But this is just the start. In 2021, schools alternated between in-person and online learning, blended or hybrid classrooms, or a mix of the various teaching modalities.
During the epidemic, schools did the best they could with the resources they had, including government funds dedicated to supporting hybrid learning, the patience of family and caregivers, and the inventiveness and endurance of teachers all over the world.
The reform of the education sector has a lot riding on it, not least the hopes of students and instructors who have already had their digital abilities tested. While everyone wants to go back to school, blended learning helps to build a more resilient education system by allowing for more personalization of learning while also increasing accessibility.
Flexibility, scalability, and agility are critical as IT executives aim to build on their transformative success while also providing longer-term advantages and supporting a digital environment appropriate for the future.
What is blended learning?
Blended Learning has, in fact, been the solution for many students for several years. Blending learning as a concept and learning style has been around since before the turn of the century, going by titles including "hybrid learning," "technology-mediated education," "web-enhanced training," and "mixed-mode instruction."
While definitions differ, most agree that blended learning, as its various names imply, is a hybrid learning style in which face-to-face education is coupled with technology-mediated training throughout the course of a course or module.
So, what are the effects of online learning and hybrid classrooms on students? What about teachers?
Many people are concerned about how effectively children learn online and the impact on educators of having to support both in-person and virtual learning at the same time. Others, on the other hand, have witnessed directly how beneficial online learning can be, and students are prospering as a result of the advantages of a hybrid learning environment.
Students who require extra time for specific assignments owing to learning difficulties or who require unique tools or equipment to succeed in the classroom, for example, can get what they need on their own time. Others choose project-based learning or gaming, both of which have grown in popularity in the hybrid learning period.
Is hybrid learning a viable option?
According to a review of the research on hybrid and blended learning, hybrid learning boosted student involvement, success, and a favorable perspective of the learning process.
These tried-and-true ways of student involvement are also included in hybrid learning:
- Personalized learning has been found to increase students' math and to read scores, and it is easier to implement in hybrid classrooms.
- Students' communication abilities improve as a result of blended learning.
Teachers are able to devote more time to one-on-one face contact with each of their pupils by utilizing digital technology to save time when it comes to basic education. Teachers can also automate tailored feedback on a bigger scale by utilizing the processing capacity of internet technologies.
Students are able to take more ownership of their learning journey and progress through it at their own speed because they are no longer exclusively reliant on the teacher for teaching. Because they have access to online teaching material, high-achieving students are able to get ahead of the class's overall lesson plan.
Balancing the Spread of Coronavirus
Educators, public health authorities, and parents are attempting to balance the need to minimize the spread of the coronavirus with the need to move pupils into more productive learning settings. This year's preparations are loaded with increased concern.
Every school system's first objective should be to lower viral transmission rates and safeguard the health and safety of students and employees. National and local system leaders must adjust their tactics to match the amount of transmission in their areas. Even nations with low case counts today remain attentive and ready to adjust course in the event of a return, since circumstances change on a weekly basis.
Even if hybrid learning continues to fade this year, there are multiple benefits to having technology in the classroom. Using instructional technology promotes student engagement while also providing additional opportunity for them to capitalize on their skills and succeed using digital tools.
Certain technological advancements have also allowed for more cooperation and creativity in the classroom. Students may collaborate through video conferencing systems like Zoom even if they aren't in the same room. Many cloud-based software products also allow students to collaborate in ways they previously couldn't.
Students are also better prepared to succeed in the future since they use technology in their studies on a regular basis. It equips students with the skills they'll need for college and job success, and it may even lead to new technology-related professional opportunities. The future of educational technology developments is blended learning. This learning approach was not created by the epidemic, but it pushed most schools, instructors, and students further ahead of where they were before.
Planning Blended Learning Effectively
First and foremost, it's critical to acknowledge that when the traditional classroom environment gets turned on its head, continuing to educate in the same manner makes no sense. Blended learning will need more than just training and tech tools; it will necessitate a shift in how teachers operate, which will not be simple.
Teachers must be aware of the many tactics and technologies that have shown to be effective in remote learning and how to overcome the problems that blended learning may provide. With so much change and uncertainty, we've compiled a list of strategies to help you and your school prepare for what's ahead.
The blended learning pedagogy
First and foremost, it's critical to acknowledge that, when the traditional classroom environment gets turned on its head, continuing to educate in the same manner makes no sense. Blended learning will need more than just training and tech tools; it will necessitate a shift in how teachers operate, which will not be simple. It's critical to assess your teaching techniques and what strategies will be required to suit diverse venues, especially if you're going from a completely face-to-face approach. This can be aided by taking into account both the context and substance of a lesson.
Adapting to a wide range of students
School closures have been a driving factor in encouraging instructors to acknowledge their varied range of learners when developing classes, which is a significant takeaway. It's not only about assisting people with special learning needs; it's also about ensuring that learning is accessible to everyone, regardless of their ability, geographic location, or technological capabilities.
With communication and cooperation in mind, create a design that works
It's critical to create classes with communication and cooperation in mind as you begin to traverse this new hybrid teaching landscape. Although you may spend less time with students, a mixed approach does not imply that kids must study in isolation. Class forums and other similar platforms make it simple to organize class discussions and peer evaluations. Furthermore, learning tools such as Google Classroom enable you to construct an interactive workflow that allows for feedback and collaborative collaboration.
Hybrid Learning in the Future
Hybrid learning, in addition to traditional classroom work, is a part of the future of education. Based on student requirements and available resources, school districts and states are developing an innovative return to school strategies that include hybrid learning, completely online educational settings, and blended classrooms. Others have authorized plans to invest in hybrid learning on a more long-term basis.