The Future of Instructional ModelsBy Amy Fanter
Hybrid instruction, a combination of online and traditional
classroom instruction is the latest trend in higher
Mention the word hybrid, and the first thing that's liable to come to most people's minds is a vehicle that runs on a combination of gas and electricity. However, for those in higher education, the word hybrid brings to mind something entirely different--the concept of hybrid instruction.
What Is It?
Hybrid instruction, or hybrid courses, refer to classes where
there is a carefully planned blend of both traditional classroom
instruction and online learning activities. In other words,
hybrid classes combine the best of both styles of instruction.
Students are able to make a meaningful connection with their
instructors, as well as other students, and yet they are no
longer required to travel to campus on a regular basis in order
to attend courses because the majority of the coursework can be
completed on the Internet.
In order to make their classes "Internet-ready," many instructors
must adjust their class content--particularly their lecture
materials. However, in doing so, they are often making their
materials more effective than traditional classroom instruction.
The reason? Rather than having students sit in a lecture hall
taking notes, instructors can teach through more
"active-learning" assignments such as case studies, self-tests,
tutorials, and online group projects, all of which takes place
over the Internet.
Benefits of Hybrid Instruction
While there are some detractors who are against the
"hybridization" of learning, there are, in fact, several
advantages of hybrid instruction, the least of which is how it
reduces traffic on campus and frees up valuable classroom space.
In addition to these rather unusual benefits, some of the most
important educational benefits are how hybrid courses help
improve writing and computer skills. In addition, hybrid classes
also encourage self-directed learning, time management,
problem-solving, and critical-thinking skills in those who
participate in the programs. However, while these additional
benefits are certainly important, one question remains: Does
hybrid instruction allow for greater subject-matter knowledge
than strictly online courses or traditional classroom
Learning More, More Effectively
While it's still fairly new, many instructors are reporting good
success with hybrid courses, and here's why: Students are
required to do more work on their own--and this kind of "active
learning" results in better test performance and what is known as
subject mastery (or subject knowledge). In addition, students in
hybrid programs are more likely to participate in group
discussions and collaborate online with other students because
there is not only ample opportunity to prepare a response, but
also because they are not physically speaking in front of a
group. In fact, hybrid class participants tend to be more
outgoing and responsive because they are "speaking" online versus
in a classroom setting. However, even though students seem more
confident about being involved with discussions online, it is
important to keep in mind that it is because of the actual
on-campus classroom component that students are more likely to
find success in a hybrid course than in a strictly online
The Hybrid Advantage
In addition to the obvious academic advantages, hybrid courses
are also making it easier for more people to get a quality
education. That's because hybrid programs require only limited
on-campus attendance, which means these kinds of college programs
are now more accessible to more people in more places, which is
perhaps the biggest advantage of all.
Schools offering hybrid (classroom/campus + online) programs:
University of Phoenix (FlexNet®)
Teaching And Learning Center (http://courses.durhamtech.edu/tlc/www/html/Special_Feature/hybridclasses.htm)
About the Author
Amy Fanter can be found working hard for her clients most mornings and playing with her daughter most afternoons.
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