Benefits of Hybrid Learning as the New Normal

During the height of COVID-19, online learning became the so-called “new normal.” It’s important to note that some schools, particularly tertiary institutions, and workplace training providers already had existing online programmes pre-pandemic. Nevertheless, it took some time for everyone to adjust and get used to the new setup.

As the global situation improved, it became much safer to conduct face-to-face classes. On the other hand, there are also those who have come to appreciate the convenience of online learning. As such, many establishments chose to transition to a hybrid learning format.

In the simplest of terms, hybrid learning uses traditional and digital methods. As it combines the best of both worlds, so to speak, hybrid learning is able to provide a multitude of benefits that include the following:

Flexibility and Accessibility

One of the best things about hybrid learning is that you can access your courses anywhere using any device. This is ideal for working students or professionals, who may not be able to balance both their job and their educational pursuits if the latter is in a traditional classroom format.

At the same time, learners can also choose to pay an on-site visit and attend a face-to-face instruction should they find it necessary. Whether it’s for social interaction with their fellow learners at the end of the class or for a consultation with their instructor, hybrid learning can easily accommodate varying preferences.

Work-Life Balance

In relation to the previous point, hybrid learning is perfect for those who are working and studying at the same time. With the option to attend either on-site or web classes, people can develop a routine with a healthy work-life balance.

Do keep in mind that a “health” work-life balance may look different for everyone. For example, unmarried individuals have different priorities than married ones; couples with children may also have a different idea of work-life balance than those couples without.

The bottomline is that it can be easier for people to achieve their ideal work-life balance—however it may look—through hybrid learning.

Room for Different Learning Styles

According to various sources, there are up to seven different learning styles. The most popular, perhaps, are those in the VARK model: visual, auditory, reading/writing, and kinaesthetic. There are also learners who do well alone, while others perform better in groups.

Simply put, hybrid learning can better accommodate different learning styles. This is particularly better for adults looking for work-related training, as they likely already know in which kinds of environments or ways of instruction they thrive. As a result, they learn new skills faster and more effectively.

Safety and Overall Well-Being

One of the primary reasons that online learning models thrived during the pandemic is the safety that it afforded both teachers and students. While it’s true that the threat of COVID-19 is not as dire as before, it’s still a threat nonetheless.

With hybrid learning setups, all parties involved can feel much safer. This positively affects one’s peace of mind, which has a direct influence on the quality of instruction and concept absorption.

Cost-Effectiveness

For schools, training providers, and similar establishments, the benefit of hybrid learning is easily appreciable: lower overall costs. A full classroom requires a variety of resources and facilities, and these costs can quickly add up as more students enrol.

Meanwhile, a virtual room only requires a computer or a smartphone and an internet connection. There’s also no need for physical books, because there are digital counterparts that can be downloaded at any time.

For instructors who can’t teach live for any reason, they can opt to record their lecture. Then, learners can access the recording at their most convenient opportunity.

In turn, classrooms can be reserved for lessons that require the physical presence of students, as well as practical examinations and consultations.

Skills Development

Last but certainly not least, hybrid learning fosters the development of various skills beyond those taught by the course. For example, learners can become more discerning of the way they do research by learning how to verify and cross-checking their sources.

Other individual skills that can be honed by hybrid learning include self-learning, self-control, responsibility, and decision-making. In addition, this educational setup also promotes technological literacy.

Many of these are useful “real world” skills, especially in the workplace. This is especially beneficial for those who are looking to get hired for a job, or those angling for a promotion at work.

 

As of this writing, New Zealand is in Phase 3 of its Omicron response plan. A significant portion of the population has also received their vaccines. Nevertheless, the threat of COVID-19 is still very real. Thus, it’s still best to be cautious.

What’s more, even if COVID-19 is completely eradicated or becomes a seasonal disease, many of the “new normal” practices have already proven their benefits. These include things like masking up and, of course, hybrid learning set ups. You can expect these to be prevalent for more years to come.