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What to expect from hybrid learning



Parents may need to step in to facilitate scheduling

hybrid learning, online, schools, students, teachers, parents


Educators and writers are throwing around educational terms which may have no relevance to the reality of what is going on in the educational marketplace. But let’s first define these terms so we are all talking about the same thing.

Hybrid learning is where students go to school and learn in a classroom. Classroom attendance is part time. They also learn remotely watching videos and completing assigned online lessons with no personal interaction.

Blended learning is somewhat similar to hybrid learning with some minor changes. In the classroom the students participate in face-to-face instruction and they receive any homework they need to complete. The online program supplements what has been covered in the classroom

Flipped classroom learning changes the teaching dynamic. Kids learn online from materials which have been developed for their instruction. They learn the materials on their own. The face-to-face time is spent discussing homework and engaging kids in discussions

Schools scrambled to put remote learning together when the quarantine hit, with a somewhat haphazard result for children's education.

After a summer of planning, the back-to-school learning hopefully will be more systematic but also more complex, especially for the many schools that are diving into the hybrid learning model. This model may change as schools opt for remote learning to begin the new year.  The schools will substitute the face-to-face learning model with ‘live’ remote instruction. But what will be the purpose of the ‘live’ sessions? Will teachers use the time to teach new ideas or to review what kids have already done on their own?

For this article, we will use the term hybrid learning to include face-to-face classroom instruction or remote ‘live’ instruction.

The idea of alternating in-person learning or ‘live’ remote online instruction with lessons students complete on their own is not new. It has been in use in some schools for several years. It is based on the idea of providing flexibility to accommodate different learning styles, Vanessa Vakharia, the founder and director of The Math Guru, told the website popsugar.com.

The hybrid model generally includes a limited amount of so-called “live” online learning as the student, classmates, and teacher are all participating in an online class at the same time. The remainder of at-home work the kids watch videos of lessons or complete assignments online, without real-time interaction.

Hybrid learning offers learning flexibility

Hybrid learning has advantages for some children, said Vakharia. It may be preferable for kids with learning disabilities or social anxiety, which can cause discomfort in a classroom setting. Flexibility is available from online platforms that offer such options as discussion groups, chat rooms, and online real-time evaluations, which may be more comfortable for kids who are shy in person.

For children with attention span difficulties, a recorded lesson gives them the chance to rewind if they need a concept repeated.

Hybrid learning requires lots of planning

However, a hybrid learning situation requires a lot of planning and scheduling. On the plus side, it's an opportunity for kids to develop organizational skills. But if your child is too young to take on planning or just doesn't have a talent for organization, you may have to step in and take charge of the schedule. And in the case of chronic procrastination, assignments may pile up until kids find themselves facing a deadline with an overwhelming number of videos to watch and lessons to finish. The hybrid model results in some students falling behind unless parents intervene.

Computers and Wi-Fi required

Another challenge: children absolutely need a computing device and Internet access to participate. If your household isn't equipped with enough devices for each child to have their own, or if wifi is unavailable or unreliable, contact your school district for help obtaining the equipment and technology your kids need.



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