Going back to traditional face-to-face schools seems to be a luxury at the moment; studying virtually is now the new norm. All universities and schools around the world are applying technology to their teaching program. The development of technology has been extremely valuable, especially during crisis times like the ongoing COVID19 pandemic.
Although the concept of online learning was introduced in the 1990s due to the invention of the Internet, it was not widely applicable until now. However, besides learning solely virtually, many countries in which the situation has somehow eased have implemented the concept of “hybrid learning” into their studying program. And it is predicted to be the future of the education industry around the world.
So have you heard about this new learning model? Knowing exactly which types of learning models will help you choose suitable programs easier, especially if you intend to enter higher education.
In this article, let’s explore the concept of the hybrid learning models together and some significant reasons why you should consider these learning models now. And who knows, maybe hybrid learning is the new normal in the next ten years?
A brief background of digital learning
One of the most significant impacts of the technology booming on the education industry is the development and application of digital learning and solution. Not only do these innovations provide learners with more studying choices, but they also help in customizing the learning materials and content, create more engaging learning experiences for students while learning at home. Digital learning and training is also the perfect solution for adults who don’t have much time to attend classes but want to pursue their studies higher.
In fact, advanced technologies have made the learning experience seamless than ever before. Educational institutes can now offer different types of learning experiences to support learners, no matter where they come from.
If you’re a regular newsreader, you’ll catch phrases like hybrid learning courses, blended learning models, hybrid online learning, online courses, etc. You’ll understand that it is not abnormal for universities to offer online and hybrid courses nowadays.
Hybrid learning definition
Let’s first get into the definition of hybrid learning. What does hybrid learning mean?
Hybrid learning is a new way of learning that some students can choose to learn via digital platforms and some students can learn at “brick-and-mortar” schools. It depends on the goals and ambiance of each student.
In order for hybrid learning to be successful, hybrid courses need to have the input from experts of the fields to contribute. The hybrid learning environment and experiences need to be suitable and effective for both online and offline learners.
For example, although some skills need to be practiced in the laboratory, some students cannot access these hands-on classes due to many factors like geographic limitations, disabilities, or sometimes, time-related problems; many MBA and Ph.D. students are full-time employees. Hence, the team setting up by hybrid courses needs to have a solid background and expertise to take all of these factors into consideration by examining the needs of each learner and their accessibility to instructor-led online training. Hybrid courses creators need to constantly improve the curriculum to meet the needs of all learners.
Today’s learning management system (LMS) helps course designers to get the most out of hybrid learning models using machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies to collect data and identify trends. This will benefit both individual learners and the entire learning and development (L&D) department
Hybrid learning models vs blended learning models
The term “hybrid learning models” is often used interchangeably with the “blended learning models” term; however, those are two different learning models that are often mistaken by many people.
The biggest difference between hybrid learning models and blended learning models is that in blended learning models, students have to spend a specific amount of time attending offline classes. Blended learning programs combine both face-to-face teachings with online learning methods, where students can watch instructional videos at their convenience. The hybrid learning model meaning teachers have to instruct both remote and in-person students simultaneously. In the hybrid learning environment, asynchronous teaching approaches are to be used to support synchronous and face-to-face instruction.
So is hybrid learning the same as blended learning? The answer is no, they are not the same.
Hybrid learning models vs Online learning models: Is hybrid learning online?
So, we’ve explored the concept of blended learning models and how hybrid learning works. Let’s move on to online learning, and how it is different from the two mentioned above.
While blended and hybrid learning programs can be applied for all educational levels, online learning is also known as e-learning, on the other hand, is more common in higher education. It allows students from different geographical areas to fully engage with their chosen university. Online learning allows students to learn flexibly and at their own pace.
Same as hybrid learning models, online learning also use the LMS to facilitate the teaching methods. Online learners can access the same studying resources as on-campus/hybrid/blended students such as student membership or the university’s digital library. However, they will have the freedom to direct their own study schedule.
So, to answer the question “is hybrid learning online”, to some extent, it is indeed a sort of online learning experience (depends on each student’s ambiance, of course). We can understand online learning is the umbrella term. However, we recommend all students to find out if their desired courses are 100% online, blended, or follow the hybrid learning models.
Is hybrid learning effective? Is hybrid learning safe?
Now that we have understood hybrid online learning, blended learning experiences, and online learning. The next questions to tackle about hybrid online learning are, “is it effective?”, “is it safe?”, “is it accredited?”. Simple answer: yes.
Not only hybrid online learning is effective but also fully accredited around the world.
Let’s read some of the reasons why hybrid learning is good:
- The survey revealed that 77% of academic leaders thought online education was equal to or superior to learning in a physical classroom.
- It allows students to be more flexible. Instead of forcing themselves to go to class, they can put off their lessons and assignments until they are fully prepared. Some full-time employees might feel too tired to focus after a long day at work. Moreover, gives learners enough independent study time to complete lessons and assessments without having to go to classes frequently.
- Accessibility is no longer a problem, with the development of technology, students can easily take classes in another country and get the same accredited degrees as on-campus students. This is a plus for hybrid learning in this critical time. For students who want to study abroad in Switzerland can now take classes from another country.
- When students participate in seminars, they have the opportunity to ask questions and get additional explanations and context around key concepts in the lesson. In addition, students also have a higher level of commitment when participating in classes. This means, if the learning material is a summary of the lessons that the student has attended and understood, the student will not need to review the learning materials.
- One of the most significant benefits found in hybrid online learning course design is the flexibility of content delivery. Students can have time to meet their instructors for additional support on concepts that need further reinforcement and explanation. Face-to-face time will help students make the most out of their learning experience since they can ask in-depth questions. Online classes will help them get a piece of general knowledge.
- Besides, it is also easier for lecturers since they can easily assess whether the readings and exercises are effective for the learning group or not.
In general, some of the main reasons for hybrid online learning are practical, cost-saving, and gaining flexibility and initiative.
Hybrid learning at SIMI University Institute, Zug Switzerland
Hybrid learning is a modern training model that combines both traditional classroom training and online courses. The Swiss Institute of Management and Innovation (SIMI) applies this model to ensure students can take advantage of both traditional and online training to save time, increase efficiency and save money.
When participating in courses of SIMI University, students will:
- See the effectiveness of learning
- See the quality of learning increase
- Save time
- Personalize the learning process
- Focus on practice to gain practical experience
- Get Lifelong Learning Support
Source: The Swiss Institute of Management and Innovation