Michael Horn, author of “Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns”, was the Friday keynote at the annual Computer Using Educators conference this month. Below is his presentation, which is posted on SchoolTube. If you’ve not read the book, his keynote is a good primer. Buy and read the book, though.
The guiding document for our advocacy the past three years has been Clayton Christensen’s and Michael Horn’s, “Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation will Change the Way the World Learns.” Knowing that change was heading our way, we’ve been working the past six months to reinvent CLRN to begin reviewing online courses to Common Core standards and to national standards for online courses.
Last week, I was honored to share our progress and our research with a room full of district and county superintendent’s at ACSA’s Superintendents’ Symposium in Monterey. The next few blog posts will revisit some of the recent research and articles that have come our way.
Superintendents are curious about the online course revolution and how it can help their students. Given the data showing 20% annual growth in online learning, and the history of disruptive innovations to destroy industries, superintendents must wonder, too, if online courses have the potential to tear up their foundations.
After all, take a look at Kodak. Having invented the digital camera in 1975, they obviously knew about the technology, but seemed to have no idea how to prepare for a day when people stopped buying their film. Kodak’s stock price, which topped $63 in 1999 (before digital cameras reached the tipping point), dropped to just $5.50 this year. Disruptive innovations destroy and dismember companies. Remember Polaroid?
So, it was with some relief that I found Michael Horn’s newest research last week that shows that there is some light at the end of the tunnel. “The Rise of K-12 Blended Learning”, co-authored by Heather Staker, confirms that 50% of all high school courses will be taught online by 2019, but adds this codicil; 90% of online courses will consist of blended learning at brick-and-mortar schools.
At the beginning of each disruptive revolution, it’s mainly non-consumers who are attracted to the product, because the disruption meets their needs. With online learning, this includes home schoolers, credit recovery, AP courses and world languages at small, rural schools, independent study, and summer schools. Horn says, though, that there’s a limit to the number of students who can attend a full-time virtual school and he pegs the rate at 10%.
As we near online learning’s tipping point in 2013 (as predicted by Horn and Christensen), we’re also beginning to see product substitution occur. Product substitution is what happens when traditional customers begin buying the disruptive product. Horn and Staker see a “small but growing number of schools starting to introduce blended learning into their core programming for main stream students.”
They define blended learning, also known as blended/hybrid learning, as any time a student learns partly in a brick-and-mortar location (school) and partly through online delivery. Their research profiles six distinct models that will continue to evolve over time.
Model 1: Face-to-Face Driver
Basically the status quo, this model is closest to the current classroom delivery model with the teacher utilizing online learning on a case-by-case basis with individual students to supplement or remediate.
Model 2: Rotation
Within specific classes, students rotate on a fixed schedule, sometimes learning with an in-person teacher and other times learning online.
Model 3: Flex
If memory serves me, the flex model is closest to the future predicted in Disrupting Class where students learn most of the content from an online platform/class and teachers provide on-site support; sometimes providing tutoring or small group sessions. Horn and Staker see dropout-recover and credit-recovery programs utilizing this model.
Model 4: Online Lab
You might call this, “We’re going to let you learn online, but in our building and under our supervision.” In the online lab model, students take an entire course online in a brick-and-mortar computer lab with paraprofessionals supervising. With this model, students would take some courses online while taking other courses from traditional teachers. Florida is piloting this model with 7,000 students in 54 schools this year.
Model 5: Self Blend
This is the zero period concept where students choose to take extra courses outside of the school’s catalog.
Model 6: Online Driver
While Model 1 is closest to the status quo, Model 6 is the furthest with students taking all their courses online, with them working remotely (that is, not in a brick-and-mortar environment). Sometimes this model can include face-to-face extracurricular or collaborative activities.