Ongoing technological advancements have made learning at home easier than ever in recent years. The internet has gone from a place to look up information and quick facts, to a widely accepted method of delivering entire courses and instructing students remotely. However, attending classes in person has some benefits that cannot be duplicated online. This has led to the development of hybrid learning, an approach that offers the best of both worlds.
What Does Hybrid Learning Entail?
Hybrid learning combines traditional classroom instruction with digital course delivery. It sees teachers instructing in-person students and remote students at the same time, and this may also be supplemented with asynchronous teaching methods to support the face-to-face instruction, such as the study of written or recorded content and online assignments. Some schools are also assigning field trips, such as museum visits, in students’ own time to facilitate social distancing.
One big benefit of hybrid learning is its flexibility. It allows students to interact with their teachers in person to get help with topics that require deeper explanation and lab time for classes where hands-on experience is important. At the same time, it gives students time to learn independently and work through their assignments at a pace that suits their individual schedules and learning styles.
Hybrid learning tools may include video conferencing, online exercises, pre-recorded and live video instruction, learning management systems, online exercises and online educational games. Hybrid learning is gaining greater attention in the COVID-19 era, with a majority of students experiencing either a primarily online setting or a hybrid learning approach this school year.
Some schools are using a hybrid strategy that divides a class into smaller groups that take turns attending in person or online to keep classroom sizes down and improve safety on campus while still ensuring everyone gets an equal amount of face-to-face time with their teachers. Experts believe this type of learning may outlive the coronavirus and remain relevant long after any widespread threat of contagion subsides.
Hybrid learning should not be confused with blended learning, which has similar elements but some important distinctions as well. In blended learning, in-person teaching is combined with asynchronous learning methods, such as instructional videos and educational games that students work on in their own time. This requires all of the students to attend classes in a physical classroom at the same time.
How Do I Implement A Hybrid Learning Course?
There is no single best way to implement a hybrid learning course. The most effective approaches are adapted to the subject matter and the needs of the students. Some hybrid learning options might lean heavily toward the in-person component, with students meeting often to discuss the material and get feedback. Others might opt for a 50/50 approach. In this case, half of the learning takes place during regular classroom meetings to introduce core concepts. The other half is delivered through online reinforcement and reading outside the classroom.
Teachers who implement a hybrid learning course need to determine their goals and map out the synchronous and asynchronous elements that will form the course. They can then create a schedule that factors in the students’ availability and any safety concerns. Many teachers opt to collect or create their online content before the semester begins so they can focus more on their students once the course gets underway. Plans may be adapted during the semester in response to feedback from students.
Some best practices teachers have reported include incorporating meaningful face-to-face time to inspire additional self-guided learning, and using formats and file types that are easily accessible across devices, even for students who do not have high-speed internet.
Can I Utilize Online Educational Games?
Online educational games are incredibly useful tools in modern classrooms, but they can be particularly valuable in hybrid learning models. Students studying at home can be easily distracted, and these games boost engagement and keep students interested in the material. Many online games are made to align with curriculum used across the country.
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As many schools head into an uncertain fall semester, online instruction is taking on a greater role in education. Safety concerns have prompted teachers to look to online learning methods in greater numbers than ever before, and online educational games can play an important role in boosting engagement among students, especially when they are not physically with their fellow students.
If you would like to learn how educational games can help your children achieve more in school, sign up for a free trial of Legends of Learning today. Our math and science games aimed at students in third through eighth grade are used widely by teachers around the country. We offer more than 2,000 games that are curriculum-aligned to reinforce what children are learning at school in a fun and effective way.