How to Make Hybrid Learning Work in Higher Education
Many schools are still working in a remote or hybrid learning and teaching situation. Universities such as The University of Central Florida have been experimenting with this learning mode since the 1990s. The influx of adult learners seeking to hone their skills and gain additional qualifications spurred hybrid learning early. The global pandemic has accelerated the process manifold. More higher education institutions have now recognized the need for hybrid learning options. While the hybrid class definition might vary with the institute, the framework remains by and large the same.
What is hybrid learning, and how does it work?
Hybrid learning is often confused with blended learning, and the two terms are frequently used interchangeably. Blended learning combines online or distance learning with traditional learning while balancing the two modes. In hybrid learning, the emphasis is on incorporating the learning techniques best suited to the content. It leans more on online or non-traditional methods of instruction, unlike blended learning.
Overcoming the challenges in a hybrid learning environment is not a one-formula-fits-all solution. It will take a mix of approaches, techniques, and tools to develop customized solutions for each educator and their students.
You can optimize your experience in the following ways:
Choose well-planned hybrid courses
For a hybrid course to be successful in higher education, it must effortlessly integrate face-to-face instruction and online interactions. Courses must be built from the bottom up and not just be an online version of a physical classroom session or vice versa. The case study of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point at the start of the pandemic amply illustrates this point. An example of a good hybrid course could be an online lecture session followed by an in-person workshop tutorial. Yet another instance of a well-planned hybrid course could be one with hands-on training in a lab coupled with online activities.
Unlock the potential of hybrid learning tools and technology
There are a lot of educational tools, resources, and apps that you can use to enhance the hybrid learning experience. Some features to look out for include ease of use and customization options. Courses should be flexible enough to integrate with other platforms and offer high visual appeal. Video conferencing, virtual assistants, and messengers all play a role in the hybrid classroom. Cisco Webex Education Connector and Webex Classrooms are some examples of versatile educational tools that meet the criteria.
Check for adequate physical and virtual spaces
Whether virtual or physical, classrooms need to be welcoming and all-inclusive for teachers and students alike. They should be designed so that students and teachers can see and hear one another well. The environment must be conducive for group activities and interactions between the in-person attendees and remote students alike. Besides being necessary for classroom purposes, these social interactions can promote mental and emotional well-being.
Higher education aims to prepare students for employment, and the global workplace scenario has now evolved into one where hybrid work models and remote working are the norms. A well-designed hybrid learning system can help you ease into this new regular much more quickly. With this in mind, many organizations like World Wide Technology (WWT) offer you a portfolio of products and software to help make the most of the hybrid learning experience.