By Ms. Heena Paleja
Head of School - Thakur International School
"Hybrid Learning" seems like a complex word that is used to mask a concept that is relatively simpler in nature. But in reality, hybrid learning is as tricky a concept to understand as it is to implement.
You may be wondering what teaching methodology is not difficult to implement, and you are absolutely correct. However, the difference completely lies in its execution. If developed with a focus on consistency & quality, it has the potential to replace all existing teaching methodologies being used all over the world.
When a student has the choice to learn from an educator either in-person or remotely, it is called hybrid learning. Simply put, it combines the traditional in-person classes & the recently adopted remote learning classes being taught by an educator together, simultaneously.
Although the execution sounds straightforward, there are various considerations that need to be made and preparations that have to be completed by both the educator and the learner. Firstly, the educator needs to be ready to engage with both offline & online questions, doubts & discussions. The content needs to be delivered in such a format that neither the in-person nor remote learner feel that the other is benefitting with their selected method. Students also need to understand their compatibility with the method of learning they select.
However, the learning outcomes that can be achieved with hybrid learning are far beyond what was expected of either only in-person or only remote learning. The first advantage that is offered by this methodology lies in its flexibility, not just for the students but for the educators as well. Both parties can decide which medium they are more suited to beforehand, and it can be changed at any stage as needed. Providing the students & educators with the freedom to decide how they want to approach a lecture allows for increased participation and improved awareness. There are instances where students may not be able to attend a lecture in-person, but still, be able to participate from their homes. The same can be said for educators as well. This flexibility in choices makes a student feel in control of their education & allows an educator to give their best in any situation.
Due to the advent of COVID-19, hybrid learning has already started to be implemented in various educational facilities, but its merits can also be utilized in the near COVID-19 free future as well.
Hybrid learning leads to better use of teaching resources. Mixing both in-person and remote classes would be beneficial in reducing an educator’s workload, allow the creation of learning materials to be more consistent and streamlined for both types of classes and help them enable them to provide one-on-one attention to every student. It also allows educators to make use of digital learning techniques and new education technology.
Another overlooked advantage that hybrid learning provides is a decrease in student absenteeism and fatigue. A student’s academic performance is directly affected by their absenteeism in classes. Even if a student is physically present but unable to understand what is being taught, it is of no use. Having the choice to attend a lecture from home allows them to participate in lectures they might be unwell to attend in person. It also helps a student combat fatigue by allowing them to attend a lecture from home or stream it later since lectures are usually recorded in a hybrid model. Even long-term absences can be tackled using this methodology, benefitting students who suffer from chronic health conditions.
In conclusion, hybrid learning may very well hold the key to revolutionizing the educational system. Even though it requires a lot of preparation and patience, with the flexibility provided to both educators and students, along with efficient use of teaching resources and the reduction of the negative impact of absences, it enables both educators and students to channel their best efforts and further their growth.