The remarkable theory of blended learning or ‘hybrid’ model of learning has been in existence over the last decade, but it got its share of the spotlight in the last year specifically. This occurred primarily due to the unprecedented global crisis brought about by the ghastly COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 definitely accomplished the unimaginable. It compelled educational institutions and professors to evaluate ‘online’ as an alternative in imparting education. Numerous researches were conducted in the process. Innumerable methods of online learning were tested and evaluated. The most successful and actionable approaches were zeroed-in. Hybrid learning turned out to be one such exemplary approach.
As a matter of fact, as per a survey of The Chronicle Of Higher Education that collected reopening data from more than 3000 institutions, 15% of surveyed schools are incorporating a hybrid learning approach to the upcoming school year. 25% are planning on in-person instruction, whereas more than 25% are reopening in a primarily online setting.
Having said that, in today’s post, let’s take a closer look at the hybrid learning model, how does it work, how it differs from other learning models, what benefits it provide to other students, and how it contributes toward making online education an ideal learning experience.
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Hybrid Learning: A Brief Overview
Hybrid learning refers to a specific educational model where some students attend class-in-person and others join virtually from the comfort of their home. Teachers and educators teach remote and in-person students at the same time with the aid of exemplary tools like video conferencing hardware and software.
In certain cases, hybrid classes incorporate asynchronous learning elements, like online exercises and pre-recorded video instructions. These are conducted to support face-to-face classroom sessions. Know that when planned properly, a hybrid form of learning combines the best aspects of in-person and online learning while making education more accessible for most students.
The hybrid learning tools include but are not limited to-
- Learning management systems
- Video conferencing
- Online exercises
- Video tutorials
- Online discussion forums on recent education technology applications like paraphrasing tools and more.
Hybrid And Blended Learning: The Difference
Hybrid learning and blended learning are well-renowned terms that are usually used interchangeably to explain the mix of online and in-person education.
The main differentiator between both is the close relationship between in-person and online learning. The in-person classes are complemented by online learning in an efficient blended learning environment. Additional resources like articles, podcasts, videos, etc., are meant to improve in-person classes and create an enriched experience.
But, in a hybrid learning model, online learning implies replacing an element of an in-person class. In such kind of environment, asynchronous teaching methods supplement synchronous, face-to-face instruction. The online materials are an alternative to in-person material. They are only meant to bring flexibility to the learning experience.
5 Vital Benefits Of Hybrid Learning
Hybrid learning combines the benefits of personalization powerfully with convenience to provide students with a learning environment that is best suited to address the changing requirements of students in the recent era.
Below we have listed some unique advantages of the hybrid model of learning-
- Personalized Learning
The hybrid model makes it possible for every student to learn at a pace that seems comfortable to them, thus increasing retention. They can take part in various synchronous and asynchronous learning activities that are aligned to their learning styles. This helps them in gaining a profound understanding of the subject matter.
With the aid of a hybrid learning model, students can select the learning method that works the best for them based on their schedule, stages in their degree programs, and even their learning style. This flexibility means increased attendance and active participation in the classes.
Excellent Opportunities of Synchronous Communication
There are few learning experiences in the present era that match the immediacy and intimacy of in-person academic discussions. The face-to-face feature of hybrid learning gains an advantage from the opportunity for real-time engagement between peers.
Educators should take the benefits of the in-person time they have together to form meaningful academic relationships and then take those online.
Schedules and learning methods aren’t the only flexible aspects of hybrid learning programs. It offers the opportunity for flexible tuition, too. Since students have access to a combination of in-person and online courses, it only makes sense if they have the tuition with the same kind of fluidity. Thus, hybrid learning models turn out to be more affordable than traditional in-person education.
Online learning comes with numerous freedoms. Those students who excel at independent learning and self-management will always thrive under these freedoms. They can revisit the material repeatedly if they cannot comprehend it fully, or they can plunge deeper into a topic of particular interest. Also, they have access to platforms to initiate conversations in their own time with instructors and peers.
5 Impeccable Ways To Create A Successful Hybrid Learning Environment
Set Semester Goals
To create a successful hybrid learning environment, educators need to consider what they plan to accomplish with their hybrid class. When they set short and long-term goals for the class and themselves, they can explain their key expectations to the students with ease.
They are also required to determine these goals and their corresponding assignments and then work backward to structure the rest of the course. This backtracking from the end of the semester to the first session will ensure that all the materials serve their course directly.
Assess Course Objectives That Are Best Implemented As In-Person Activities
Once the educators are done identifying what their course will look like, it’s time to factor in the hybrid element. They can allocate face-to-face class time for activities like-
- Brainstorming sessions of synchronous groups
- Communicating the class expectations and outlining the individual responsibilities
- Call and response presentations
- Offering immediate feedback to students
Determine The Online Section Of The Course
If you look closely, you will notice that one main element of your hybrid element that is not mentioned in the face-to-face segment is information delivery. While in-person time is completely allocated to the synchronous and group discussions, the major portion of personal assignments will be completed virtually. Further, the other activities that constitute the online portion of the hybrid class can incorporate–
- Self-paced learning and activity completion
- Automatic grading programs like multiple choice of True/False quiz sessions
- Written critical analysis and thoughtful discourse
- Video or oral content
Create And Source Content
Once the modules of the course are mapped out, it is required to create and source the content that will be used by the students. Now, the teachers and professors are required to craft assignments, find necessary reading materials, source the video content, and finalize the syllabus.
Offer The Hybrid Learning Plan A Trial Run
Now that you have created a successful learning environment, the only thing left to do is a trial run of the online portion of the course. This is crucial if you want your course to be smooth and accessible without facing any technology shockers in the process. Try to borrow an extra set of eyes, as those unfamiliar with the course will be more likely to spot the grey areas.
Hybrid learning will remain an integral part of a holistic education approach as educational technologies continue to grow and evolve. While hybrid learning has been more of an emergency measure in the past, it is likely to become mainstays of teaching and learning in the years to come.
While traditional in-person teaching will remain a vital part of education for the foreseeable future, we now see the need to open up multiple channels to respond to extreme conditions like a global disaster and the day-to-day interruptions of effective education. Hybrid learning not only offers students a greater degree of flexibility and freedom to choose how to learn, but it can also expand access to education too. It sought to remove the existing barriers to ensure students get the absolute most out of their studies.
Karen Hamada is a brilliant education consultant and an active blogger. She has designed various exemplary tools for an eminent academic writing service, MyAssignmnethelp.com, like APA referencing generator. Karen loves to share her knowledge with aspiring bloggers on recent educational trends, educational technologies, best tools of the recent era like word counter and the likes.