What Is Hybrid Learning in School?
When the COVID-19 pandemic shut down traditional classroom learning, many school districts scrambled to find suitable alternatives amid the uncertainty of a school year cut short. For many districts, hybrid learning provided an excellent balance to accommodate their students. Now, as restrictions lift, many are wondering what the future for hybrid learning will be.
In this article, we’ll explore what hybrid learning is, how it can benefit students and teachers moving forward, and ways to incorporate hybrid techniques into daily classroom plans.
What is hybrid learning?
Hybrid learning is a combination of traditional face-to-face classroom learning and online learning. Many teachers and school districts leverage educational technology , learning portals, and online learning management systems to provide effective online teaching.
The difference between hybrid and remote learning
Hybrid learning uses all methods and forms of learning to meet the needs of the students. Each school district can customize the learning environment based on the needs of the students. Hybrid learning offers more flexibility based on what learning method would best suit the curriculum.
Remote learning does not meet in person, and the students are geographically separated from the teacher. For remote learning, all instruction is given online or through syllabus packets. This type of learning is beneficial for students who can’t attend in person because of location, illness, or family circumstances.
Type of hybrid learning methods
In a hybrid learning environment, students may learn through a variety of teaching methods. We’ve outlined some of these methods below:
This is your traditional learning environment where the teacher and students engage in person for learning and instruction. In class, the teacher will teach, discuss, and evaluate the students face-to-face. This is what most school environments looked like prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Digital course modules
For online learning, many courses are made up of digital course modules. These are small sections of content and activities that teach a particular section of the course. These modules can create short, easy-to-digest learning for better retention and completion.
The modules can also provide a clear roadmap of the course’s overall syllabus. Most universities and high schools offer online courses that follow the digital course module structure.
Related: 15 Benefits of Distance Learning for Students, Parents and Teachers
Streaming live online teaching
In this type of learning environment, the teacher is instructing students live in a classroom while simultaneously live-streaming the lesson via video conferencing technology to at-home students. The remote students watch from a mobile device or computer to receive instruction.
As schools returned to in-class learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, some parents opted to keep their children home where they could safely participate through live streaming online teaching. The biggest challenge with this method is that it is heavily reliant on quality technology and a sound connection signal.
Experimental learning tasks
Experimental learning assigns tasks for students to learn by doing activities. It teaches through experience with the course materials rather than listening to lectures or reading about the subject through books. Experimental learning is very effective at engaging the students and helping them make connections to the course work.
Some drawbacks to experimental learning are that it can be expensive and time consuming. Because of those factors, teachers will need to decide which activities will have the most impact and benefit to the students. Science experiments are an excellent example of experimental learning tasks.
Educational online tools and applications
Educational online tools and applications are videos, games , widgets, assessments, quizzes, and other content that provide information and learning for students. These are excellent supplementary sources to help teach concepts, course material, and learning techniques.
A popular educational online tool is Kahoot . This customizable app allows teachers to create quizzes, games, and surveys about any subject matter that engages and challenges the students to compete in course comprehension.
Benefits of hybrid learning
When executed well, there are several benefits of hybrid learning.
- Creates more flexibility. Hybrid learning allows students to learn on a schedule that fits best with their family. It also offers different teaching mediums and permits students more flexibility with how they engage with the learning materials.
- Maintains synchronous communication between the students and the teacher. By still allowing in-person learning, teachers can engage their students in meaningful discussions, group work, and public speaking opportunities.
- Encourages academic exploration. Independent learning and go-at-your-own-pace modules allow students to explore different educational materials they wouldn’t necessarily get in the classroom. As a result, they broaden their learning experience through a range of educational resources.
- Allows teachers to structure learning to best suit the students. Teachers can plan individual virtual work on online learning days and save discussions and presentations for in-classroom learning.
Related: Best Practices for Remote Student Engagement at All Levels
How to create an effective hybrid learning environment
Ready to put together the ideal hybrid classroom ? Here are several tips for creating an effective learning environment.
Select a strategy to improve the learning model
First, determine which educational technology you will use. After this, undergo tech training to understand these technologies. This way, you’ll be able to use them effectively in the classroom and online. The best strategy? Keep it simple. Choose one or two valuable technologies or platforms to manage your online learning and assignments.
An interactive whiteboard is an essential learning tool to engage students in a familiar structure that they can visually learn from and collaborate. In this way, the Vibe board is a valuable educational tool for real-time teaching and interaction.
Set goals for each term
Set long- and short-term goals for your class each term. These goals should identify key expectations, benchmarks, and requirements. Then determine when to assess each goal during the term and work backward on the calendar to determine assignments, projects, and discussions.
Map out your course
After you’ve chosen the curriculum, you need to create a visual chart, timeline, or table that outlines the semester’s course modules, projects, activities, and resources. Then, you can identify any courses that are underdeveloped or could benefit from another learning activity.
Determine which material is better to teach in-person
After outlining your course, assess which course modules or activities are best for in-person learning or online. Depending on your lesson plans, face-to-face activities like presentations, complex experiments, and certain group discussions might need to be scheduled for in-classroom learning days.
Create and source all your content for the course
Once you know all your course modules, you’ll need to gather resources, create assignments, determine reading materials, create learning videos or use existing learning videos, and select a management tool for submitting assignments .
Encourage productive interaction
By structuring your syllabus to identify which course modules are best for independent learning vs. in-class learning, you’ll make the most of your face-to-face interactions to:
- resolve any questions the student might have.
- encourage deeper understanding through learning activities.
- connect with the students to reinforce or help with more challenging concepts or modules.
- allow students to learn through a more flexible schedule.
Now in-person learning no longer needs to teach the basic concepts that can be learned independently. In-person learning can focus on building upon the basic knowledge that was learned remotely.In class, teachers will be able tolead meaningful discussions and clarify concepts that can benefit all the students.
Related: How to Build the Foundation of an Accessible Online Course
Utilize the right tech for effective learning
For hybrid learning to be effective, the school must invest in quality technologies to effectively enhance and manage the hybrid learning environment. The most critical technologies are:
- WiFi connectivity and bandwidth: Schools need to provide reliable internet bandwidth to prevent disruption, disconnect, and lag times. Without high-speed connectivity, hybrid learning will be ineffective.
- Education software and hardware: Teachers will need quality equipment for video conferencing, module and assignment management, laptops with built-in microphones, and other equipment for better communication and collaboration.
- Online educational resources: Teachers need a repository of supplemental materials to enhance and support their course modules.
Hybrid learning: effective when carefully implemented
By following these tips for creating a hybrid learning environment, you’ll be able to engage and enhance your students’ learning experience. The more resources, technology, and training you acquire, the more prepared you will be to teach in-person and online effectively.
While hybrid learning is multifaceted, the more you tap into the technology, materials, and resources available, the more effective your lessons will be. Learn how Vibe can strengthen your school’s online learning programs by requesting a demo or attending an upcoming webinar .
Vibe offers a collaborative solution combining an interactive digital whiteboard and innovative smart software. Increase engagement and efficiency at your brainstorming sessions, virtual training, and classroom sessions by integrating your favorite applications with video conferencing and an infinite, mess-free writing canvas. Collaborate today with Vibe.
Looking for the latest in interactive whiteboard technology? Check out Vibe today!