My friend and colleague, Nick Billowes, recently asked five questions about hybrid learning as he was pondering the future for schools into 2023. Here are his questions and responses:
What is the potential of applying practices of hybrid learning within a schooling educational context as we look to new ways of rekindling learner engagement?
Hybrid learning, which combines in-person and online instruction, has the potential to rekindle learner engagement in a schooling educational context. By utilizing online resources, such as videos, interactive activities, and virtual simulations, students can have more control over their learning pace and have access to a wider range of information and resources. This can help to make learning more personalized and engaging. Additionally, hybrid learning allows for more flexibility in scheduling and can reduce the need for large class sizes. This can help to create a more dynamic and interactive learning environment. However, it’s important to note that implementing hybrid learning can be challenging and requires proper planning, resources and support from educators.
What are the main practical challenges to the implementation of hybrid learning systems, as seen in research?
There are several practical challenges to the implementation of hybrid learning systems, as seen in research. Some of the main challenges include:
- Technical issues: Hybrid learning requires reliable and robust technology infrastructure and equipment, such as laptops, tablets or smartphones, internet access and learning management systems. These can be a challenge for schools that lack the necessary resources or have limited access to technology.
- Training and professional development: Educators need training and professional development on how to effectively use technology to support learning and how to design and deliver online instruction. This can be a challenge for schools that lack the resources to provide such training.
- Differentiation and personalization: Hybrid learning requires teachers to differentiate instruction to meet the needs of different learners and personalize instruction to meet the needs of individual students. This can be challenging for educators who are not familiar with these strategies or lack the resources to implement them.
- Student engagement: Online instruction can be less engaging than in-person instruction, which can make it difficult for students to stay motivated and focused. This can be challenging for educators who are not familiar with strategies to engage students in online instruction.
- Equity and access: Hybrid learning can exacerbate existing disparities in access to education. Students who lack access to technology or internet, or come from low-income families, might have a harder time participating in the online portion of the instruction and thus miss out on important learning opportunities.
- Monitoring and assessment: Hybrid learning requires teachers to monitor student progress and provide feedback on a regular basis. This can be challenging for educators who are not familiar with online assessment tools or lack the resources to implement them.
It’s important to note that these challenges can be mitigated with proper planning, resources and support from educators and the institution.
From the research available have you found strong evidence for hybrid learning implementation as an important way of building resilience in educational systems?
There is some evidence from research that suggests that hybrid learning can help to build resilience in educational systems. Hybrid learning can provide a level of flexibility and adaptability that can help schools to respond to disruptions caused by factors such as pandemics, natural disasters, and other emergencies.
Hybrid learning can also help schools to maintain continuity of learning during disruptions. By providing students with access to online instruction and resources, schools can ensure that students can continue to learn and make progress even when in-person instruction is not possible.
Additionally, research suggests that hybrid learning can be beneficial for students with different learning needs. By providing students with a mix of online and in-person instruction, schools can accommodate students with different learning styles, abilities, and needs. This can help to ensure that all students have access to a high-quality education.
However, it’s important to note that research on the impact of hybrid learning on building resilience in educational systems is limited and is still ongoing. Many studies have been conducted during the pandemic, and their results are not generalizable to other scenarios. Studies that have been conducted have also had limitations such as small sample sizes and short-term nature, so more research needs to be done to understand the long-term effects of hybrid learning on educational systems.
In what ways is hybrid learning seen to be impacting positively on the resilience of learners?
Hybrid learning can impact positively on the resilience of learners in several ways:
- Flexibility and adaptability: Hybrid learning can provide students with a level of flexibility and adaptability that can help them to respond to disruptions and changes in their learning environment. This can help to build resilience by allowing students to continue to learn and make progress even when in-person instruction is not possible.
- Personalized instruction: Hybrid learning can help to personalize instruction to meet the needs of individual students. This can help to ensure that all students have access to a high-quality education, which can help to build resilience by providing students with the support they need to succeed.
- Self-directed learning: Hybrid learning can provide students with more control over their learning pace and have access to a wider range of information and resources. This can help to build resilience by providing students with the opportunity to take ownership of their learning and develop autonomy, which can help them to manage changes and disruptions.
- Improved motivation and engagement: Hybrid learning can be more engaging and interactive than traditional in-person instruction. This can help to improve motivation and engagement, which can lead to better learning outcomes and build resilience by providing students with a sense of purpose and direction.
- Continuous learning: Hybrid learning can provide students with the opportunity to continue learning despite disruptions such as school closures. This can help to build resilience by providing students with a sense of progress, achievement, and accomplishment, which can help them to cope with stress and uncertainty.
It’s important to note that the effects of hybrid learning on the resilience of learners may vary depending on the context and the quality of the implementation. Proper planning, resources and support from educators and the institution can help to ensure that hybrid learning is effective in building resilience in learners.
If a school was to plan for the implementation of a school wide hybrid learning approach, what considerations are most important?
There are several important considerations that a school should take into account when planning for the implementation of a hybrid learning approach. These include:
- Technology infrastructure: The school should ensure that it has the necessary technology infrastructure in place, such as laptops or tablets for students, as well as reliable internet access.
- Professional development: Teachers and staff will need training on how to use the technology and how to effectively deliver instruction in a hybrid learning environment.
- Scheduling: A schedule will need to be developed that balances in-person and online learning, taking into account factors such as class size, availability of technology, and the needs of students and teachers.
- Curriculum: The school will need to ensure that the curriculum is aligned with the hybrid learning approach and that it is accessible to students in both in-person and online environments.
- Communication: Effective communication channels will need to be established between teachers, students, and parents to ensure that everyone is informed and involved in the process.
- Student support: A plan for providing student support, such as counselling or special education services, will need to be developed to ensure that all students have the support they need to be successful in a hybrid learning environment.
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE – WATCH FOR PART TWO IN MY NEXT POST WHERE MORE WILL BE REVEALED