Publish at June 14 2011 Updated January 06 2022

Hybrid teaching devices: no single model

A U.S. report shows the diversity of hybrid teaching arrangements used in elementary and secondary schools.

The famous one-size-fits-all model. Many times, in pedagogy or elsewhere, we try to adopt THE device that would be effective in all situations. Unfortunately (or not), we also know that there is no panacea. In hybrid teaching as elsewhere.

In early May 2011, the American institute Innosight published a report entitled : "The rise of K-12blended learning: Profiles of emerging models " (.pdf) (The rise of K-12 blended learning : profiles of emerging models). This 184-page document shows the diversity of hybrid education models, created according to the needs of the institutions and regions that have adopted them.

40 unique models

40 projects from 40 schools are presented. Each scheme is presented in a table that brings together basic data, to which is added a history, a summary of operations, results achieved, and future prospects. The diversity of the schemes presented obliged the authors to create a system of categories (six main categories) and a positioning on a graph. In the latter, the horizontal axis determines the degree of supervision of learners by tutors and teachers (from very supervised to very autonomous) and the vertical axis measures the volume of online learning (from very little to exclusively online).

For example, the graph below describes a scheme in which learners are moderately supervised , and benefit from exclusively online courses:

Six general models of the programs

This organization allows us to quickly situate each scheme, but they also have specificities.

For example, a summer program - classified under the "rotation" model - divides learners' class time into thirds  the first is reserved for individualized online work, the second is composed of face-to-face time with the teacher, the last offers structured and collaborative group activities.

Some schemes offer online workshops, while others prefer to carry out these kinds of activities with face-to-face learners, supplemented by online input, and others clearly split the week into two periods: 3 days in the classroom for traditional lessons and 2 more in the computer room. Also included in this report is the famous Quest to Learn school in New York City, which bases all its activities on the use and creation of video games. This example is beginning to be emulated, with a school in Chicago having embarked on the adventure this year.

It should also be noted that some schemes are implemented on a very small scale (one school) while others span several U.S. states.

Results and expectations

If the hybrid teaching projects are varied, so are their results. Programs have been developed to achieve goals such as:

  • Increasing student success rates
  • Increasing grade point averages on assessments
  • Developing cross-curricular skills (examples  autonomy, time management, sense of teamwork or collaboration, etc.)
  • Increased motivation (learners and teachers)
  • In some cases, a decrease in teaching costs


The majority of the schemes presented achieved at least one of these goals. Even so, the authors of the report make recommendations that they believe could further improve the quality of hybrid teaching arrangements at both the primary and secondary levels.

The most important of these recommendations has to do with increasing the autonomy of the online portion of teaching. At the moment, the latter is still conceived as a complement to face-to-face courses. In order to increase learner autonomy in their learning, it would be good to more clearly dissociate face-to-face and online courses. 

Teachers involved in these hybrid devices have also made recommendations. In order for them to become widespread, here is what they believe should be improved: 

  • Content: create more immersive content, taking advantage of research done on alternatives to traditional content;
  • Support: generalize the use of tablets;
  • Articulation of different functionalities: create ENTs that allow easier navigation between tasks and content;
  • Communication: create virtual meeting spaces to faciitate online group work, improve communication interfaces between teachers and learners;
  • Access: free connection for students belonging to low-income families, reduction of design and management costs, sometimes twice as high as the traditional teacher device for a class.


In conclusion, this American report paints a very interesting and contrasting picture of hybrid teaching devices in the United States, whose diversity shows that they are highly adaptable devices, allowing each school, region, state to translate its pedagogical choices, correlated with local policies and the specificities of learners. It is obviously in this diversity that lies the very strong potential of these devices, which combine traditional learning and information and communication technologies.

Report cites 40 diverse examples of blended learning, eSchool News, May 3, 2011.

The rise of K-12 blended learning: Profiles of emerging models, Heather Staker, May 2011, PDF, 184 p.

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