How to get started with Blended Learning: Part 2

Step 2: Define a baseline

The decision to adopt a new teaching approach is both exciting and angst inducing. Blended learning offers a new way to reach students, so it makes sense that districts want to harness it's potential. As school districts explore the possibilities of blended learning they are also faced with challanges and obstacles that must be acknowledged and planned for. If you are thinking about how to get started with blended learning, this 7 part blog series will explore the steps you should consider as you adopt this new methodology. 

It's helpful to read these posts in order, so before continuing you can read part 1 here

So you're thinking about taking the plunge and you think you understand the need to see where your teachers stand on blended learning adoption. 

Now what? 

The Blended Practice Profile

Dr. Wendy Oliver, Chief Learning Officer at Thrivist, developed the Blended Practice Profile which is a software tool that assesses teacher readiness and skills in blended learning.

One of her goals was to arm teachers and administrators with validated data to develop personalized PD plans that would promote pedagogically sound blended learning instruction. 

So what is the Blended Practice Profile? It's based on Dr. Oliver's Frameworks for instruction in the Blended and Online Environments.

Teachers complete the assessment to gauge their understanding of blended learning. Once the assessment is completed, teachers recieve immediate feedback. They can then use that feedback to develop their Professional Growth Plan.

Administrators can use it to select and design professional development opportunities that align to the needs of the faculty. Administrators can also use the assessment data to better utilize PD funds and make their PD more successful.

Download the whitepaper

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Blended Practice Profile nuts and bolts

Within each of Dr. Oliver's frameworks are six dimensions, referred to as domains. They are:

  • Instruction
  • Professional Responsibilities
  • Technology
  • Planning & Preparation
  • Curriculum
  • Instructional Design

Within each of the six domains there are Elements or Indicators. Each Indicator is designed to address a more focused topic.

Example: within the Technology domain one would find "Manages Technical Resources" Indicator. Each Indicator provides a measureable Standard and a Value Judgement, which is unique to Oliver's Frameworks and meant to:

  • Give a peak into what the standard would look like in the classroom
  • Provide a depiction in context of the expectation
  • Align to a variety of standards

With the reimagining of teacher and learning through 21st century skills, the role of professional development will be critical to the success of initiatives like blended learning. 

To see the step-by-step guide to get started with blended learning:

Download the Blended Learning Puzzle whitepaper


In part 3 of our 'How to Get Started with Blended Learning' series you'll find out the importance of personalized professional development for your teachers. You will also see how important it is to deliver that personalized PD within the technology that you plan to use in your classrooms. 


Barbra Thoeming Director of Education Strategy at Thrivist, LLC