The COVID-19 pandemic caused schools across the country to close their doors and pivot to a remote learning platform that kept students safer at home while still allowing their teachers to lead them in classroom instruction. Through platforms such as Zoom, Google Meet, and Google Classroom, educators were still able to reach their students despite the distance.
Two years later, as most schools plan to open their doors and welcome students back just as in the pre-COVID days, some schools have seen that taking a hybrid approach may help further their mission of meeting the needs of all their students. Because every student learns differently, has different strengths, and faces different challenges, these schools have incorporated an online component into their curriculum to give extra attention and guidance to those who learn better at home.
Also called blended learning or mixed-mode learning, a hybrid learning platform takes the best of in-person and distance learning to cover all the bases. Students can enjoy the socialization and sense of belonging that comes with in-person instruction but also use distance learning tools to channel their focus into lessons with no distractions via the use of noise-canceling headphones and headsets.
This is by no means a new approach to learning. Many colleges and universities were operating on a hybrid format long before the onset of the pandemic in 2020, with higher-education students being allowed to pursue their degrees online, on campus, or a mixture of both. This blended learning format gives students greater flexibility to complete their degrees on their own time, which can be a major benefit for adult students returning to school while working full time or raising a family.
K-12 institutions that have implemented a hybrid learning format have reported benefits such as increased student engagement, improved comprehension, greater student autonomy, and the ability to gather more digital data for enhanced educator insights. Students also enjoy the flexibility they are allowed for completing assignments, attending lectures, and more without always having to come to a brick-and-mortar school.
Additionally, parents can benefit from a hybrid learning format by having a greater ability to participate in their child’s education and view their progress on a day-to-day basis. For parents who don’t necessarily want to homeschool their children but also don’t feel that the traditional school structure is best for them, hybrid learning is an ideal solution!
The pandemic may be winding to a close, but that doesn’t mean we need to abandon remote learning altogether. The success that hybrid schools are finding with using both an online and in-person approach to learning is an indicator that the landscape of school is changing for the better. Thanks to technology, we have to make school flexible, accessible and engaging for all.