Hybrid learning or blended learning has existed in the education and training space for a long time. It essentially combines classroom sessions with online learning that enables an immersive learning experience. While many institutions around the world already follow this efficient method, the most fruitful application of hybrid learning is in professional training programs where working individuals undertake courses to upskill or reskill themselves to remain relevant in today’s marketplace.
Often, owing to lack of time, these learners might not be able to attend all the classroom sessions, so they enroll in courses that have an online component that helps them complete the program at their own pace and convenience. It is this flexibility that hybrid learning provides that helps participants achieve their learning goals.
Combining the best of both worlds
While classroom teaching promotes collaborative learning and improves social skills, e-learning includes immersive content that is generally not a part of the traditional classroom-teaching syllabus. Thus, hybrid learning combines the best of both worlds through a blend of captivating content, course structure, and technology, thereby giving learners a comprehensive and immersive training experience. In addition to this, the flipped classroom model is another form of hybrid learning in which learners study and review concepts outside the classroom, in most cases online; they then participate in face-to-face sessions to discuss a few aspects of the program. Hybrid learning has been proven to provide more effective and deeper learning, thus making it more meaningful.
Role-based design and outcomes-focused delivery
The effectiveness of this model can be better understood with a look at the advantages this type of learning has over the others:
1. Customized training:
The pace of the course is managed and controlled by the participants to a great extent. It is their responsibility to finish the coursework and participate in the class. Every participant has different learning capabilities and he/she chooses to learn at his/her own pace. Unlike the traditional method, learners get enough time to meet their deadline.
2. Continuous learning:
Since the evaluation is continuous, learners are required to connect with the instructor and other classmates through discussions, coursework, and other extra-classroom activities during the course duration. In the brick-and-mortar classroom method, learners hardly interact with others between sessions. Group projects are also more effective in such a learning model.
Hybrid learning eliminates the cost of setting up and conducting classroom sessions. It also saves the cost of missed work and travel, thereby making it efficient and economical. Courses can be easily accessed online and there is no cost of printing material involved. Therefore, there is a huge saving of both time and money.
4. Tracking progress:
By using the right tools, learners can track their performance and progress in e-learning. Using an LMS provides detailed statistics for every learner and the entire course. This makes tracking progress easy, and evaluation simple and unbiased.
With the advent of technology, it is necessary to include hybrid learning as a program delivery option. Today, no learning is complete without the use of technology. Moreover, access to the internet makes hybrid learning far more viable than any other form of learning.
The current pandemic situation has paved the way for the growth of e-learning platforms as more and more people are remotely enrolling themselves for various courses. Educational institutions are also being forced to transform their mode of instruction online, as social distancing is currently the only solution to prevent the spread of the pandemic. Self-paced learning and on-demand learning are also becoming important now.
With the world being severely affected by Covid-19, there seems to be a lot of focus on hybrid learning. Schools and colleges are shut across the world which has led to a dramatic change in education. There is a rise in e-learning as teaching is undertaken on digital platforms, remotely. While e-learning may not replace classroom teaching, it will most definitely be included in the curriculum going forward. Fundamentally, learning is about outcomes.