What Does Hybrid Learning Mean for Higher Education?

The higher education sector will never be the same after the COVID-19 crisis. However, educational institutions don’t have to equate change with a low enrollment rate. In a post COVID-19 world, colleges and universities shouldn’t abandon online learning initiatives.

Of course, the main focus is to go back to conventional in-person classes. But at the same time, academic institutions want to maintain an online learning system for students. And this is where the hybrid model for the education sector can do wonders for the education sector.

For instance, hybrid classes can create more engagement and lead to more meaningful discussions about the topics. It would also help colleges and universities to get more comprehensive feedback from the students.

What Exactly Is Hybrid Learning?

Hybrid learning refers to an academic model that allows students to take online classes from home and as well as attend in-person classes. Educators believe that it is a much more flexible model than traditional models. It allows teachers to teach in a remote environment through dedicated video conferencing tools.

In the same manner, educators conduct in-person classes to cover specific topics and online exercises. The truth is that some topics require face-to-face interaction and support. But a combined approach of in-person classes and remote learning makes the learning process smoother and convenient for students.

What is the Secret to Roll Out Hybrid Model Successfully?

When it comes to the hybrid learning model, the key is to avoid generalization. And that’s because every academic institution has its own culture and standards. For instance, a college campus can adopt a 90/10 hybrid model or 50/50 hybrid learning model.

Ultimately, it comes down to the needs of the college and learner. If you want to adopt a hybrid learning model, you will have to focus on “your” hybrid learning elements and adjust the learning format as per your needs. Also, the hybrid learning approach revolves around more than one format. It depends on the teacher’s expectations, course outline, and nature of the content.

Hybrid and Blended Learning Models are Different

Academic institutions shouldn’t confuse the hybrid learning model with old school blended learning. Both have several similar instructional factors, but function as separate learning models. Unlike hybrid learning, blended learning doesn’t take place in real-time and students watch recorded instructional videos.

Hybrid Learning Model Benefits for Higher Education

  • Synchronized Communication

In-person educational discussions are not as synchronized as online. But when you combine the two approaches, the real-time flexibility and continuous engagement create a synchronized communication between students and teachers.

  • High Degree of Flexibility

One of the perks of implementing a hybrid learning model is the added flexibility for students and teachers. Educators can outline more flexible schedules, engage via various communication modes, and help out other instructors and peers.

  •  Utilize Resources Efficiently

The hybrid model makes the schedule and syllabus clear to students and that means students don’t have to waste resources and time on extraneous activities. In fact, when students learn through a remote environment and traditional in-person classes, it teaches students to plan and manage resources better.

  •  Freedom to Explore Independent Learning Opportunities

Online learning offers more freedom to students to excel at academic activities. It also allows students to master self-management learning skills. With the hybrid learning model, students get the chance to consume more material at their own pace. It is a perfect mechanism that helps students to retain information much longer and contextualize topics in-depth.

How Educational Institutions Can Create a Robust and Reliable Hybrid Learning Model

  •  Set Your Annual or Semester Goals

Before you adopt a hybrid learning model, figure out what you want to accomplish in a year or semester. You can start with short-term goals that will help you set your expectations straight. Once you determine semester or annual academic objectives, evaluate the structure of the course.

  • Map Out the Details

Your next course of action is to map out every single detail of the hybrid learning model.  Essentially, you’re trying to navigate the classroom in-person and online. You can create a table, chart, and timeframe to outline course modules and other activities in ascending order. You should also map out your course details visually and look for any gaps.

  • Hybrid Model Separation Stage

At this point, you have to figure out your course objectives that would work better for in-person sessions.  Similarly, establish the remote part of your college course. Make sure you adopt a balanced hybrid learning model.

In any case, make sure to synchronize group sessions, communicate individual expectations and responsibilities, establish a collaborative learning environment, and offer feedback to new and existing students without delay. Just should also make the content accessible online to avoid issues later on.

  • Start Your Hybrid Learning Model

There is no such thing as “permanent” in higher education. So, don’t hesitate to try out a hybrid learning model rather than presume it won’t work for your educational institution. Once you create an impressive hybrid learning model, your next priority would shift to the maintenance of that hybrid model.

The truth is that you will need a reliable and talented IT team to help educators and students resolve common network, software, hardware, and communication issues. Your responsive mechanism has to be fluid, accessible, and instant to maintain a successful hybrid learning model for a long time.

You can ask former students for feedback and current students about ideas that would improve the new hybrid model in place. So long as you create and implement a hybrid learning model, you can continue to make adjustments and improve its functional aspects. Focus on the gray areas of your hybrid strategy and use technologies that would make the online and in-person sessions synchronized.

Before college and universities adopt and embrace a hybrid learning mode, they can check out successful hybrid learning communities across the globe. During the pandemic crisis, educators and students endured a lot of frustration and felt stuck.

With the roll out of vaccination, the impact of COVID-19 has started to slow down. And if you intend to try a hybrid learning model, make sure to provide your students with basic time management guidelines. Similarly, make sure students are aware of the separate in-person classes. Education institutions should also connect their students to the IT team to resolve common technical issues.

The hybrid learning model offers a ubiquitous and fulfilling learning experience to students. Plus, it allows educators to demonstrate their skills, knowledge, and wisdom and set a good example for the young generation. Just like the modern workforce, the education sector can embrace the hybrid model to create the best learning environment.

REFERENCES:

  1. https://ethinkeducation.com/blog/what-is-hybrid-learning-how-to-implement-a-hybrid-learning-strategy/
  2. https://www.codlearningtech.org/PDF/hybridteachingworkbook.pdf
  1. https://teaching.cornell.edu/resource/getting-started-designing-hybrid-learning-course
  2. https://globalonlineacademy.org/insights/articles/16-hybrid-learning-tips-by-and-for-teachers
  3. https://learningforward.org/2021/01/21/how-we-can-improve-hybrid-learning-right-now/

https://education.microsoft.com/en-us/learningPath/11ccca9f/course/218c22a7/8

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