In the last three decades, the use of the Internet has increased. The past decades have witnessed a rise in digital technologies within school curriculum. Schools are trying to keep up with the trend and this has led to the concept of hybrid education.
The concept of hybrid education was designed to make learning more flexible. It made it possible for students to learn from any location of their choice. In a fast-paced world where everyone is looking for a means to ease their stress, hybrid education takes away the stress of campus life as well as brings quality education to the doorsteps of those who naturally may not have been able to afford it.
Inasmuch as some educators oppose the presence of digital technologies in classrooms because of their potential to distract the students, some universities have recognized that beyond the threat, the Internet presents a new means of delivering education in a way that adapts to the changing world.
What Is Hybrid Learning?
When manufacturers blend laptops and tablets together to form phablet, the idea is to create a product that is neither a tablet nor a laptop, rather, better. Similarly, hybrid education is a blend of online and face-to-face learning.
The curriculum of hybrid education may differ from one school to another but the structure is usually the same. Students only visit the campus a few times in a semester (can be as little as just once). During their visit, they meet coaches, faculty mentors, and other students and are able to form a network. They are also provided with all the resources for the semester through an online management system.
Hybrid education in a way extols the virtues of Célestin Freinet teaching methods which also place students into groups. In hybrid education, a student is able to interact with other students in their cohort in person or online. However, every work done in a hybrid education setting is submitted online.
The Impact Of Hybrid Education
It will be had to deny that traditional learning has no benefits, likewise the use of digital technologies in classrooms. Although there are limited studies that have tried to unravel the impact of the bringing together of the old and new forms of learning, understanding their individual benefits can help researchers to predict how hybrid education can impact on learning.
In trying to evaluate the impact of hybrid education, it is important to bear in mind the fact that hybrid education will produce hybridized outcomes too. A recent study conducted by Hybrid Learning Institute revealed that 9 out of 10 schools that use hybrid education performed better on standardized tests when compared to traditional classrooms.
Schools Already Using Hybrid Education
A good number of high-profile institutions of higher learning in the United States have already embraced blended education. In 2011, University of Maryland made ten of their courses available through hybrid learning. Others that have also introduced blended learning are Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) which is ranked fifth in the world and Imperial College London.