A Guide to Hybrid Learning

Author: Tyler Cox

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There’s no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on the way education is delivered. Once it became clear the pandemic would spread across the country, schools dropped face-to-face classes in favor of online-only instruction.

 

And while face-to-face instruction is beginning to resume, there’s one model of education delivery that is gaining in popularity: Hybrid learning. 

 

WHAT IS HYBRID LEARNING?

 

Under a hybrid learning model, instruction is delivered via a combination of in-person and virtual classes. Hybrid learning combines traditional classroom experiences, experiential learning objectives, and digital course delivery, emphasizing the best method for each learning objective.

 

Although the terms hybrid learning and blended learning are often used interchangeably, they’re not the same. Still, the differences can be confusing. In a blended learning environment, online learning serves as a complement to face-to-face classes, with online resources such as videos and articles supplementing the in-person sessions. 

 

With hybrid learning, on the other hand, online learning replaces elements of the face-to-face class. In addition, in a hybrid learning environment, teachers may deliver instruction to students both in the classroom and those attending remotely.

 

For students, the benefits of hybrid instruction include:

  • Access to a variety of instructional materials that appeal to different learning styles.

  • The flexibility to participate in classes in the manner which suits them best.

  • The ability to rewatch recorded lectures to capture points they may have missed the first time.

 

For instructors, benefits include the ability to re-use digital materials and personalize instruction to match the needs of individual students.

 

HYBRID LEARNING EXAMPLES

 

Hybrid learning examples might include a public speaking class where students read an online textbook or watch example videos on their own time, attend lectures either in person or online, and come to campus for face-to-face sessions to deliver presentations. An art history class in a hybrid learning format might include virtual tours of museums that can be viewed at a student’s leisure, on-campus exams, and online and face-to-face discussions of influential artists and their work.

 

ENSURING A SUCCESSFUL HYBRID APPROACH

At the beginning of the pandemic, online and hybrid learning might have been considered either a temporary solution or a relatively minor component of a school’s instructional offerings. As the pandemic begins to fade, though, it appears that these instructional formats will be around for the long haul. Even as schools resume face-to-face instruction, many continue to offer students the option to participate in hybrid classes.

 

With that in mind, there are steps instructors can take to ensure their hybrid learning courses are a success.

First, make sure you match different aspects of the course with the right modality for delivery. Face-to-face sessions work best for components such as individual presentations and coaching sessions. A combination of face-to-face and live remote sessions are best suited for lectures and Q & A sessions, while quizzes, peer reviews, and viewing of articles and videos are best done in asynchronous online sessions, where students complete assignments at their convenience.

 

Second, make sure you have the right technology. Even the most fascinating lecture will fall flat without the right classroom audio. Since some of the planning and instruction you’ll be accomplishing will take place from your home office, make sure you have the right tools to work remotely. That includes good lighting, a comfortable chair, and proper online teaching tools like virtual whiteboards and video chat software.

 

And since it’s also crucial that students have the tools that enable them to participate effectively and without interruption, keep the materials you incorporate into your program simple. It may be beneficial to test out your class on an older computer, if for no other reason than to ensure you’re not inadvertently falling into the “digital divide” and shutting out some students. Instead of requiring students to purchase a textbook, for example, search for open-source instructional materials and instead suggest a list of work from home tools that students consider buying instead.

 

The face of education has changed, and technology is at the heart of those changes. Learn more about how Yamaha UC is helping provide the right technology for today’s classroom by visiting our Education Audio Solutions page.