Understanding Hybrid Learning And How To Use It
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Best Practices For Developing Hybrid Learning

If you’ve attended an institution of higher education or a trade school in the last dozen or so years, chances are high that you’ve encountered a course design known as “hybrid learning.” To say that a course will follow a hybrid learning model is commonly understood to mean that some students will participate in person while others take part remotely. HyFlex [1] is a well-defined example of a hybrid learning model that many institutions follow.

Some use the term hybrid learning interchangeably with “blended learning,” but there are interesting distinctions [2] in definitions that can be made if you separate the two terms.

The most common definition for blended learning describes a course that combines both face-to-face and online instruction. Every student participates in the same way and is exposed to these modalities as they are “blended” together. This contrasts with hybrid learning, where an individual learner could participate in-person one day and online the next, and hopefully get the same outcome regardless.

Hybrid learning mixes these modes similarly to how different methods of propulsion in a hybrid car are expressed: The driver can choose to run using fuel or the battery, or even a combination of the two, but the result is always forward motion.

Of course, the most common situation is for local students to attend in-person and others to attend remotely, so it is imperative that a hybrid course provides the same quality of education for both groups. This can be an interesting challenge. At its most basic, hybrid learning requires instructors to effectively deliver material in two different ways at the same time.

They must simultaneously relate to students inside and outside of the physical classroom. Additionally, when given the choice [3], students don’t always pick the mode that will prioritize their learning. For example, it is not hard to imagine an in-class student that chooses to sleep late because they know the lecture is being recorded. The goal should then be to make both the in-class and remote experiences as high quality as possible.

Designing A Hybrid Learning Course

The foundation of any course design should be a clear set of learning objectives. If you are in need of effective training within your company, it makes sense to derive your learning objectives from business objectives. What do you want your employees to achieve? What do they need to learn before achieving it? What behaviors should they develop for succeeding in their roles? In what areas does their performance not measure up?

AllenComm uses an approach called Performance Mapping to determine the learning objectives, performance gaps, and behavioral changes that can be addressed through education. We offer performance consultation [4] which can provide you with an essential foundation for a thoughtfully designed hybrid learning course.

Tips For Effective Hybrid Learning Course Delivery

Once you have solid foundational objectives, you can begin to address the challenges associated with hybrid learning. The difficulty of engaging both in-class and remote learners in lectures and of keeping the quality consistent between these modes can be addressed by using the techniques outlined below. The steps are best practices for educators navigating a hybrid or remote learning environment.

Deliberate Communication

Clear speaking is a fundamental part of lecturing, but it’s even more critical when cameras and microphones are involved. Say a student asks a question in class, but they speak too quietly for the remote learners to hear. An instructor can help keep remote learners in the flow of the lecture by clearly repeating the question before they answer it. Clear narration helps students stay tuned-in and focused, including those participating remotely.

Polling

Questions encourage reflection and engagement, and interactive polling tools, which solicit feedback from students during class time, can incentivize every student to participate. Not only does this help learners to pay attention, it should help the instructor to get clear feedback as to when to adjust the course if certain material needs clarification.

Small-Group Discussions

The widespread adoption of reliable video conferencing has greatly improved the effectiveness of hybrid learning. Many conferencing platforms support breakout rooms, where small group discussions can occur that are on par with those of their in-class counterparts. You can even make sure, if numbers allow, that every remote group has at least one in-class learner to bring both sets of students together.

Many more tips can be found here. Harvard also offers some good suggestions for remote learning techniques [5], which are more specific about the usage of widely available communication technology.

Conclusion

Need more information? AllenComm offers solutions for effective eLearning, including course design, Learning Management Systems [6], and our award-winning in-house course design software DesignLab. These tools and services can be used to create and deliver engaging, effective educational material for your team. The gap between the experience of both in-person and remote learning groups becomes smaller than ever when they have easy access to the same course material and activities that supplement your training.

References:

[1] Hybrid-Flexible Course Design

[2] Hybrid vs. Blended Learning: The Difference and Why It Matters

[3] Our HyFlex Experiment: What’s Worked and What Hasn’t

[4] WHY YOU NEED A PERFORMANCE CONSULTANT TO IMPROVE EMPLOYEE PERFORMANCE

[5] Best Practices: Online Pedagogy

[6] TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR TRAINING DELIVERY WITH LEARNING PORTAL

eBook Release: AllenComm
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