As an educator, you may have heard of hybrid learning before. It is a modern phenomenon that mixes in-class and online learning. Students spend part of their education time learning in a traditional classroom setting and part of their time learning online. Hybrid learning enables schools to minimize the number of students in a building at a given time by having one group learn in person on some days while another group learns from home on those same days. The groups would then switch, and one group would attend in-person classes while the other group learns remotely.
In this article, we will begin by providing a definition of hybrid learning. We will then go over some of the best hybrid learning models, including the flipped classroom model, the rotation model, the a la carte model, the flex model, and the project-based model. Lastly, we will provide 10 tips for teachers on how to create a successful hybrid learning environment.
What Is Hybrid Learning? Hybrid Learning Definition
Hybrid learning, also known as blended learning, is a mix of traditional in-class and online learning. Both online and in-class learning each have their own individual strengths. When combined, a hybrid learning environment can provide a superior learning experience to students.
Any education program that supports students learning partially online and provides them with some degree of control over the time, path, place, or pace of their studies qualifies as hybrid learning. Students may complete different parts of the course they are working on as it suits them in an asynchronous learning manner. They may skip forward, pause, and go back to revisit material as they require.
It should be noted that hybrid learning requires that 30-80 percent of course material to be delivered online. It is more than just having technology that supplements the classroom experience. Providing in-class lectures online isn’t enough to constitute hybrid learning.
Hybrid learning is redefining the traditional education experience. It is giving students new learning opportunities and teachers new ways of educating. These new practices can make a significant positive contribution to students’ learning environments and allows them to take ownership over the learning process.
Hybrid learning takes some work to implement. It requires teachers to change how they organize and deliver material. They also need to be familiar with technology.
One key takeaway about hybrid learning is that in-class and online concepts and material must represent a connected learning path. In-class topics should not be repeated during online lessons—and vice versa, topics covered online should not be repeated in class.
Hybrid Learning Models
There are many different types of hybrid learning models. Which model is best depends on the content being taught and the teacher’s expectations for the course. Here are examples of some of the best hybrid learning models.
Flipped Classroom Model
In this model, students are provided with pre-recorded lectures to watch (or listen to) on their own time as homework instead of attending lectures. Once in class, the teacher can introduce learning activities related to the material from the online lectures.
The flipped classroom model helps teachers free up valuable class time to engage with students. Class time can be spent encouraging students to apply the concepts that they have learned.
The rotation model is one of the most common hybrid learning models. It involves any subject or course in which students physically move from one activity to the next based on a schedule (or teacher’s choice).
This hybrid learning model might include small group instruction, online work, group discussions, traditional assignments, or entire-class projects. The important thing is that one person or tool (like a clock or schedule) defines when it is time for students to rorate to the next activity.
When implementing a flex model in a hybrid learning environment, students have the ability to move freely on fluid schedules. They tackle each learning activity and move on to the next based on their skill level and needs.
Online learning is at the core of the flex model and is supplemented by teachers who give support and instruction to students as needed while they work through the material.
A big advantage of the flex model is that students learn independence and have a high degree of control of their own learning experience—including its pace.
A La Carte Model
For the a la carte model of hybrid learning, students can complement their in-class courses with online classes.
This model lets students approach their studies in a more flexible way. Teachers benefit with this model because they can track student activity in virtual classrooms and via virtual lessons and problem-solving activities.
For the project-based model of hybrid learning, students are provided with real-world tasks and given the necessary resources to complete them. They are provided with the freedom to figure out the solution on their own based on applying concepts they have learned throughout the course.
In order to implement an effective project-based model, first determine what and why students are learning a certain subject or concept. Once this is figured out, teachers should concentrate on activities that require students to apply concepts and put them into action.
Educators should work with students to identify where additional support is required—whether that be for writing, research, presenting, or time management. Teachers should provide guidance and resources to help students who are in need of assistance. They should also answer questions by encouraging students to seek out the answer on their own with the appropriate resources
Creating a Successful Hybrid Learning Environment: 10 Tips for Teachers
Make sure there are mobile learning options for students to complete the online portion of the course.
Utilize online learning to provide extensions, targeted learning plans, or individual teaching moments.
Be receptive of feedback, and try to learn from your students’ unique experiences.
Try not to overload students with online assignments.
Be sure to integrate both online and in-class learning experiences. A successful hybrid learning environment is only as good as the relationship between its online and in-class learning experiences.
Remember you are not alone! There is a whole community of teachers implementing hybrid learning. If you find yourself frustrated or overwhelmed, remember you can always reach out to other teachers who are dealing with similar issues.
Communicate the expectations and purpose of your hybrid learning environment clearly and often to your students. Remember that it may be new for them as well.
Make sure that students have access to solid time management information. This is especially important for students who have never completed an online class before.
Provide your students with all the information they need on where to find technical support if they run into IT issues.
Remember that you can redesign if need be! The course map you came up with can be changed as you go through the semester. Hold onto what is working, and try to fix what isn’t.
Hybrid learning can combine the best of in-class and online learning and provide a superior learning experience. Some hybrid learning models provide students with autonomy over their learning experience, while others provide a rigid framework for students to learn in.
In this article, we started with a definition of hybrid learning. We then went over some of the best hybrid learning models, including the flipped classroom model, the rotation model, the a la carte model, the flex model, and the project-based model. Lastly, we provided 10 tips for teachers on how to create a successful hybrid learning environment.