Currently, there is a push for online education from many higher learning institutions; however, many are looking towards Hybrid Education as a source of alternative educational means that might make more sense, and have more advantages than the full-time switch over.
Hybrid learning refers to a course whose curriculum is a mixture of traditional in-class instruction and learning activities found online. Ideally, it is a blending of both kinds of teaching and instruction at their best. Meaningful relationships are made with teachers and classmates and educational learning is taking place online (Fanter, 2010).
Hybrid teachers like internet instructors must make their classes ready for the internet. However, in their case, their class content is more effective than both classroom and online because students can get the best of both worlds: Researching of content instead of note-taking, plus active-learning such as group-projects and case studies.
Hybrid instruction outweighs both individual methods of meeting educational needs. Some of the benefits are that Hybrid instruction frees up campus traffic and classroom space, it also helps improve writing and computer skills as part of the ‘unintended’ benefits. However, its greatest benefits take place in the classroom and on the computer. It encourages time management, critical-thinking skills, problem-solving, and self-directed learning; for both students and teachers this promotes ‘active learning’ and the result is subject mastery or knowledge (2010).
U.S. News (2015) gave some more advantages of hybrid learning two years ago as its popularity was catching on.
They pointed out that hybrid learning gave students time, and alternative methods of communicating, networking, and interacting with other students. Students in K-12 who might not ever work together or socially associate in public settings have the opportunity to work together in a virtual world. Additionally, this covers the best of four global trends: awareness of different races, use of technology, hybrid learning, and effective teaching.
The possibility of K-12 education transitioning to hybrid education is not a feasible idea for another few decades until the home computer is available in every home; however, it already happens in almost every college and university across the United States and first world countries.
Hybrid classes have become so popular, that most college catalogs often must list two different styles of Hybrids.
1. Hybrid (Class heavy) – where there is a majority of class time.
2. Hybrid (Lab Heavy) – where the majority of the time is spent in the lab.
In both cases, a course guide, description, and syllabus are made available to the student, and the student is required to meet all requirements, including participating in required attendance. If there is any confusion, students should clarify at the beginning of each class term, and never forget to handle all class expectations. It is also still the college student’s job to E-mail the college professor at the beginning of the course should questions arise and maintain a high level of proactivity.
Seemingly, the only downfall of Hybrid education is the lack of a recognized standard for the structure. Hybrid classes have pedagogical flexibility giving the instructor full determination on learning goals, content, objectives, activities, and available resources.
It is also the determination of the instructor of how much time is spent in the classroom and how much time will be spent online.
This type of pedagogy is not suggested for K-12 education; for this type of learning system to be in place in K-12 education, the instructor would have to add recognized standards to the lesson plans for it even to be accepted into the curriculum. Teachers of K-12 at secondary level who wanted to score Exemplary might consider going the extra mile and creating an extra class-type and proving how this would work and does work.