The Key to Student Engagement

Blending technology and in-person instruction.

GUEST COLUMN | by Robin Winder and Jason Odom


Over the past few years, most of the conversation about online education has focused on an all-or-nothing approach, where online learning and in-person instruction are seen as independent from each other. However, they do not need to be mutually exclusive.

In fact, according to recent findings from the Clayton Christensen Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization dedicated to improving the world through Disruptive Innovation, roughly half of all teachers surveyed used some form of blended learning in the 2021-22 school year.

Additionally, when compared to traditional learning, 73% of educators believe blended learning has improved student engagement. The reason? Teachers are meeting students where they are by learning how they consume information and then developing instructional strategies to evolve with the way students are experiencing the world.

‘Teachers are meeting students where they are by learning how they consume information and then developing instructional strategies to evolve with the way students are experiencing the world.’

So, the question becomes, how do educators find the right mix of face-to-face and online instruction for their students? Does it mean that teachers need to learn TikTok dances to engage students? Not necessarily. Instead, it’s all about using technology strategically to engage students in their learning.

As former teachers that have transitioned into a school leadership role, we want to share what we’ve learned over the years. Here are four blended learning instructional strategies to help you maximize student learning and engage them where they are.

Instructional Approaches and Types

Before we get into the four strategies, let’s talk about instructional approaches and types.

Instructional approaches are whether students are learning face-to-face or online. Blended learning mixes these two, which can open endless possibilities for engagement in and out of the classroom.

Instructional types refer to how students engage with their learning, which is either on their own, otherwise known as asynchronous, or collaboratively, otherwise known as synchronous.

No matter the approach or type you choose, implementing a blended learning program will introduce a new way of thinking for many educators, so it’s important to know that there is no one size-fits-all-approach. You will need to modify and adapt teaching techniques depending on how your students are interacting.

Now, on to the four blended learning instructional strategies:

1. Face-to-Face Approach with Asynchronous Type

With this approach, teachers instruct students in person, and then after the lesson, students are given time to complete assignments on their own via their own device (laptop, cell phone, tablet, etc.). This works great for assessments, analyzing, problem-solving, and case studies – allowing students to go deeper with their learning so that they fully understand a concept.

A benefit of this approach is that while students are completing the assignment, if they have questions, they can raise their hand and a teacher can quickly assist.

2. Online Approach with Asynchronous Type

This instructional strategy allows students to learn lessons via virtual class time or independent study, engaging with concepts through asynchronous activities. We recommend assigned reading, interactive videos, comprehension checks, and quizzes/exams for this strategy.

This approach really allows students to go at their own pace. For example, if they understand a lesson and are ready to move on to the next, they can easily do so. Or, if a student needs more time understanding a concept, they can go back in the course and re-do assignments, working with their teacher one-on-one to personalize their learning.

3. Face-to-Face Approach with Synchronous Type

This instructional strategy has students learning concepts in-person, while collaborating with other students to develop deeper connections to their learning.

One blended learning classroom model that works best for this is station rotation. Station rotation allows students to rotate through stations on a fixed schedule with at least one of the stations having an online learning component. Often, the teacher will visit each station, offering one-on-one support and guidance.

For example, imagine a classroom of 20 students where the teacher splits students into four groups of five students. Group one is working on grammar practice in an online course, group two is practicing writing thesis statements on tablets, group three is discussing the themes in a novel they’re reading, and group four is collaborating on a project.

4. Online Approach with Synchronous Type

Teachers and students will interact and engage virtually through collaborative activities such as discussion boards, blogs, peer assessments, and live lessons. The best part of this instructional strategy is that it leverages the technology that students know and love, while still enabling them to connect with each other.

We hope these instructional strategies help you mix technology and in-person learning to engage your students and meet them where they are. The most important thing to remember is that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to blended learning, and it’s ok to experiment and find the mix that best fits your students’ needs.

Robin Winder is Executive Director of Instruction at FlexPoint Education Cloud, formerly Florida Virtual School (FLVS). Robin worked in various roles with the company for nearly 20 years. Before that she taught teachers in Orange County Public Schools. Jason Odom is Director of Instructional Models at Flexpoint. Jason has been with the company for neary 14 years and was an elementary and comes from a middle school math teacher background. Connect with Robin and Jason on LinkedIn.


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