Is K-12 blended learning disruptive? An introduction to the theory of hybrids


by Clayton M. Christensen, Michael B. Horn, and Heather Staker

The Clayton Christensen Institute, formerly Innosight Institute, has published three papers describing the rise of K−12 blended learning—that is, formal education programs that combine online learning and brick-and-mortar schools. This fourth paper is the first to analyze blended learning through the lens of disruptive innovation theory to help people anticipate and plan for the likely effects of blended learning on the classrooms of today and schools of tomorrow. In the long term, the disruptive models of blended learning are on a path to becoming good enough to entice mainstream students from the existing system into the disruptive one in secondary schools. They introduce new benefits—or value propositions—that focus on providing individualization; universal access and equity; and productivity. Over time, as the disruptive models of blended learning improve, these new value propositions will be powerful enough to prevail over those of the traditional classroom.

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