eian Harm, Ed.D., Lori Gash, M.Ed., Tobey Jossis, M.Ed. 

As part of an initiative undertaken by the West Ada School District (WA) to create an online learning program, the district has created the Virtual School House.  The Virtual School House provides students with a valuable alternative to the traditional classroom instructional model.  Within the Virtual School House a pilot study was created aimed at general education students in the 9th grade.  As part of this program a yearlong analysis of both a completely online version as well as a blended-learning classroom model of Global Perspectives (Social Studies) class was created.  Students were randomly chosen and asked if they wanted to participate in the online or blended version of the course.  The blended-model classroom as currently created within WA is one where students earn 70% of their grade through online instruction within WA's Virtual School House.  The remaining 30% of the student’s grade was the result of in-class instruction and projects performed within a face-to-face classroom. This study sought to analyze the effectiveness of the blended-learning pilot, gather results to improve the online and/or blended-learning program, and to glean some sense of the benefits of online education models (online v. blended-models) for various types of students throughout WA.