In 2019-20, the pandemic put educators into a topsy-turvy situation. Many educational institutions waited for corona cases to reduce before they could reopen schools, colleges or universities, and more. Unfortunately, this wait seemed endless in some nations or cities.
Using the learnings of 2019-20 academic sessions, most educators are prepared for running classes online in 2021-22. However, as the Coronavirus plays truant, most educators and decision makers are unsure how things will pan out. Predictions from medical experts cannot be certain as variants of the coronavirus shroud a mystery on how well the vaccination drive is progressing.
Educational institutions are plagued by the question of the safety of their students as they prepare to open colleges and universities. There are mixed reviews across cities globally. While many have reopened, others are offering a hybrid learning model. Read more about the trend in online education.
What is a Hybrid Learning Model?
Colleges are struggling with infrastructure as they follow local administration guidelines for Covid. Such guidelines have advised some schools not to have more than 50% of students at one time in a class.
In many cities and nations globally, colleges and schools have had to restrict students to 50%; 50% will come to the school/university on a Monday, and the balance will come on a Tuesday. They then alternate schedules. Read more about how college desk setup is being done during Covid times.
What happens to the balance of 50%? Are they at a loss? No, they attend the same class remotely/ online simultaneously as those physically present in the classroom. How does that happen? Educators teach 50% of students in a classroom, while the other half joins them online for the class simultaneously. The hybrid learning model is also called synchronous learning. The hybrid learning model meaning has become popular for quite a few students as they don't have to go to the classroom physically.
So if you are wondering how schedules are decided, you are not the only one. Most schools have announced that the priority is to have ninth graders to twelfth graders (A-level students). Why would that be? Two reasons. Firstly, with the vaccines opening up for twelve plus children, these students (between ninth and twelfth grades) would probably be vaccinated. Secondly, these students are in their early university years and prioritize learning as they leave school soon, state some schools. However, others have adapted different guidelines.
What Tools Does Hybrid Learning Include?
Long back, hybrid learning models involved most offline tools as used by long-distance or correspondence classes. Students registered would be sent study material, complete hand-written or type-written assignments, and send these to their tutors by post. There was no online method. Periodically, students would need to come and visit a study center close to their city. Tutors would visit these focus study sessions to clarify and reinforce learnings.
With the advent of hybrid work technology, hybrid learning tools include virtual conferencing, various learning management systems; online whiteboards; online break-out rooms and online discussion forums; audio videos, and more.
Approaches to Hybrid Learning
Corporates and educational institutions have mastered the art of Hybrid Learning. It benefits the users as they can learn at their own pace though broad schedules are set for the curriculum. In addition, interactive hybrid classes are designed for face-to-face interactions.
Educators have researched to find that learning activities that can be done individually and don't need to be synchronized are best done offline (also called asynchronous).
Student groups are brought together periodically to add value by group work or team experiences (synchronous learning). You could do this online or offline – usually the latter. This is approached through lectures, question and answer forums, debates, group activities or group work, including debates, or project work, and more.
Use of Technology
A McKinsey report highlights the increased use of technology in the K-12 education sector. At the same time, many universities had online educational tools, their usage before Covid was limited. So what has changed? The need to resume operations as normal for companies has seen the rising use of a hybrid office. For schools and universities, the need to impart learning not to lose much time has resulted in adapting to the hybrid learning model.
Various technologies including online file management, online meeting tools etc. have come to the rescue. Most commonly used platforms like Webex, Zoom, Google meet, MS-Teams, and others were in heavy demand for virtual conferencing. As a result, schools have moved to other platforms for their benefit, reports the US Department of Education.
Technology has evolved hybrid learning models beyond just virtual calling. Workplaces have realized the benefits of collaborative tools. Without an effective toll, schools and colleges cannot offer a unique and well-rounded learning experience. While virtual platforms described were good to start with, educational institutions need to have stronger It frameworks.
The Autonomous Jam is a great tool for hybrid learning models. Autonomous offers this collaborative solution and is in much demand these days by companies and educational institutions alike. Jam offers to connect to your work team or even a university workgroup to complete discussions and group work. This solution is very simple and easy to use. With no numbers to dial, no need for permissions, you can connect easily.
As a user, simply search for your team member's profiles and check if they are online. If they are, just click to call them. Turn to a private mode for a one-to-one call, or turn back to the group calling. You can even do screen sharing to show the point you wish to discuss. You have various tools like whiteboards or a break-out room available.
Have you tried it yet? It's amazing!
In summary, given the current situation, a hybrid learning model is the best alternative. It gives students time to catch up and learn social skills, frees them from screen time, and encourages a change of learning environment, all of which are important for a healthy body and mind. In addition, technological solutions like Autonomous Jam are proving to be a helpful, collaborative resource for companies and educational institutions alike.
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