New technology is changing all aspects of our daily lives - from smart home devices to automation in the workplace, whether on the factory floor or in accounting firms. Social distancing, various hygiene measures, as well as protection concepts have become an integral part of our daily lives since the spring of 2020. Society has had to adapt to cope with the current realities. Where personal contact seemed unavoidable in the past, technology is now used because this contact currently has to be massively reduced. Although schools and businesses have partially reopened, COVID has changed the view of how daily life and business can be conducted. Thus, for companies, hybrid work arrangements are moving from being the exception to the rule. The same is true for educational institutions, with the use of the right technological tools, a hybrid learning environment is created that allows learners as well as lecturers to interact continuously and regardless of location.
So what is hybrid learning?
Hybrid learning is an approach to knowledge transfer where face-to-face instruction is combined with distance learning. The main difference between hybrid and blended learning is that blended learning attempts to evenly balance both face-to-face and online components within a course, while hybrid learning focuses on the best option or opportunity at the time for each learning objective. In hybrid learning, for example, a course unit can be used in face-to-face classes with or without a video conferencing component.
The rise of Zoom and other platforms, often thought of as stopgap solutions to traditional face-to-face instruction during lockdown, has also spurred the popularity of hybrid learning. Particularly in the current highly uncertain climate, people want to ensure that students remain engaged. Even when face-to-face classes are held, it is not always possible to ensure that the entire class can physically be there due to various restrictions. Thus, a hybrid learning landscape will continue to be a part of the "new normal." If there are no restrictions on class size in the future, hybrid settings will still remain. This is because location-independent learning will remain as a customer need.
Hybrid Learning is also a great way to easily integrate continuous on-the-job training into workers' daily routines. Busy professionals can now take classes based on their preferences (online, mobile or desktop, or face-to-face ). For example, when learners or even instructors are quarantined or isolated, a hybrid course setting still allows them to attend the seminar. And once they are able to participate in person again, they are free to do so.
How to implement a hybrid learning strategy
Due to the current situation, more people in Switzerland are tied to working from home, whether for professional, family or health reasons, or perhaps simply because they opt for "social distancing" and security. The demand for functioning hybrid learning systems is therefore growing, so that group work can continue regardless of location, classmates can see each other at least virtually, and instructors can interact with their classes. All of this is thanks to the technology that is available to us today. To create a hybrid learning system, several components are needed. These include not only an easy-to-use Learning Management System (LMS) as a unified place where all coursework and documents can be shared and edited, a video conferencing tool (such as Zoom, MS Teams, Cisco Webex), but also hardware consisting of screens, webcams and microphones. The webcams and microphones should be oriented so that the virtual participants can follow what is happening. The screens should also give the physical participants the feeling of being in the course room. It is important to align screens, cameras, microphones and loudspeakers optimally for the physical participants as well as for the remote participants.
Ways a hybrid classroom can look.
Ways a hybrid classroom can look.
There are many different software and hardware providers for hybrid learning solutions on the market. The multitude of options leaves some educational institution managers in despair. That's why at MaxBrain, we've integrated the most popular video conferencing tools like Zoom, Webex, and Teams so that learning and communication can take place on a unified platform that leverages the best software available to create a seamless and engaging hybrid learning environment. We also work with hardware vendors to ensure we can help you find the right equipment for your unique needs.
A long-term strategy that provides your organization with flexibility to anticipate the ever-changing COVID regulations should be deployed. Hybrid course rooms need to be a part of this to switch to a fully online scenario within a short period of time without extensive changes to the course structure or infrastructure. So that courses can continue to be delivered and services provided to ensure your business continuity.
Hybrid Learning with MaxBrain
In Switzerland, MaxBrain already supports leading continuing education institutions such as WEKA, ZFU, VEB.CH and Digicomp with technology and consulting for their hybrid learning strategies. If you also want to create hybrid classrooms, contact your MaxBrain contact person to discuss your needs: firstname.lastname@example.org.