Every student has unique individual learning needs and preferences and a huge advantage of introducing hybrid learning is the increased flexibility that it provides. The hybrid model of learning and teaching has been designed to meet the demands of online and in-person delivery, combining online educational materials and opportunities for interaction online, with traditional place-based classroom methods.
Here are some top tips to make hybrid delivery work for you:
1. Build around what you want students to learn
By fully integrating online and face-to-face instruction and planning interactions, you can ensure that your hybrid course starts on the right foot. With that in mind, your ‘normal’ courses won’t necessarily translate directly to online and nor will they work well by simply adding online components. Instead, start by using the learning objectives to inform and align the delivery method, technology and assessment methods. Think about the best approach to take by considering delivering lessons in-person versus online, in real-time versus allowing students flexibility.
Online learning resources are beneficial in that that they can greatly enhance learning, such as immediate feedback and progress monitoring to allow students to move forward. They can also confirm that students are on the right track.
Some considerations when approaching the online aspects of a hybrid course:
- Are there any education technologies that could assist you, such as adaptive learning which can detect when students are actively engaging?
- Are you using technology for the sake of using it, simply replicating an analogue experience with digital technology? This can bring added problems and complexity without any benefit to the learning experience.
For more in-depth resources, this paper provides a good starting point for thinking about how you might use and adapt digital learning technology in your lessons:
Getting the balance right
Generally, a hybrid programme will include more online, technology-facilitated work and less ‘in-person’ seminars. For example, you could conduct a lecture online and include small in-person face-to-face workshop tutorials each week using a blended learning format. You could also try a flipped learning approach where students complete assigned activities before attending a face-to-face class. Alternatively, you could conduct some of the lessons in a lab, followed by the remaining activities to be completed online.
You can read more about blended learning on our LTE blog pages:
2. Plan effective interactions
Following on from identifying the learning objectives, consider how you will use interactions to facilitate learning:
Learner-instructor interactions. These can include emails, announcements and discussions and are a major element of successful learning.
Learner-learner interactions. Collaborative group work and peer review activities can either happen at the same time in person or online. Face-to-face, synchronous interactions are good for creating a sense of spontaneity and connection, but not as good at fostering participation or giving flexibility. Conversely, online, asynchronous interactions encourage participation, depth of reflection, and flexibility, but they can lack spontaneity and connection and may let students procrastinate.
Learner-content interactions. These include activities such as reading content, watching a video, or working through a problem-based learning scenario.
3. Integrate the experiences
Think about how you could design online and in-person interactions so that they are joined up. For example, you could use scenario or problem-based learning for the online learning component, then invite questions from your students or provide suitable learning activities based on these when you meet in person.
4. Craft a learner-centred approach to learning
By promoting independent learning, we are encouraging and enabling our students to become self-directed in their learning experiences. One of the benefits of the hybrid model is that you can provide them with the tools necessary for them to take control of their learning. Start by enabling students to choose how they engage with the content, then encourage them to monitor and reflect on their learning.
5. Support student success
Setting clear expectations from the outset, as well as built-in support for self-directed learning will further support success as part of the student learning journey. Encourage students to plan, evaluate their understanding and develop their study skills as part of reflective practice. To further support their success, help them use the tools by holding a technology ‘onboarding’ session on how to use the technology and where to go for help. This scaffolding approach will not only take some of the pressure off you as an academic, it will also provide your students with valuable soft skills needed for success in the workplace.
6. Flexible Assessment for a hybrid model
Assessment has a major impact on students and their learning whatever the delivery model (face-to-face, online, blended). Developing and deploying flexible and innovative assessment supports the need to be responsive to the requirements of a hybrid model of learning and teaching and the possibility of a combination of on-campus and online delivery from September 2020.
Flexibility in assessment is about responding to students’ individual learning needs as well as needs of the curriculum. The key is making assessment relevant to the learner. The proliferation of learning technologies and tools coupled with increasing diversification of learner profiles and pathways through our courses provides the context for developing flexible assessment. Here technology is a key enabler for a personalised and active blended learning experience.
You can read more about Flexible Assessment for a hybrid model on our LTE blog page:
7. Continuously improve
When a hybrid learning course is well designed, the students are more likely to have a positive experience. Student voice can be meaningful and beneficial to guiding course revisions, additional tweaking and overall satisfaction. This can easily be done on an informal basis throughout course delivery, in-person or online. Some questions you could ask:
- What aspects of the course or instruction are helping you learn?
- What challenges, if any, are you facing while engaging in hybrid learning? Are there changes in teaching approaches that could help address these challenges?
- What strategies are most effective at helping you stay engaged with your peers and teaching staff during hybrid learning?
These questions are designed to help students think about what is working, to let you know where they face challenges, and to leverage their knowledge of their situations to help identify solutions. The answers should help you identify which strategies and approaches you can lean on and which you should adjust in the coming weeks of delivery.
Principles of Course Design for Hybrid Learning Toolkit
The Principles of Course Design for Hybrid Learning Toolkit is is a collection of good practice and are suggestions and recommendations for course and module teams to consider in their planning of a course/module for a high-quality online student academic experience to meet student expectations and student engagement in learning. The focus of this work is on how to design courses and modules for Hybrid Learning, particularly focusing on the design of the online components.
The toolkit is a downloadable document available on the LTE Unity pages (you will need to log in using your university credentials to access this). You can access the document via this page: https://blogs.tees.ac.uk/lteonline/learning-and-teaching/principles-of-course-design-for-hybrid-learning/
Working through this resource will raise questions and will have helped identify additional staff development needs to design meaningful and innovative curriculum.
Please contact email@example.com for further support. We offer 1-1 coaching sessions with Principal Lecturers, Digital Learning Developers or Online Learning Designers via Microsoft Teams.