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What is a hybrid education? Difference between hybrid and blended learning

October 27, 2021
Alina Krukova

Alina Krukova

Categories: Reviews

hybrid education
The use of educational technology has given rise to a new type of student, the digital native. Digital natives are students who have grown up using technology and are comfortable using it for learning. They are used to getting information from a variety of sources and prefer to learn in an interactive environment.

The use of educational technology has also led to the development of new teaching methods, such as blended learning and flipped classrooms. Blended learning is a teaching method that combines online and face-to-face learning. Flipped classrooms are classrooms in which the traditional learning model is reversed. Students watch lectures and complete homework assignments online, and then use class time to ask questions and work on projects.

What is hybrid learning?

Hybrid learning is a sophisticated combination of both in-person and online learning. This model combines traditional in-class experience and the use of multimedia materials shared online. Students can access materials like lectures, readings, and discussion boards at any time, making it possible to learn at their own pace. Hybrid learning can be especially useful for students who need more time to process information or for those who want to get more out of their in-person class sessions.

The virtual elements of the hybrid learning should be complementary to the in-person ones. The advantages of this way of learning can include closer interaction between peers, greater involvement in educational courses, a more flexible schedule, and an interactive learning experience. Utilizing a course template can help structure the learning journey and ensure smooth integration of both online and offline components.

Some disadvantages of hybrid learning include the potential for isolation, the need for reliable technology, and the challenge of maintaining focus. These minor issues are relatively common whether you are pursuing a hybrid degree or an online masters degree, but they are mitigated easily with a bit of discipline and organizational skills. (As an example of a Caribbean medical school)

How does hybrid learning work?

Hybrid learning offers a dynamic and adaptable approach to education that combines the advantages of in-person interaction with the convenience and flexibility of online learning. Here’s a deeper dive into how this model functions:

Flexible education and convenience

For students unable to attend physical classes, hybrid learning allows remote study, enabling them to listen to podcasts, recorded lectures, and online discussions. Hybrid learning ensures that education can happen anytime, anywhere, catering to students with geographical constraints. Because of its flexibility that has increased the number of home-schooled students up to 4.3 million.

Institutions can engage

Time and cost savings

The use of e-learning software in hybrid learning can significantly ease the burden of traveling to physical campuses, with both financial and time benefits. Students can save significantly by avoiding costs associated with daily or weekly transportation, such as fuel costs, parking fees, and public transportation. In addition, time spent traveling can be refocused on more productive pursuits, including additional study, work, or personal activities. You can even use a receipt generator to provide cost savings for your students when they do their taxes. For example, freelancers can take money off their education costs (proven via a receipt) if it has anything to do with their business.

Effective resource management

Hybrid learning optimizes teaching resources. Teachers can divide students into smaller groups, allowing better space management and accommodating more students in smaller classes. EdTech tools streamline the creation of course materials, reducing teachers’ workload. The blend of in-person and online learning means courses can be attended in both ways.

Personalized learning paths and enhanced engagement

Hybrid learning allows for a more personalized learning experience. Students can study remotely at their own pace, revisit challenging concepts, or explore additional resources online. While in-person interactions foster community and collaborative learning, online components with multimedia elements cater to diverse learning styles, ensuring better engagement.

Utilization of modern tools

Most hybrid models use Learning Management Systems (LMS) like Moodle, factoHR, Cypher Learning, Blackboard, GoSkills or Canvas. The integration of advanced SAAS LMS systems into these models can significantly enhance the learning experience, offering more streamlined and efficient management of educational resources. These platforms help educators organize content, track progress, and facilitate discussions. They also offer analytics to pinpoint areas where students might need additional support.

Preparation for the future

Hybrid learning prepares students for modern workplaces by incorporating the use of digital tools like QR codes, email attachments, feedback surveys, text-to-speech which enhances their ability to quickly access and share information, fosters engagement with interactive learning materials, and cultivates adaptability in navigating technology-rich environments.

What is blended learning?

Blended learning means an educational method in which the student/scholar learns both individually online and with a teacher. This approach allows you to control the time, place and pace of learning a material. Because in-person learning provides obvious important verbal and sociocultural skills, blended learning combines traditional methods with modern information technology.

Thus, blended education becomes an approach that educational institutions can apply “here and now” actualizing an educational process. Here are a few benefits of blended learning:

  • Convenient for everyone. Blended learning accommodates all types of learners, whether they prefer the well-known traditional classroom, want to learn online, or are trying a combination of both.
  • Efficient allocation of resources. This training model helps you plan your time by scheduling meetings and hands-on activities in both virtual and in-person formats. helps you planThe basic principle: save time, effort, and money, but get maximum efficiency from the meeting.
  • Individual approach. It is possible for a teacher to vary materials and adjust the speed of learning, depending on the interests, busyness, goals, and abilities of students. If students need to improve in mathematics, they can benefit from using a math problem solver to ensure efficient comprehension and mastery of concepts.

 Blended vs. Other learning models

Blended learning, frequently equated with hybrid learning, combines online and face-to-face teaching methods. Although it bears resemblances to other educational models, it has specific characteristics that distinguish it:

  • Blended learning vs. traditional learning: Traditional learning primarily takes place in physical classrooms, with face-to-face interactions between teachers and students. Blended learning, on the other hand, supplements this with online components, allowing students to access materials, participate in discussions, or complete assignments digitally.
  • Blended learning vs. online learning: Online learning is entirely digital, with no in-person components. Students access all materials, discussions, and assessments through the internet. Blended learning, however, combines this online access with regular in-person sessions, providing a balance between digital convenience and face-to-face interaction.
  • Blended learning vs. flipped classrooms: Flipped classrooms are a subset of blended learning. In this model, students access lecture materials or readings at home, while classroom time is dedicated to discussions, problem-solving, and hands-on activities. Blended learning encompasses this but also includes other combinations of online and in-person instruction.
  • Blended learning vs. asynchronous learning: Asynchronous learning allows students to access materials and complete tasks at their own pace, without real-time interactions. While blended learning can include asynchronous components, it also incorporates synchronous, real-time sessions, either online or in-person.
  • Blended learning vs. synchronous learning: Synchronous learning requires students and instructors to be present at the same time, whether in a physical classroom or a live online session. Blended learning integrates these real-time sessions with asynchronous components, offering flexibility in pacing and scheduling.

In essence, blended learning offers a unique combination of other learning models, aiming to capitalize on the strengths of each. By understanding these differences, educators and students can make informed decisions.

 Hybrid Learning vs Online Learning vs Hyflex

Online learning Hyflex Hybrid
Information Delivery Method Entirely digital. Ideal for those unable to attend physical classes due to geographical constraints or commitments. Student-centered approach. Autonomy to decide attendance mode daily. Blend of online and in-person. Structured format for sessions.
Flexibility and Accessibility High flexibility. Suitable for different time zones. Tailored learning experience based on daily preferences. Ideal for unpredictable schedules. Degree of flexibility with online components but requires attendance of in-person sessions.
Engagement and Interaction Offers video calls, but lacks in-person communication. Requires reliable online platforms, streaming, and real-time interaction tools. Needs careful planning. Clear division between online and in-person simplifies planning.
Feedback and Assessment Digital feedback through quizzes, peer reviews, or instructor comments. Managing both in-person and online participants simultaneously. Might require specialized training. Requires technological support for online components but less intensive than Hyflex.

Technologies powering hybrid learning

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the technologies required for effective hybrid learning plans will vary depending on the specific needs of the students and the content of the course. However, some common technologies that may be used in hybrid learning plans include E-books and digital textbooks, essential software tools, online resources for research, a collaborative workspace, a learning management system, a video conferencing tool, and a social media platform. Alongside digital tools like Learning Management Systems, physical organization solutions from companies like School Lockers are essential in creating an effective hybrid learning environment by providing structured and clutter-free spaces.

E-books and digital textbooks

There are a number of benefits to using digital textbooks and E-books in the classroom. For one, digital textbooks can be accessed from any device with an internet connection, which means that students can access them from anywhere. Additionally, digital textbooks can be interactive and include multimedia content, which can help students learn and retain information more effectively. Teachers can also use digital textbooks to create homework assignments, online quiz makers to create interesting quizzes, and other interactive learning activities. Furthermore, integrating trivia quizzes into the curriculum can foster a dynamic and enjoyable environment for students to reinforce their knowledge.

Essential software tools for hybrid education

  1. Online resources for research – a search engine that can quickly and easily find scholarly and peer-reviewed articles, as well as a database of full-text journals.
  2. A collaborative workspace – a platform where students can work together on projects, share resources, and communicate with each other.
  3. A learning management system – a platform that can track students’ progress and provide feedback, as well as tools for online quizzes and tests. An LMS can help you leverage quiz makers to create interactive quizzes and questionnaires to continually engage your students.
  4. A video conferencing tool – a platform that allows students to connect with each other and with instructors, for real-time discussion and collaboration.
  5. A social media platform – a platform where students can connect with each other and with instructors, for not only informal discussion and collaboration, but also to learn a ton of skills like designing new posts, social media marketing, recording, and more.

Setting up a successful hybrid learning environment

Based on the recent search, here are some additional insights and practices to consider for setting up a successful hybrid classroom:

  1. Different learning models: Hybrid classrooms can take various forms. Some models involve students attending in-person on certain days and remotely on others. Another approach is the “concurrent” model where all students are “in class” simultaneously, but some are in-person and others are online. Each model presents its unique challenges, especially in managing the day-to-day classroom dynamics.
  2. Learning devices: Having a consistent device for all students simplifies the teaching environment. It ensures that students can assist each other, and teachers can rely on a single troubleshooting toolkit. Observing the “student view” in a hybrid setting provides insights into the remote student’s experience.
  3. Consistency with applications: Teachers should have a core set of applications for all students, regardless of their location. Investing time in training students on these platforms early on can prevent confusion later.Creating step-by-step guides or video instructions can be beneficial for students in any location.
  4. Recording instructions: Pre-recorded lessons can be advantageous. If students face connectivity issues or miss a live session, they can access the recorded lesson later. However, it’s essential to be cautious about privacy regulations when recording live sessions with students.
  5. Desktop extension feature: When teaching with a laptop, extending the desktop can be useful. This allows the teacher to share a presentation with both in-person and remote students simultaneously while monitoring the video chat separately.
  6. Socialization time: It’s crucial to schedule time for students to socialize, especially in a hybrid environment. Setting aside time for playful games or group activities can help remote students feel more included. Mixing remote students with in-person students during group work can also foster collaboration.

Incorporating these insights and practices can further enhance the effectiveness of a hybrid classroom, ensuring a more comprehensive and engaging learning experience for students.

1.Investing in engaging educational technology

School administrators and IT departments should research and gather information about the best, most reliable, and engaging and easy-to-use learning technologies. You’ll want to make sure you buy technology that both improves your teachers’ ability to teach effectively and helps their students. If you are going to purchase the new technology online, make sure to keep the digital receipt to access it in case you need reimbursement or face other issues.

2.Creating an effective hybrid classroom

Today’s educational landscape blends the best of both online and traditional classroom experiences. To create an effective hybrid classroom, educators must strike a harmonious balance between technology and conventional teaching methodologies.

  • Learning Management System (LMS): The foundation of any successful hybrid classroom is reliable LMS Software. This platform should not only facilitate online content delivery but also offer features like tracking student progress, integrating multimedia resources, and providing analytics to help educators tailor their teaching strategies.
  • Interactive tools for engagement: It’s essential to have a suite of interactive tools that cater to both in-person and online learners. This could range from digital whiteboards, quizzes, and polls to reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) experiences. These tools can make lessons more engaging, allowing students to immerse themselves in the content.
  • Clear communication channels: Students should have multiple avenues to ask questions, seek clarifications, and receive timely feedback. This could be through dedicated forums, chatbots, or even video conferencing tools. Regular feedback sessions can help in addressing any concerns or challenges students might face.
  • Training and professional development: For educators to effectively leverage the hybrid model, they need to use tools and technologies at their disposal. Regular training sessions, workshops, and peer learning can ensure that educators are equipped to handle the unique challenges of a hybrid classroom.
  • Flexibility and adaptability:  Whether it’s adjusting to different learning paces, accommodating diverse learning styles, adaptive testing, or real-time feedback, a hybrid classroom should be fluid and responsive.
  • Assessment and evaluation: In a hybrid environment, traditional assessment methods might not always be applicable. Incorporating a mix of peer reviews and project-based evaluations can provide a better understanding of a student’s progress.
  • Community building: Last but not least, fostering a sense of community is crucial. Activities that promote collaboration, group projects, and peer interactions can help build a cohesive and supportive learning environment, bridging the gap between online and offline students.

3.Training educators for hybrid teaching

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many teachers found themselves simply unprepared for online teaching. Sending your teachers regularly for ongoing training will help them develop the skills and techniques they need to engage and teach their subject matter.

The learning process may take some time while teachers and assistants explore and try different techniques. Encourage experimentation and allow for failure while teachers find the right hybrid combination for themselves and their students.

4. Best practices for hybrid teaching

Hybrid teaching, a blend of online and in-person instruction, has become increasingly popular in recent years. To ensure its effectiveness, educators must adopt certain best practices. Here’s a detailed exploration of these practices:

  1. Consistency is key:
    • Unity across platforms: It’s essential to maintain a consistent format and structure across both online and in-person sessions. This helps students know what to expect and creates a seamless learning experience.
    • Standardized learning materials: Whether it’s lecture slides, reading materials, or assignments, ensure that they follow one format. This reduces confusion.
  2. Engage all learners:
    • Multimedia integration: Incorporate a variety of multimedia elements like videos, podcasts, and infographics to cater to different learning styles.
    • Interactive discussions: Foster an environment where students feel comfortable sharing their perspectives, either through online forums or in-person discussions.
    • Hands-on activities: Practical exercises, simulations, and real-world projects can help in reinforcing theoretical concepts.
  3. Regular feedback:
    • Scheduled feedback: Set aside dedicated time slots to check in with students, understanding their challenges, and gathering feedback.
    • Feedback mechanisms: Use tools like surveys, online quizzes, and one-on-one sessions to measure students’ understanding and identify areas of improvement.
    • Iterative approach: Based on the feedback received, make necessary adjustments to the curriculum or teaching methods to better cater to student needs.
  4. Technical support:
    • 24/7 support: Ensure that students have round-the-clock access to technical support, especially for online components. This can be in the form of AI chatbots, helplines, or dedicated IT teams.
    • Training sessions: Organize regular training sessions where students can familiarize themselves with the online tools and platforms being used. This can reduce technical glitches and improve the overall learning experience.
    • Resource repository: Create a centralized repository where students can find troubleshooting guides, FAQs, and other resources to address common technical issues.
  5. Collaborative learning:
    • Group projects: Encourage students to work on group assignments, fostering teamwork and collaborative problem-solving.
    • Peer review: Incorporate peer review sessions where students can critique and learn from each other’s work, promoting a culture of continuous learning.
  6. Design:
    • Accessibility: Provide transcripts for videos, using readable fonts, and ensuring that platforms are compatible with screen readers.
    • Cultural sensitivity: Recognize and respect the diverse backgrounds of students, incorporating materials and discussions that are inclusive and culturally sensitive.

5.Ensuring access to reliable tech resources

As we mentioned earlier, there’s a lot that can go into the best setup for your school district. For a perfect hybrid learning experience, first of all you need to choose a video conferencing for education platform that would suit your education facility’s requirements, provide stable meeting experience and would enable your learners to engage wherever they are.

How To Set Up a Hybrid Classroom?

There are also some other EdTech items to consider when assembling an optimal learning environment include:

Once you have the appropriate hardware and software and education software, create a plan or system for distribution, engagement, and management and implement the best practices to manage and preserve school assets. Allow the teachers to pick the tech they feel will best suit their classroom and students’ goals.

Ensuring accessibility for all students

This commitment becomes even more pronounced in a hybrid learning environment, where both online and offline modes of teaching are employed. Here’s a deep dive into the various facets of accessibility:

Diverse material formats

Offer written materials, such as transcripts, notes, and reading assignments, ensuring they are in readable fonts and formats. Provide audio recordings of lectures or discussions. Incorporate video content. These videos must be captioned and have descriptive transcripts available.

Compatibility with assistive technologies

Ensure that online platforms and materials are compatible with screen readers. Platforms should be compatible with software that facilitates the conversion of speech into text or, conversely, text to speech.  Allow students to adjust font sizes, colors, and other interface elements.

Support for students with special needs

Recognize that each student’s needs are unique. Collaborate with them to create tailored learning plans that address their specific challenges. Offer additional tutoring sessions or mentorship programs, ensuring students have the support they need to grasp complex topics. For in-person sessions, ensure that classrooms, labs, and other facilities are physically accessible.

Continuous training for educators

Educators should be trained to understand and respect the diverse needs of their students, fostering an inclusive classroom environment. Regular workshops can ensure that educators are accustomed with the latest technologies and platforms to better support their students.

Final thoughts

Hybrid learning is a completely new way to provide education in ever-changing post-pandemic circumstances, when self-isolation and strict lockdown limitations can literally save lives. Hybrid learning eliminates barriers and makes education accessible to any person with a smartphone or a PC and internet connection. For schools, universities and private teachers it is really important to explore infinite opportunities that video conferencing technology can bring and provide innovative learning experiences to pupils and students, no matter where they are and what platform they are using.

For an all-in-one consistent hybrid learning experience, you can try TrueConf! TrueConf offers integrated virtual classroom space with a special mode that brings full focus to the teacher. With TrueConf, you can run unlimited meetings with up to 1,500 participants, organize webinars and even stream your classes to YouTube, while our APIs and SDKs allow for quick integration with any LMS.

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