We have always known that technology is rapidly changing all aspects of our daily lives - from smart home devices to automation in the workplace whether on the factory floor or in auditing firms. Current circumstances have required life to become more flexible and with less in person contact providing a void that is being filled by technology. Social distancing and other hygienic measures are a constant part of our lives since the first lockdown in March 2020. Society has had to adapt and change to accommodate “the new normal”, and even though schools and businesses have reopened - COVID has fundamentally changed the view on how daily life and business can be led. For businesses, hybrid work will be more the norm than the exception due to cost saving possibilities such as the reduction of office infrastructure due to increase in remote workers. Meanwhile in education, hybrid learning has been adopted by educators and institutions making use of technology we have on hand, to create the best possible experience for their learners and circumstances.
So what is hybrid learning?
Hybrid learning is a course delivery approach that combines face-to-face classroom instruction with distance learning. The main difference between hybrid and blended learning is that while blended learning tries to balance both in person and online components equally within a course, hybrid learning focuses on the best option for each learning objective. Hybrid learning can utilize classroom sessions with or without a video conferencing component. The rise of Zoom and other video conferencing platforms as an emergency solution to traditional face-to-face instruction during lockdown also drove the popularity of hybrid learning, as institutions look for ways to maintain engagement and collaboration among students and normalize the abnormal situation we’ve found ourselves in.
Combined with the ability to harness technologies to customize content and create more engaging learning experiences for learners, hybrid learning is also a great alternative to easily integrate continuous workplace education into the day-to-day routine of professionals. Busy professionals can now learn based on their preferences (online from whichever device or in person) or availability. For instance, if they are quarantined or in isolation, they will still be able to join their seminar or continue with the course digitally. And once it is possible for them to join in person again, they are free to do so.
How to implement a hybrid learning strategy
With the infection rate climbing to new heights in Switzerland again, more people are homebound whether due to work or family obligations, or simply choosing to socially distance and stay safe. Hybrid learning set ups allow them to continue in group work, see their fellow course mates including others that are joining online or those who are present in the classroom. This is all thanks to technology that we have at hand today. Not only does it take an easy to use learning management platform (LMS) as a unified place where all coursework and documents can be shared and edited and a video conferencing tool, but also hardware such as webcams and microphones set up in hybrid classrooms. The webcams and microphones should be set up in such a way that participants joining virtually are shown on a screen and speakers are set up so that they can be heard by the professor and learners who are attending in person. Additionally, microphones need to be placed so that virtual learners can hear what the professor and fellow students in the classroom are saying - all in real time.
Example of students in a hybrid learning session
Example of classroom setup for teachers and professors leading a hybrid learning session
There are numerous software and hardware providers out there that it may seem daunting to even know where to begin. That’s why at MaxBrain, we have integrated the most popular video conferencing tools such as Zoom, Webex and Teams so that learning and communication can take place on a unified platform leveraging the best software available to create a seamless and engaging hybrid learning environment. We also partner with hardware providers to ensure that we can help you find the right equipment to suit your individual needs. Many hardware providers also have equipment sets available that are portable for setup different venues or others for fixed setup in a classroom.
A long term strategy that provides flexibility for your business to withstand ever changing COVID landscape and regulations. With a hybrid strategy in place, it is also very easy to switch to a completely online scenario without further change to course structure or infrastructure to ensure business continuity and doesn't interrupt course timings and agenda. Furthermore, hybrid learning allows for events and seminars to take place and even presents an opportunity to allow for potential participants who in the past have not been able to attend due to travel distances/time or sickness to join at a comfortable and safe distance.
Hybrid Learning with MaxBrain
MaxBrain is happy to already support leading further education clients such as VEB.CH, Digicomp, EMBA UZH, ZfU and WEKA with technology for their hybrid learning strategies. Contact our learning consultants to discuss your use case and needs at the following email free of charge: firstname.lastname@example.org.