When you first hear disruptive economics guru Clayton Christensen’s prediction that by 2019 half of all K-12 classes will be taught online, it’s easy to wonder if brick-and-mortar schools as we know them are on their way out.
But a new study released Thursday from his think tank, the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation, depicts a future of education, particularly at the elementary school level, that isn’t nearly as stark as that. The paper, which refines theories on blended learning Christensen and his colleagues have laid out in the book “Disrupting Class” and other studies, introduces the idea of hybrid innovation. While Christensen’s famous theory of innovation mostly focuses on disruptive and sustaining innovations, the new paper offers the concept of the hybrid.
Often, the researchers argue, sectors experiencing disruption go through an extended phase in which old and new technology exist side by side, providing “the best of both worlds.” In education, many approaches to blended learning, which combine online instruction with traditional classroom learning, fall into this hybrid category.