Call for articles – Special Issue of the Journal of Online Learning and Research

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As the implementation of blended learning environments grows, educators and decision-makers are increasingly asking what works, or what will work for their students. Blended learning is defined here as the integration of in-person learning and technology.

The existing research base on blended learning in K-12 settings is young (Ferdig & Kennedy, 2014). While there exists theoretical and empirical support for specific elements of blended environments, such as individualized instruction (Alexander & Murphy, 1998; Bloom, 1984; U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Technology, 2014; Vosnaidou, 2001), mastery learning (National Center on Universal Design for Learning, 2011), promoting transfer through varying context and representations (National Research Council, 2000), and formative assessment (Pashler et al., 2007); combinations of these elements in vivo currently have limited theoretical and descriptive evidence to support their effectiveness.

There is much still to be learned about if, when, and how blended learning is effectively implemented in K-12 classrooms. In order to better understand what might constitute evidence-based practice, measures of implementation need to be more explicit and detailed, so that we understand what is being measured and how it may differ from other learning environments. Studies that focus on teaching and learning, either as pedagogical strategies, or as instructional decisions, as the key element of blending learning will contribute evidence that is more actionable in the field. If effective practices are to make it into classrooms, published research studies need to address both theoretical and practical gaps in existing knowledge, clarify what the implications of findings, along with the extent to which the findings are generalizable. Existing gaps in knowledge include a need to better understand the contexts under which, and the constituents for whom blending learning might be differentially effective. This special issue seeks submissions that achieve the above aims.


Suggested topics related to K-12 blended learning include — but are not limited to:

  • Measures of blended learning environments that focus on teaching and learning practices (fidelity measures, observation rubrics, etc.)
  • The development and validation of measures of new constructs (e.g., SEL, mindset, grit), or for new uses (e.g., as comparative outcome measures, etc.)
  • The aspects of implementation, if any, that are central to effectiveness, including the validity of mastery-based, competency-based or learning progressions
  • The conditions (e.g., content areas, blended models) under which implementation is most or least likely to be effective
  • The students for whom implementation is most or least likely to be effective
  • The educators for whom implementation is most or least likely to be effective
  • Crucial questions of practice, preferably identified by practitioners (educators, decision-makers, and implementers)
  • The various activities (student-focused, teacher-focused, data-focused, and infrastructural) required for implementation
  • The potential academic and non-academic student outcomes and impacts of implementation
  • The potential teacher outcomes and impacts of implementation
  • Evidence-based practices for supporting practitioners in aligning measurement questions and activities with implementation objectives
  • Evidence-based practices for supporting practitioners in identifying and using relevant, existing data to measure implementation
  • Evidence-based practices for supporting practitioners in identifying appropriate comparison groups to contextualize their results
  • Evidence-based practices for supporting practitioners in selecting reliable, valid measures that are appropriate for their measurement purposes
  • The extent to which we mean the same things when we use the same terms and language across disciplines, sites, and areas of expertise

Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods research articles are welcome. Research should be grounded in the existing literature and/or theoretical frameworks.

Submission Guidelines

Please submit manuscripts directly through the AACE Publications submission link below:

Do not send manuscripts to the Guest Editor. The manuscripts must go through a double-blind review process. Please note that contributors may also be requested to serve as reviewers for this project. Authors are encouraged to contact the Guest Editor to propose an idea for submission to ensure the appropriateness of the proposed study for this venue.


Deadline for Submissions: September 12, 2016
Authors informed of decisions: October 24, 2016
Anticipated special issue publication: March 2017

Guest Editor

Dr. Sarojani S. Mohammed
[email protected]


Alexander, P. A. & Murphy, P. K. (1998). The research base for APA’s learner-centered psychological principles. In N. M. Lambert & B. L. McCombs (Eds), How students learn: Reforming schools through learner-centered education. (pp. 25-60). Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.

Bloom, B. S. (1984). The 2 sigma problem: The search for methods of group instruction as effective as one-to-one tutoring. Educational Researcher, 13(6), 4–16.

Ferdig, R.E. & Kennedy, K. (2014). Handbook of Research on K-12 Online and Blended Learning. ETC Press.

National Center on Universal Design for Learning (2011). Universal Design for Learning guidelines – version 2.0: Research evidence. Retrieved from

National Research Council. (2000). How people learn. Retrieved from National Academy Press website:

Pashler, H., Bain, P., Bottge, B., Graesser, A., Koedinger, K., McDaniel, M., and Metcalfe, J. (2007). Organizing Instruction and Study to Improve Student Learning (NCER 2007-2004). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Research, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved from

U.S. Department of Education, Office of Education Technology (2014). Learning Technology Effectiveness. Retrieved from

Vosniadou, S. (2001). How children learn (Educational practices series–7). Retrieved from UNESCO International Academy of Education, International Bureau of Education website:

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Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute

The Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute (MVLRI) is a non-biased organization that exists to expand Michigan’s ability to support new learning models, engage in active research to inform new policies in online and blended learning, and strengthen the state’s infrastructures for sharing best practices. MVLRI works with all online learning environments to develop the best practices for the industry as a whole.

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