By Kevin Currie.
Kevin R. Currie is the executive director of Northeastern University Online. He has nearly 30 years of experience in higher education, management, consulting, sales, and training.
You want the real, live interaction and feeling of community that come with in-person classes. But you also like the flexibility of online learning.
It’s a common conundrum, and one that’s led to the rise in popularity of another format: the hybrid course, which is sometimes called “blended” learning. Here, some of the classroom time is replaced by online components.
Many of us believe that hybrid learning can give you the best of both worlds: You get the access and flexibility of an online course with the additional support and comfort of a classroom interaction along with faculty and your classmates.
Here are five things you might not have known about "hybrid" learning - and what you'll get out of it.
1. You manage your time to meet the course deadlines.
During the online portion of your hybrid courses, you manage your own time to meet the week's deadlines and coursework, but during in-class sessions, you still get face-to-face to-do lists and reminders from your professor. Doing it this way can help you develop your skills as an independent learner.
2. You get professor and classmate face time.
Sometimes, you're more comfortable making in-person connections. With face-to-face course components, you can connect with your professor or classmates after class to network or to ask a question, something that can come up big during crunch time.
3. Everyone's equal in online discussions.
During in-person classes, the most extroverted students can often dominate the conversation, leading to fewer viewpoints being shared in discussions. If you're not one of the most forceful personalities in-person, or if you're not comfortable with English as a first language, online courses give everyone the chance to form and contribute a thoughtful response.
4. The learning doesn't stop when you leave the classroom.
In a traditional classroom, you show up for class once or twice a week, and during the time you're not in class, you're not connected or holding discussions with your classmates. In a hybrid class, you're still expected to show up for class when it happens, but you're also actively participating with other students online.
5. It's proven to provide deeper and more effective learning.
If the previous four reasons haven't turned you on to hybrid learning yet, a study by the U.S. Department of Education might. The study, "Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning," compiled research from more than a thousand studies that measured the effectiveness of online, hybrid and in-person learning. The main takeaway from the report was that students found hybrid learning to be the most effective form of learning.