The Learning Accelerator Blog/The Learning Accelerator’s Next Phase Of Blended Learning Work

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The Learning Accelerator’s Next Phase Of Blended Learning Work

by on March 19 2016

Beth Rabbitt named CEO; New focus on personalization, data use, and competency-based progression

Cupertino, CA — March 18, 2016 — The Learning Accelerator (TLA), a nonprofit dedicated to catalyzing blended learning across the nation, today announced that its next phase of work will focus on clarifying exactly how blended learning happens in the classroom to enable personalization, data use, and competency-based progression. TLA Partner Beth Rabbitt will lead this work as CEO, replacing founding CEO Scott Ellis. Ellis will remain on the TLA board of directors and will continue to work with TLA, focusing primarily on developing tools for competency-based education.

“When TLA began over three years ago, there were pockets of early blended innovation, but efforts to support greater work across the nation were scattered,” said founding board member Gisele Huff. “The progress since that time has been tremendous, and TLA has been extremely effective because it remains laser focused on what is needed in the ecosystem to achieve the mission. The time is right to shift focus specifically to the classroom level, where TLA can add distinctive value to ensure all students benefit.”

TLA Path Forward

TLA believes the greatest barrier, and unmet need, the sector now faces for transforming education at scale is the lack of clarity about exactly how blended learning happens in the classroom to enable personalization, data use, and competency-based progression.

“With so much great work happening in classrooms all across the country, there’s clear opportunity to move our conversations about blended and personalized learning from theory to practice,” said Beth Rabbitt. “We believe TLA can shine a light on and openly share the lessons being learned to help educators and support organizations move more quickly together to transform teaching and learning for every student.”

Given this, TLA’s work moving forward will focus more sharply on the following areas:

  • TLA’s Vision of Blended Learning: capturing specifically how teaching and learning change in blended environments, which will include deepening our efforts to identify key practices essential to creating blended learning classrooms with personalization, real-time data use, and competency-based progression.
  • Measurement: catalyzing rigorous measurement of blended learning, which will be critical to understanding impacts and effectiveness as the quality of implementation improves.
  • Human Capital: continuing to focus on how to provide effective supports and structures to help educators and leaders make the shift to blended learning.
  • Knowledge and Tool Dissemination: continuing to capture, codify, and broadly share our existing and future actionable and open knowledge to support blended efforts.

TLA Incubation Initiatives

TLA has successfully incubated efforts around Open Education Resources and edTech device procurement. TLA will continue to support the K-12 OER Collaborative and the Technology for Education Consortium moving forward. In addition, further work needs to be done to clarify exactly how competency-based learning works, particularly its definition, tools, and enablers for scale. Scott Ellis will focus on this work, including efforts to develop open source tools like MasteryTrack and Open Learning Objectives. TLA believes that this area of work requires dedicated leadership, focus, and innovation, and may eventually justify an independent organization in order to achieve impact at scale.

"We are incredibly proud of the work we have been able to help facilitate with OER and edTech purchasing and we plan to continue full steam ahead with those efforts," explained TLA President Joe Wolf. "We see competency-based education tools as another critical incubation opportunity and look forward to Scott Ellis' leadership in this role."

Scott Ellis added, “For me personally, I am passionate about how competency-based learning happens in the classroom, and I want to focus on the tools necessary to make this happen. Incubating this work at TLA right now is a natural fit with TLA’s continuing mission to share knowledge with the entire sector so we all learn and move forward together.”

TLA Leadership Transitions

To address this next phase of work, TLA will implement the following changes, effective immediately:

  • Scott Ellis, founding CEO of TLA, will transition to focus exclusively on the definition, scaling, and tools of competency-based education as a separate area of work within TLA. This entity will be incubated within TLA as Ellis determines a path forward for the work, similar to how TLA has incubated other new initiatives in the ecosystem. Ellis will remain on the TLA board.
  • Beth Rabbitt, current TLA partner and the leader of TLA’s blended learning vision and human capital work, will be stepping into the role of CEO to lead the organization in its next phase.

“I hired Beth Rabbitt because of her expertise in blended learning and human capital and she has been a great leader and colleague on our team since the beginning,” said Ellis. “Beth’s experience, knowledge, and network will make her an exceptional CEO in our organization’s next phase and she will be an inspiration for all of us as we work to fulfill our mission.”

For more information, contact Kira Keane, Partner at The Learning Accelerator, at [email protected], 415.860.5880

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