The Blended Learning Ecosystem: Taking Control And Orchestrating Learning Pathways

Ebba picContributed by: Ebba Ossiannilsson, Vice President of the Swedish Association for Distance Education, Vice President of the Swedish Association for e-competence, ICDE OER Advocacy Committee, ICDE Focal Points of Quality, ICDE_ON_BOLDIC, EDEN EC, EDEN Fellow, EDEN SIG on TEL Quality Enhancement, Open Education Europa Fellow and Ambassador.


During the 27TH ICDE World Conference, 16-19 October 2017, Toronto, Canada, ICDE will be releasing the third installment of its ICDE Insight Papers Series. 

Ebba Ossiannilsson, author of the ICDE Insight Paper provides an overview of what readers can expect from this publication. 

This ICDE Insight Paper on blended learning, state of the nation, targets a broad audience, especially practitioners, policy makers and leaders. It provides awareness, inspiration, insights, and dialogues into blended learning and the current debates. The report explains that blended learning is based on a pedagogical approach rather than on technology.

Blended learning involves people as learners, teachers, administrators, technicians, leaders, and managers with a variety of aspirations and ambitions. Clearly, there is a renewed focus on quality, and the blended learning approach is worthy of consideration.

What is Blended Learning?

Numerous definitions have emerged during the last 20 years, demonstrating the wide-ranging nature of the concept, its socio-cultural influences, and its flexible interpretations. Blended learning is part of the innovative transformation of education in the 21st century.

Blended learning embraces personal quality learning. This widely recognized and personalizable method engages, facilitates, and supports learning. UNESCO and the Commonwealth of Learning emphasize this approach, as it makes learning more flexible and convenient. This will help students be part of a global digital society.

The blended learning model requires changes in the roles of both teachers and learners. These changes are accompanied by shifts in ownership and empowerment, where learners become prosumers and orchestrate their own learning regarding time, place, setting, path, and pace. A common model is pictured below.

ebba 2

To adapt to current trends and contexts, blended learning models must be flexible, and agile. One framework is by the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNOCOL). The below graphic describes how engaging, efficient, and effective learning starts with specific mindsets.

Ebba 1

A set of recommendations for blended learning are given in this ICDE Insight paper:

  1. Success is based on people.
  2. Promote the ownership of learning.
  3. Ensure that strategies, funding, and visions are understandable to all.
  4. Implement a culture of smart learning, open pedagogy, and mobile learning.
  5. Enable ubiquitous learning, time (anytime), space (anywhere), path, mode, and access.
  6. Apply the UNESCO Bangkok and the Education University of Hong Kong recommendations.
  7. Apply the iNOCOL framework of blended learning.
  8. Support and facilitate capacity building, incentives, and recognition in all staff.
  9. Cultivate a culture of quality and an ecology of blended learning.
  10. Encompass digitization throughout the curricula and assessments, including finding, evaluating, creating, disseminating, and communicating.
  11. Ensure that blended learning concerns all stakeholders at micro, meso, and macro levels.
  12. Ensure that leadership and management at all levels support and facilitate the culture and quality of blended learning.
  13. Conduct research that focuses on blended learning per se not only in comparison with other teaching and learning models.

Where you come in?

Please discuss the possibilities and ask any questions necessary to improve your understanding. I look forward to your comments and involvement in this movement.

Ebba Ossiannilsson

6 thoughts on “The Blended Learning Ecosystem: Taking Control And Orchestrating Learning Pathways

  1. Hi Ebba
    I enjoyed this article, you have concisely described my classroom in your illustration thankyou!
    I struggle to gain acceptance from the industry which hurts my confidence in my methods and so I’m forced to train myself in VR.
    Not sure if that will put me completely Online but this industry hasn’t accepted me or my methods though the result speaks to successful students, your thoughts
    Warm regards,

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Congratulations, Ebba, on this paper. I shall read with interest.
    I did notice one typo in your blog. The abbreviation for the International Association for K-12 Online Learning is iNACOL. They are a very interesting organisation with whom we used to collaborate on our studies of virtual schools. They are leading the way in competency-based learning.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Ebba
    Thank you, it’s very useful for our educators too
    We’re interested in your best examples and expieriences
    Regards, Tatyana


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