#22 – Empower Students by Allowing Them Control of Pace, Place, Path, and Time in Blended Learning

Unpacking Education January 13, 2021 21 min

At its core, blended learning is learning that takes place partially in a face-to-face, brick-and-mortar setting and partially in a virtual, online setting. Blended learning leans on the ideas that both face-to-face and online learning offer significant benefits and that the blended-learning teacher will draw upon the advantages of each option. During the time of pandemic learning, teachers are incorporating best practices from blended learning to empower students to become the owners of their learning process.

Join our Digital Learning Specialists as they unpack the definition of blended learning and explore the concepts of pace, place, path, and time, as well as the role of student control to provide them voice and choice throughout the process.

Below, you will find resources and tips shared during the podcast.

Paul Beckermann
PreK-12 Digital Learning Specialist
Rena Clark
Digital Learning Coach
Pamela Beckermann
PreK-12 Digital Learning Specialist

Technology will not replace great teachers, but technology in the hands of great teachers can be transformational.

George Couros, educator and author


In this week’s episode, we discuss the following strategies and resources that are available on AVID Open Access for you to explore in more depth.

Getting Started

COVID-19 has required districts, schools, and teachers to be very creative in meeting the needs of their students. While it hasn’t been easy, educators have risen to the challenge, remaking an entire educational system almost overnight. In the process, much of this innovation has drawn from the best practices of blended learning.

Components of Blended Learning

The definition of blended learning is a formal education program in which:

  1. A student learns at least in part through online learning, with some element of student control over pace, place, path, and/or time.
  2. A student learns at least in part in a supervised brick-and-mortar location away from home.
  3. The modalities along each student’s learning path within a course or subject are connected to provide an integrated learning experience.

Student Control of Pace, Place, Path, and Time

  • Pace: Students move through content at the pace that is best for them. This doesn’t mean that there is no due date, but it does mean that students have flexibility for how long they spend on certain content. Students who are advanced don’t need to wait for others, and students who need a little more time can take it since they are not confined to bells or class periods. Varied pace can be a great way to differentiate in a blended classroom.
  • Place: Students decide where they will complete their lessons. When students are not in their physical classrooms, they can complete their work anywhere they have access to the internet.
  • Path: This might be the most empowering component of the four. Students choose “how” they will learn the content. This may take a bit more planning on the teacher’s part, but it can allow students to truly learn in the way that works best for them. Sometimes, this means working alone or with a partner. Other times, it means choosing the medium for the content (text, video, audio, etc.). Still other times, it may allow students to develop their own path via the inquiry process. One popular method for differentiating this path is to offer a choice board where students need to choose one learning activity from each column. This ensures that they complete the necessary components of the lesson while also giving them choice.
  • Time: Students can decide when they will complete their lessons. That does not mean that there are no deadlines, but it does mean that students can choose when to do their work in the time frame outlined, as long as it’s finished by the due date. While this flexibility is empowering, many students benefit by establishing a routine for doing their work, completing it at a self-scheduled time each day.