Hybrid Learning: What It Is and How To Set It Up!

Aavni Desai
June 20, 2023
7 min read

"What is hybrid learning?", is a common question we find ourselves hearing a lot.

Hybrid learning is when teachers teach students present within their physical classes, and online students as well - at the same time.

They provide supplementary online resources and activities to all. Students also learn from each other in a peer-to-peer system, where they participate in class instruction sessions. Here, online resources include shared multimedia, research and academic papers, and quizlets to support in-class discussion. 

How is Hybrid Learning different from Blended Learning?

These similar learning models are quite distinct in one very important, and characteristic way - the mode of holding a class.

  • Blended learning includes in-person (synchronous) teaching and asynchronous learning methods. Students participate in physical offline classes, and work on online study material at their own pace.
  • Hybrid learning includes online and offline classes - at the same time. Students choose to participate in physical classes or join in virtually. Online asynchronous study material is provided, only to support class learnings.

How can I set up a Hybrid Learning model?

Step 1: Set your goals

Map out what you want to achieve with your hybrid classes. Set long and short term goals for yourself and the class. This includes what you want your students to be educated in at the end of the semester, and how. Determine your financial aspirations at the same time, and the level of growth you wish to achieve within that time period. 

Once you set your goals, assess what you need to do to set it up in terms of the infrastructure hybrid class models need. Ensure that all your infrastructure is compatible with each other. Ensure that you keep a track of how to do this with both online and offline students.

Step 2: Map the course out

This is a class navigation map. Since you’ve already determined what you want your students to be educated in by the end of your semester, you must now determine what exactly you want to teach them – the syllabus. 

Design modules for all the topics the subject includes, and their subtopics. Gather content for each sub-topic. Ensure that all the information is compatible. Attach the various online materials, assessment quizlets and tests, educational videos, audios and so on, as you design the syllabus. Make a flowchart, or a table with all the modules, topics and sub-topics mapped out. Provide a supplementary timeline to chalk out the outline of when you would teach each topic in a module. You are essentially putting down your course in a chronological flow here. 

You can also make a booklet of this flowchart or table and share it with your online and offline students. This makes everyone aware of the game plan. It brings everyone on the same page and adds much needed clarity. 

Step 3: Choose what is taught by you directly, and through supplementary methods

Choose how you will divide your teaching. Remember, hybrid learning means that you directly teach online as well as offline students, combined. You supplement this direct teaching with online study material and assessment options. 

Some teachings can be provided to your online and offline students directly by you. The supplementary activities to teach and assess all your students will usually be put up online. 

You can undertake the following class activities for your online and offline students together:

  • Teaching and explaining the modules 
  • Presenting information to your students via speech, or through a whiteboard. To ensure your online students have an interactive and effective class, you can invest in a whiteboard camera. Logitech’s Scribe is an artificial intelligence based whiteboard camera that detects what you write or draw on your offline whiteboard, and transcribes it onto your online whiteboard, to be shared with your online students effectively. 
  • Guest or keynote speaker sessions
  • Presentations and group discussions 
  • Feedback sessions

Supplementary online class time for all your students is usually set aside for:

  • Dividing peer or individual responsibilities
  • Spreading educational information in terms of academic papers, audio-visual learning methods such as pre-recorded lectures
  • Logistical information, schedules and guides
  • Homework and tests
  • Online objective assessments and quizlets 

Step 4: Test run! 

Now that you’ve set up the works - take it for a spin. Ensure your online set-up works perfectly, and iron out any chinks that you may detect. Have a few people step in as fake students so that you have pre-class feedback that you can work to improve your system. 

Why hybrid learning can be the future!

Hybrid learning combines the best of both worlds - online and offline teaching. Both systems are here to stay, and combining the two is where it’s at! 

You make yourself accessible to more clients 

Students are often burdened with geographic and monetary considerations when they need to move out of their homes and cities, states or even countries - all to access educational institutions. 

Students can now learn the same modules online as well as offline. Since your course is now online and accessible to all, you are not limited to students within your locality, or students who can come to your physical classes anymore. You become a preferred source of learning. They then choose you to teach them, over traditional educational institutions. This is how you gain a broader client base. 

Synchronized communication

The instant gratification and intimate feel that in-person academic discussions provide is rarely replaceable. Hybrid learning enables exactly this, for your online students as well. You now have a broader client base, and a happy one as well!

Hybrid learning brings learners together effectively, and puts educators in touch with them as well. It helps students work on papers together, provide feedback and ensure all-round communication in every academic field while establishing accountability as well. The online infrastructure that streamlines this makes logistics easier for teachers and education businesses. 

An efficient use of resources

Everyone’s time, energy and other resources are managed well. Naturally, this is essential as a business. They self-execute tasks assigned to them with ease thanks to the technical infrastructure you set up to manage their assignment and homework submission. Optimizing online resources to ensure this is maintained is key - so keep in mind you and your student’s investments while doing so. 

Sounds too good to be true? Read about how hybrid learning has boosted some kids’ learning!

Ms. Ramona Brown’s 1st lecture of the day has been her hardest class this year. She doesn’t quite know what to do with them. The class had a “year down” student, a young boy who couldn’t seem to graduate middle-school for 2 years now. He influenced other students, particularly the boys. This was never good. Surprisingly, during Covid, with remote-learning, he was positively blooming. Schoolroom distractions cut out, and clean time to focus on studies, has given him a new lease to life. Social distractions aside, he now had the environment he personally needed to do deep work. 

This trend seems to have swept across schools. Shy children with super-active tendencies are doing much better within the hybrid learning model. While this may not be the norm since access to digital resources might be tough for some, and internet connectivity remains a problem, with family issues being magnified as everyone stays at home - teachers and students everywhere are struggling to replicate what classrooms were like before. Engagement and discourse is key to the in-person environment, but with hybrid learning - this is now possible to replicate efficiently.

What has been the biggest booster yet?

Fluid schedules have been the biggest factor that helped students out 

Students don’t have to trudge along to early classes or make it to late-night sessions after compulsory long periods of commute time. They find their own independence in their own space. The added comfort helps them enjoy their school work more. 

There’s no forced classrooms or travel fatigue. Students all over can access a course of their choice while having time to explore hobbies, work out, be creative and spend time with themselves to think and introspect much better. Giving them their own time has proved to be more beneficial. While extracurriculars are needed to impress colleges and this takes up a huge chunk of their break time in schools, they can now do so within the comfort of their homes on their own timings.

Makes courses accessible, and not overwhelming 

According to a Pew Research Center study, teens believe that academic pressure is the biggest pressure present in their life. 61% of them report feeling this pressing pressure to perform at a specific standard, academically. Teachers are pressured by this just as much since they are responsible for their students. As this pressure teachers face is projected onto their students, the students become the worst affected stakeholder. They subsequently face twice as much of a likelihood to face unhealthy stress and pressure. 

Course work is streamlined as students work at their own pace, yet within the timeline of their semester. They decide when they study what, and collaborate their timeline with their teachers’ timelines. Hybrid learning takes this pressure off students, it provides them the option of attending lectures from the comfort of their homes, while facing less financial pressure - all at their own pace.

If there’s anything the pandemic taught us, it’s that teaching and learning can be done from anywhere in the world. With the right mechanisms and an inspiring teacher, hybrid learning is here to stay. The first-mover advantage is very real, and with how quick everything is in our fast paced world, it is so crucial to move with it. Set up that hybrid class you’ve been thinking of for yourself or your business as soon as you can to make the most of it!

Aavni Desai

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