It’s been more than a year since students were forced out of classrooms and into Zoom meeting rooms, putting a halt to the physical academic system we have known for centuries. With COVID-19 causing education loss among children all over the world, districts have prioritized reopening schools and resuming in-person learning.
The 2021 academic year marks the resumption of face-to-face education — save for a few changes to keep kids safe from the virus. As schools begin to re-welcome students into campus, educators and district leaders have formulated a new model that hits two birds with one stone, resuming the intimacy of in-person learning while curbing the spread of COVID-19.
They call it the hybrid learning model.
What is Hybrid Learning?
Hybrid learning is a combination of the traditional face-to-face academic system with the digital approach of the new normal. The idea is to have some academic discussions conducted face-to-face, while others are rendered via computer-mediated activities. In this setup, teachers and students will still be attending brick and mortar schools, but with reduced physical interaction through supplemental online instruction.
Different institutions may adopt their own model of utilizing hybrid learning. For example, some schools may prefer to have all students on-campus, but separated in different rooms and interacting online. Others may adopt a 50/50 attendance system, with half of the class physically present while the other half participates virtually from home.
Ultimately, hybrid learning makes online classes more accessible and synchronous with traditional teaching methods. Physical learning and e-learning both have their own fair share of pros and cons. But by blending physical and digital learning formats, the hybrid learning model can create a singular learning experience that leverages the advantages of both while remedying their pitfalls.
How to Create an Effective Hybrid Learning Model
The main challenge in a hybrid learning model is deciding in what format each material, course, and activity should be conducted. But it’s crucial to make sure that each learning plan is structured in the right format to suit its respective medium.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you formulate your own hybrid learning plan that will reap its advantages for education in the new normal.
Set goals for the semester.
Identify what you hope to achieve this semester as you adopt the hybrid learning model. This helps you tailor your approach and structure your courses in a way that serves your goals and key expectations.
Map out course modules.
Refer to your syllabus and map out the different courses, activities, and resources that you need to complete this semester’s agendas. Creating visual tools such as charts, timelines, or tables can help you get a bird’s eye view of your course and easily identify the platform that best serves different parts of your syllabus.
Identify in-person activities.
Looking at your visual map, mark down the courses and activities that require or may be more effective when conducted face-to-face. Some examples include:
- Communicating expectations and class responsibilities
- Feedback sessions
- Group brainstorming sessions
- Responsive and interactive presentations
Identify online activities.
This part of your hybrid learning plan is reserved for activities that deliver information, i.e. asynchronous learning methods that supplement your face-to-face teaching. Some activities best suited for online mediums include:
- Asynchronous group discussions
- Self-paced activities and courses
- Quizzes and tests with automatic grading programs
- Video consumption
- Written activities and analysis
Gather content and materials
After identifying the most suitable medium for each activity in your syllabus, it’s time to source the content you need for courses, reading materials, assignments, etc. Gather everything needed to complete and finalize your syllabus.
Hybrid Learning: Helping Education Adopt to the New Normal
The COVID-19 pandemic created a big challenge for education. In the previous year, several studies have strengthened the threat of education loss, with millions of children lagging behind in speech and understanding development.
The new normal calls for new approaches and strategies that foster effective learning. Along with mask-wearing, social distancing, vaccination drives, and other health protocols accompanying the resumption of physical classes, the hybrid learning model presents an opportunity for education to get back on track amid COVID-19.
Educators can further improve the quality of both in-person and online classes by utilizing a clear mask alternative. Jelli M1 masks are designed with clear plastic panels, eliminating mouth coverings and allowing facial expressions, lip-reading, and non-verbal signals to supplement effective communication and instruction.
Recommended by speech-language pathologists, transparent face masks redeem vital communication aids while providing the COVID protection needed as schools welcome students back on campus.