Hybrid Learning

“The best education of the future will be a hybrid. There is value in physical contact with teachers, but there is also potential learning and real convenience in online coursework.” (Bowen, 2012, p.218)

Hybrid or blended learning is a somewhat new concept that took root in the last decade. Technological advance has forced many institutions to have some sort of online learning offering to appeal and attract students in different ways. What has been successful has been a more hybrid approach. This approach uses a blend of face to face (classroom), independent learning (online), and collaboration(both online and in the classroom).

http://www.thesysintl.com/blended-education-model.html

This approach can be seen as a reaction to globalization and the move by education groups to “localize”(control) what is becoming a global product.

The above quote drew my attention as it argues against a purely online model. This course, PIDP 3240, is purely an online course and not a hybrid. Even though our course is not yet over, I sometimes wonder a how 3240 would be as a hybrid style course. If you view the chart at the end of this journal entry you will see how the three learning style circles intersect. How would 3240 work using this style? I have been thinking of ways to try and have more collaborative experiences in this class, one of which is ooVoo-a-thon ,“hybrid classes also encourage self-directed learning, time management, problem-solving, and critical-thinking skills in those who participate in the programs”(Fanter, 2010). The hybrid approach to e-learning also seems to follow good practice principals. The challenge is to find the optimal mix of online and face-to-face instruction (any time, any place), while still maintaining quality faculty-student interaction.This type of hybrid model has gained increasing acceptance in the business arena under the banner of “blended learning”. “Several definitions of blended learning exist, including the use of multiple technology modes, combining pedagogical approaches, or the blending of instructional technology with face-to face student and instructor interaction”( Martyn, 2003).

The online hybrid model shows that good practice can be incorporated to create an effective student-centered learning environment. “Quality student-faculty contact is an important factor in student motivation”( Martyn, 2003). Faculty-student interaction may impact learners’ satisfaction in distance learning courses. The hybrid online model encompasses both face-to-face contact in the first and last classes, and extensive computer-mediated communication through the use of extensive e-mail, chat rooms, blog (and now video) , and online threaded discussion. Online interaction among students has often been ignored in distance education. Computer- mediated communication can be used to facilitate collaboration among students as peers and teachers as learners. “Many students seek an online group-learning environment because they enjoy collaboration with other students” (Roberson and Klotz , 2001). Adult students appreciate the creation of a learning environment that exposes them to different points of view, lets them express and explore their own views, and hybrid learning supports them in formulating these opinions. Active participation is a critical component of the learning process. Often the best learning is accomplished through the active involvement of students.  “Online educators are challenged to provide interactive opportunities within a online learning context. Collaborative participation in the educational environment is a critical component of the learning process”( Saunders, 1997). Hybrid learning also encourages prompt feedback through the use of e-mail, an online drop box for assignments( Moodle LMS), weekly chat and video interactions. Discussion boards provide faculty the opportunity to respond to students at any time, as do twitter and facebook. All learners need feedback, and “feedback is frequently mentioned as a concern of online learners”(Martyn, 2003). Students in online courses begin online programs with a wide range of technology skills and backgrounds, which increases the importance of consistent, simple, and user-friendly materials. Some face-to-face meetings allow the instructor to get all students to a minimum technology skill-level to ensure success in the online class. Owing to this need hybrid courses can seemingly foster better a better learning experience for online courses.

The hybrid model, which encompasses some face-to-face meetings, weekly online assessments, chat, online threaded discussion boards, e-mail, and a face-to-face exam, provides an excellent way for institutions and learners to enter the online arena. “The hybrid online model may be an excellent fit for many” (Martyn, 2003). Limited time in the classroom is an availability that allows college programs utilizing hybrid course work to be more reachable. Another aspect about hybrid instruction is the quality of education that the students are receiving. Advantageous is a word in this day and economy that everyone likes to hear. Hybrid courses are by nature advantageous by saving time and money due to the blending of the traditional delivery model with the flexibility of the pure online model. With regards to my own practice I can see how a hybrid model would apply. By taking components such as history of the coffee trade and coffee extraction techniques, could be delivered via an online delivery method. Certain types of assessment could also be handled online, such as a multiple choice test. Whereas training for tasting techniques would have to be handled in person. This would probably save precious class time and use of the instructors time would be better utilized.

References:

Bowen, J. A. (2012). Teaching naked: How moving technology out of your college classroom will improve student learning. San Francisco:

Jossey-Bass (A Wiley Imprint).
Fanter, Amy.(2010). The Future of Instructional Models, Retrieved

June 30, 2010 from http://www.worldwidelearn.com

Martyn, M. (2003) Lifelong Learning Trends: A Profile of Continuing Higher Education, seventh edition (Washington, D.C.: The University Continuing Education Association).

T. Roberson and J. Klotz, “Chat: The Missing Link in On-line Instruction,” Little Rock, Ark., Nov. 14–16, 2001. ERIC Document Reproduction No. ED4601

N.G. Saunders et al., “Student Perspectives: Responses to Internet Opportunities in a Distance Learning Environment,” Chicago, Ill., October 15–18, 1997. ERIC Document Reproduction No. ED413816.

http://www.thesysintl.com/blended-education-model.html

http://courses.durhamtech.edu/tlc/www/html/Special_Feature/ hybridclasses.htmImage

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