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According to U.S. News, 30.6% of K-12 students were involved in hybrid studies in mid-March of 2021.
The pandemic was brutal for many students and teachers. Learning environments were being completely restructured to fit online formats. Students everywhere had to adjust to studying from home.
Of course, this adjustment didn’t apply to only K-12 students. Adults are also enrolling in hybrid learning programs to earn degrees and certificates.
We know there’s skepticism around this learning format, but we also know there’s a unique high value to hybrid learning. We’ll dive deeper into this below.
Defining Hybrid Learning
Let’s take a moment to define hybrid learning before diving into the benefits.
Hybrid learning is the intertwining of traditional and non-traditional teaching styles. It’s typically a balanced mixture of in-person and online classes.
A hybrid student still has access to on-campus resources with hybrid learning. These resources may include in-person labs and other learning, various resources and materials, and virtual or on-campus study groups, to name a few. Tutoring may be available as well, both online and in-person.
Hybrid learning programs are convenient and flexible.
Many students are parents or have full-time jobs. IWPR reported 26% of undergraduate students in the US are raising dependent children.
Being able to create a flexible class schedule is crucial for these students!
Are you often in multiple locations when performing everyday duties? Online classes in a hybrid program allow you to connect with lessons on the go. All you need is a reliable laptop and WiFi connection to access your course materials and e-books, as well as time to complete your required assignments, whether day, night, or weekends.
Hybrid programs are much more accessible than all in-person classes for those working on the go. Starting a new career has never been so easy!
Many students find it challenging to reach campus after work during rush hour traffic. Some students have disabilities that make it difficult to reach a classroom. Others don’t have reliable modes of transportation.
Hybrid programs and online access to classroom portals provide easier ways to learn and connect. Say goodbye to worrying about car troubles when you can watch a lecture or complete an assignment from your kitchen table.
Students with attention deficits and social anxiety also enjoy hybrid programs. Hybrid programs tend to be less tense for some students, depending on their learning style. Many students know how distracting and stressful large in-person classes can be and prefer to access their classrooms on a computer in their own homes. It’s essential to understand what works for you, as you have the chance to work with instructors and students on-campus while completing a great deal of work and learning online.
It’s important to learn how to use online formats to your advantage if you’re enrolled in a hybrid program. Consider how features of online classrooms can better serve your learning style.
Less Digital Fatigue
Working 100% online causes anyone to feel trapped by technology. It’s exhausting to sit in one spot for hours at a time, staring into a computer screen.
This exhaustion decreases motivation and leaves students feeling drained. They’re drained before they start homework! With hybrid learning, students aren’t suffering as much from digital fatigue.
Blended or hybrid coursework provides the chance to work on the computer and in the classroom. Classroom time gives a student’s eyes a break from the computer. It also offers students the opportunity to work alone or with peers- encouraging socialization and collaboration.
If you’ve decided to enroll in a hybrid program, understand your social support needs as you create your schedule. Chat with your potential instructors or campus staff about the chances you’ll have to work in class versus online.
For the courses you’d prefer to complete in the quiet of your own home, select online learning options. (But you can always reach out to your instructor during office hours with any questions.)
A Push for Personal Discipline and Structure
Many students find hybrid learning programs a great motivator in creating accountability, discipline, and structure. These skills are helpful in all career fields.
Because a single person’s schedule may include online and in-person classes, in addition to work and other daily responsibilities, that person must be diligent in sticking to a schedule.
Creating and sticking to a schedule comes with a learning curve. It’s difficult for some students. If you’re someone who struggles with strict schedules, reach out to an academic mentor for help. Or, your student success partner may help you with the time management challenges.
We also suggest investing in a planner to track your due dates and class times. Don’t forget to glance at it each week to prepare yourself! You can certainly set deadlines using your i-phone or android, which can assist you in tracking assignment due dates.
Following a hybrid learning schedule is hectic but becomes easier over time as you get used to it. Students take a while to find their groove, but this flexibility and adaptation come in handy later in life.
An Extension of Learning Beyond the Classroom
One of the main hybrid learning benefits is the extension of learning. Students with only in-person classes tend to compartmentalize their educational experiences. They turn a blind eye to learning once a class is over.
While being able to set mental boundaries can be helpful, an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ mindset isn’t the best when it comes to learning. Learning shouldn’t end when class is over, and hybrid learning reminds us of this.
When enrolling in a hybrid program, take advantage of the learning resources and communication available to you outside of your scheduled classes. Keep in touch via group chats, virtual lounge, or group emails.
Active participation and discussion with your peers reinforce information taught by your instructor. Your learning will move from memorizing facts to understanding concepts.
Are you struggling with understanding something in class? Reach out to peers to see who’s interested in weekly Zoom study groups. Or chat with your instructor about arranging virtual tutoring sessions after the next Zoom lecture.
Many students have been excited to hear their local college provides learning opportunities in the on-campus classrooms for students who need additional time but often are disappointed that it is difficult to access the instructor outside of class.
In-person courses can be challenging for shy or socially anxious people, especially if they can’t get time away from the lectures to meet with the instructor. Students often sit quietly if they feel confused or unsure, negatively impacting their learning experience.
Online spaces can be much better at creating better opportunities for some students. Students who feel afraid to speak out during a lesson may feel more comfortable with online learning. They may also message a peer or instructor individually for deeper communication and/or comprehension. Or, they may be more inclined to send an email or show up for office hours virtually than on-campus.
You need to speak with your instructor if you need additional support in an on-campus or online classroom. It is important to reach out to your instructor, academic mentor, or the school administration to help you resolve the issue.
Decreased Student Absenteeism
Hybrid learning can result in a decrease in student absenteeism.
Let’s be honest. We’re all human, and there are many days we don’t feel like going to class or work. The weather may not be great, or we might be running late due to family or work obligations.
Whatever the reason, having the opportunity to learn from home encourages students to show up even if they don’t want to. Turning on the computer and listening to a lecture seems less hectic than driving to school, finding parking, and walking to the classroom. Did you miss a lesson due to a rough morning? Most virtual lessons in hybrid or fully online learning programs are recorded and posted after regular class time. Posting lectures allow students to re-watch lessons for better understanding.
Hybrid Learning Accommodates the Everyday Life
After breaking down all of the benefits of hybrid learning, it’s safe to say this type of learning accommodates everyday life. Whether someone needs online support or prefers coming into the classroom, hybrid learning is the way of the future!
Are you looking to expand your knowledge and brighten your future? InterCoast Colleges has been training students since 1985.
Take a moment to explore the different certificate and degree programs we offer. Connect with us today to learn more about ICC and our mission.