Hybrid classrooms have helped us all stay sane and learning, these last two years. But, as we slowly accept and settle into our new normal, we know that hybrid classrooms are here to stay. Its usefulness and applications far exceed the pandemic’s use case. Hybrid learning solves issues of distance, schedule, scale, and other limitations that keep us from attending or teaching a course. These challenges increasingly affect us in today’s world. That’s why it’s important to look into the benefits of the hybrid learning model for your institution or organization and start investing in the right infrastructure. In this article, we look at hybrid learning, what it is, how it works, and how to make the most of it.
- Hybrid learning definition
- Hybrid learning vs blended learning
- Using Hybrid learning in the workplace
- How Hybrid learning is changing education
- How to adopt hybrid learning in 8 simple steps
- The possible future of hybrid learning
- Kaltura hybrid learning solutions
Hybrid Learning Definition
So, what is hybrid learning? Hybrid learning is an educational model in which lessons are taught synchronously and simultaneously to students who are physically present in class and students who are attending the lesson remotely. In other words, students can attend the same live lesson in person, or online via video conferencing.
In the last two years, hybrid learning became the learning model of choice for many schools and campuses, to accommodate the ever-changing situation caused by the pandemic.
Hybrid learning is also gaining a lot of traction in the corporate world. Many companies are rethinking their employee training programs to combine face-to-face training with online training, to better serve their remote workforce. More on this later.
Hybrid learning is heavily reliant on video technology, bringing the classroom into the homes of remotely located students or employees.
Hybrid Learning Vs. Blended Learning
Unsurprisingly, hybrid learning is often confused with blended learning. While they do share similarities, hybrid learning and blended learning are two different learning models. And the difference lies mostly in the delivery.
In hybrid learning, the lesson is taught live in-class and delivered synchronously to remote students via video conferencing. In Blended learning, the blend consists of an in-class component and an online asynchronous component. In the latter learning model, students must attend both the online and in-class components to enjoy the full learning experience, whereas hybrid learning is either/or.
The title of this section should be read as what’s the difference, and not which one’s the better model. The hybrid learning model and the blended learning model serve different use cases, so it’s really not a matter of choice but of need:
- Hybrid learning fits use cases where you want to offer students or trainees the flexibility of joining a course session physically in-class, or virtually from a remote location.
- Blended learning fits use cases where you offer students a mix of learning methods that accounts for every type of learner and enables the educator to use his time in front of the class more efficiently and constructively.
You could however infuse some blended learning techniques into your hybrid class by enriching your course with asynchronous learning tasks and self-paced lessons that both in-class students and remote students should complete. Confusing? The semantics don’t matter. It’s all about our students’ learning experience.
Using Hybrid Learning in The Workplace
Corporate training faces quite a few challenges today. L&D professionals must deliver effective training and onboarding to employees who are geographically dispersed and have busy schedules. To make matters worse, there’s a budget to consider.
In the face of these challenges, hybrid learning makes a lot of sense for global enterprises and hybrid workplaces. Especially now that the digitally native Generation Z is becoming dominant in the workplace, the hybrid learning model and video-based technology enable HR departments to deliver the training whenever, wherever, and in a way to which the employee is most receptive.
This last point is important. Hybrid learning does more for corporate training than just bridging time and space in a geographically dispersed environment. Corporate training is all about the application of new knowledge. Hybrid learning is known to improve knowledge retention and the application of that knowledge. It also fosters peer-to-peer learning and collaboration.
Finally, hybrid learning is a cost-effective way to guarantee employee training and onboarding in a hybrid environment. Of course, you’ll save on travel and location expenses, but hybrid learning also enables implementation at scale with minimal impact on your company’s daily operations.
You can learn more about the top 3 Hybrid Learning & Development trends for 2022 in this article.
How Hybrid Learning is Changing Education
Hybrid learning was the solution of choice for many educational institutions, during the pandemic. By February 2021, 25% of US schools adopted the hybrid learning model. By the end of the school year, that percentage reached 44%. While that number has since dropped again in favor of in-person education in the new school year, educational institutions will keep investing in the infrastructure to leverage the power of technology in education and to keep the option of hybrid learning available to those who need it.
It is clear that education has rapidly changed during the pandemic and will never be the same again. Educators were forced to give technology a prominent place in the classroom. They discovered the positive effects it had on students’ learning and found ways to overcome its disadvantages. Right now, technology’s significant role in education is being defined for the years to come.
Hybrid learning and edtech is moving education from a teacher-centric classroom-based setting to a student-centric, location-independent learning model. The student’s individual learning experience takes center stage.
How to Adopt Hybrid Learning in 8 Simple Steps
- Set up a hybrid learning course plan
Making your in-class lesson material available online does not constitute a hybrid classroom. It is essential to adapt your course plan to the format, to reap the benefits of hybrid learning. Setting goals and reinventing your classroom experience in a way that translates well on a computer screen is a good place to start.
- Don’t try to copy the traditional classroom experience
As we said in the first step, you shouldn’t just create an online version of your ‘usual’ course. Prioritize activities and assignments that foster collaboration between in-person and remote learners. Identify weaknesses and issues in your traditional classroom-based course and think about how technology and the newfound flexibility of the hybrid learning model can solve them for you. Make sure to treat in-person and virtual classroom time as equally valuable
- Get the right technology for your needs
The disruption in the way you’ve been teaching for years is a big enough change. Make sure the technology isn’t going to add to the pressure. Basic video conferencing software wasn’t designed for classroom use. Invest in purpose-built technology that will enhance the learning experience, has all the bells and whistles you need to successfully deliver your course, is robust and reliable, and doesn’t get in your way while you do your thing. Kaltura Virtual Classroom, our first-in-class hybrid learning solution, checks all these boxes and then some. More on that later.
- Get familiar with the technology
Not just you. Your students, too. Take the time to understand the technology and learn how to use it blindly. Dedicate a session with your students to get familiar with the new learning environment and show them how to use all the features to their advantage. Open a separate communication channel with your students to troubleshoot tech problems throughout the course.
- Keep it simple and consistent
With your students geographically dispersed and a brand-new approach to learning, it’s important to keep your hybrid course simple and consistent. Make sure all your students know where to find their assignments or online lesson material, and how to get support from you or their peers. Implement routines to help students know what to expect. Weekly agenda’s, virtual notebooks, onboarding
- Build community
For a hybrid classroom to be successful, it requires the engagement and participation of all students and their families. Especially remote students can quickly feel isolated or left out. Free some time to help online and in-person students form bonds with icebreaker activities and collaborative projects. Open social channels, message boards, and chats to facilitate meaningful connections. Include parents with regular updates via a dedicated channel (email newsletter or IM group).
- Aim for flexibility
By definition, hybrid learning implies increased flexibility in the way you teach and your students learn. Make room for flexibility in all aspects of your course to enable a more personal experience that your students’ individual learning needs.
- Analyze the data
A huge benefit of using professional-grade edtech software in the classroom is that they often come with data collection features. Platforms like Kaltura Virtual Classroom have dedicated analytics dashboards that collect and compute insights about student engagement and video performance data. This will help you continuously optimize the learning experience and evaluate the performance of your students.
The Possible Future of Hybrid Learning
Hybrid learning has gained a lot of traction as an emergency solution in the last few years. It has proven extremely useful in times of social distancing, in facing the L&D challenges of geographically dispersed organizations and hybrid offices, or in reducing classroom overcrowding.
But the flexibility and added value of technology that hybrid learning offers fit so snugly into our current way of living that hybrid learning is here to stay. It opens courses to people who previously wouldn’t have been able to attend due to their personal situation, remote location, or busy schedule.
Future evolutions in education will most likely take the hybrid classroom or online learning as a starting point, not the physical classroom. That’s why it’s important not to miss the train and to start investing in a robust hybrid/virtual learning infrastructure today.
Kaltura Hybrid Learning Solutions
That is exactly what Virtual Classroom, Kaltura’s online learning solution, is all about. A modern-day classroom, designed for the times ahead. Kaltura Virtual Classroom is engineered to deliver 100% virtual courses or fully support the online segment of your hybrid classroom.
Kaltura Virtual Classroom is easy to set up and run in the classroom and at home, so you don’t need to interrupt your flow as you teach. Virtual Classroom is fully cloud-based. No downloads or installations are required. All you and your students need to do is join.
Your classroom is persistent, meaning you can set it up in advance, leave it, and then come back to find everything in its place. You can even brand it with your logo and colors.
Kaltura Virtual Classroom comes with a full suite of digital engagement and collaboration tools, such as digital whiteboards, breakout rooms, Q&A sessions, quizzes, and polls. The Analytics dashboard will help you assess student participation and performance. You can also increase the accessibility of your lessons with cloud recording and automatic transcriptions.
Kaltura Virtual Classroom integrates seamlessly with your existing Learning Management System (LMS).
And that’s only the jist of it. Learn more about Kaltura Virtual Classroom on our dedicated page or, even better, try it out for yourself. No strings attached!