Hybrid Online Education: Identifying Integration Models Using Adventure Learning

Fall 2008

Source: Journal of Research on Technology in Education. Vol. 41, Iss. 1; Fall 2008 p. 23-42.

In this paper, the authors sought to understand how teachers chose to integrate a hybrid online education program in their classrooms, how students responded to this choice, and how students' experiences were influenced by the integration model chosen by the teachers.


This study is informed by five teachers and 123 students in three public elementary schools in a large Midwestern city. These individuals used the GoNorth! 2006 AL program in their third, fourth, and fifth grade classrooms during the 2005-2006 academic year.

Data collected via classroom observations, personal interviews, and focus groups suggest four integration models: curriculum-based, activities-based, standards-based, and media-based.
The authors discuss these models in the context of hybrid online education and particularly in adventure learning.


(a) teachers integrated the AL program in their classrooms in varied ways,
(b) students reported different experiences under each integration model,
(c) collaboration among teachers within the same school enhanced teacher and student
     participation and experiences,
and (d) specific features of the online environment were used in all classrooms regardless
            of integration model.
These lessons allow the authors to draw three implications for the design, development, implementation, and integration of AL environments in particular and hybrid online education programs in general.

Implications and Recommendations
Flexible Curriculum and Online Learning Environment

The AL curriculum and the online learning environment used in this study were flexible to accommodate the needs of every teacher who used them.

Support Structures are Important

Designers should readily evaluate those features of a curriculum or learning environment that are instrumental in determining if and how social collaboration and interaction within a program take place (Doering, Miller, & Veletsianos, in press).

Popular Features of the Learning Environment

Naturally, a large-scale program has an abundance of features. Some of those may be used more than others. If designers and researchers examine the features of hybrid online education programs that are used most frequently by users, they may be able to realize what are the specific aspects that motivate users to return to use a learning environment.

Doering, A., Miller, C., & Veletsianos, G. (in press). Adventure learning: Educational, social, and technological affordances for collaborative hybrid distance education. Quarterly Review of Distance Education.

Updated: Nov. 17, 2008