Hybrid Education System: Enabling better learning skills for New Age Education | Expert Speak
The Indian education sector has traditionally been an entirely offline affair. The advent of the internet and increased access to the digital sphere has transformed this system. E-learning and digitisation have opened up new and exciting pathways within the education sector and allowed vastly more people to attain knowledge and qualifications. When coupled with the increased proliferation of home computers and internet-capable smart phones, and supported by affordable data nationwide, this change has gradually been taking place over the last decade.
The pandemic has kicked this shift into overdrive. With the nation in lockdown for much of the preceding year, strict social distancing measures, and educational institutes shut down, online learning became the only viable alternative for the sector. Resources and learning material were shifted to the cloud, classes went digital, and smart phones and laptops became the primary tools of education.
The second wave is now receding and schools across the country are slowly beginning to reopen. That doesn’t mean that the threat is behind us though, with the country already preparing itself for a third wave. In order to maintain COVID protocols while also ensuring the newfound flexibility of online learning isn’t lost, the education sector has begun to explore a number of new education models. Thus far, hybrid learning has proved itself the most promising.
Defining the term
At its most basic, hybrid learning is a mode of education that combines in-class and online learning. By melding traditional classroom experiences, experiential learning objectives, and digital course delivery, hybrid learning provides educators the opportunity to utilise the best option for each learning objective. This puts it in contrast with blended learning. Although blended learning is similar due to its use of online learning resources, the key differentiation arises in the way these resources are used. While hybrid learning integrates its online components as an integral part of the overall curriculum, blended learning considers online material supplementary to its primary medium of face-to-face instruction.
The Benefits of Hybrid Learning
As hybrid learning continues to establish itself as an effective and efficient learning model, the advantages it offers over both traditional and online learning are becoming increasingly apparent. By combining the flexibility and safety of learning from home with the benefits of hands-on interactions with educators, hybrid learning stands to offer both students and teachers access to the best of both worlds. Other benefits to this approach include:
Tailor-Made Learning Solutions
Traditional classrooms have always approached education with a one-size-fits-all mindset. A predetermined curriculum would be decided upon and every student would be measured against its standard. The introduction of hybrid classrooms has changed this equation. Through the integration of adaptive practice modules developed with the aid of technology, students now have access to an effective learning experience that caters to different learning styles. Various understanding levels are acknowledged and addressed and students are encouraged to learn at a pace that best suits them.
This technology-aided online component is also supplemented by hands-on sessions at physical locations. Directly interfacing with professors and their peers allows for real-time engagement, the clearing of doubts, and the building of meaningful relationships. These are subsequently carried over to the online portions of the course.
Introducing Flexibility to the Educational Experience
Hybrid learning maximizes the flexibility available to its participants by creating minimal touchpoints. This extends to virtually every aspect of the experience. The schedule, the students’ location, the way in which they engage with their syllabus, and the means through which they communicate all provide the maximum freedom possible. Concept classes are available to students in a recorded version, aiding in their revision and providing a central database of knowledge that is always accessible. This flexibility is further reinforced by allowing students to schedule their visits to the physical centre for face-to-face learning sessions. By giving students the freedom to structure their education in a manner that best suits them, their overall engagement and interest in learning are further elevated.
Efficient Application of Resources
India’s formal education system is amongst the largest in the world, with over 260 million students and over 30 million undergraduate and postgraduate learners. While undoubtedly impressive, these massive figures bring with them many problems. Hybrid learning is a pathway through which the education sector can overcome the issues that have consistently hindered its growth in India. By incorporating the latest technological advancements many of these factors can be mitigated – costs are massively reduced, geographical distance is no longer a concern, and overcrowded classrooms and a lack of qualified teachers become issues of the past.
The introduction of hybrid learning provides both sides of the classroom with an answer to the challenges posed by this pandemic. Teachers have greater freedom to structure and deliver courses that resonate with their students. Learners are similarly empowered to complete their education in an environment that combines the latest technological advancements with hands-on interactions. In the era of the new normal, hybrid learning offers the education sector a path forward.
About the Expert
Gaurav Goel (Co-founder & CEO) Toprankers.com