Many schools are exploring ways to make education more flexible. A few methods have been put to the test, such as hybrid and blended learning. These methods allow for some choice in where, when, and how students learn. In fact, many students are more comfortable with hybrid and blended learning, and even learn better in these settings than traditional ones. After all, learning is an individual process. The collaborative learning environment of online learning methods enhances this process.
To be clear, hybrid and blended learning are not two separate learning methods. Indeed, they can co-occur, and the two terms are often also used interchangeably. However, the difference between hybrid learning vs online learning becomes most prominent during the learning approach each method presents.
What is Hybrid Learning?
In hybrid learning, instructors and teachers teach remote and in-person students simultaneously via video conference. In other words, hybrid learning is when some students participate in person, and some participate online for the same class.
That being the case, hybrid learning is rather difficult to successfully execute as it requires teachers to concurrently pay attention to two groups of students. As such, hybrid learning is best-suited for lecture formats, though only lecture classes are not effective for all.
Similarly, in this sense, hybrid learning has some limitations. For example, if a teacher does an in-person demonstration of an abstract or complex topic, remote learners may struggle to grasp and participate with the material.
Benefits of Hybrid Learning
Despite its shortcomings though, hybrid learning has many advantages. It enables accessibility, especially for those unable to attend physical classes. Hybrid learning especially benefits students, specifically international students who are unable to attend in-person classes for financial or familial reasons. It is a good option for students who are less financially buoyant.
Similarly, hybrid learning also enables courses to keep running even if circumstances lead to shutting down of the school’s physical location, as was the case during the pandemic. Additionally, schools without enough classroom space to fit large numbers of students can also save money and space. Hybrid learning also gives schools and institutions the ability to take in any number of students as the availability of seats isn’t an issue.
On top of that, it’s cost-effective, not only for students but for schools too. With hybrid learning, school systems must only make initial investments in hardware, software, and access. School administrators can then direct the investments for the long term.
Hence, when it comes to conclusively understanding the difference between hybrid learning vs blended learning, one should think in terms of the learning context and module; the term “hybrid” refers to the presence of the students. Some are physically present in the class themselves while others are remotely present.
What is Blended Learning?
In blended learning, teachers combine in-person instruction with online learning. Unlike hybrid learning, blended learning doesn’t require teachers to split their attention between groups of students.
When executed well, blended learning enhances education in ways neither online nor traditional in-person learning could. It also allows teachers to use teaching formats that work best, considering progress, lesson content, student needs, class objectives, and goals.
One of the best examples of blended learning is the flipped classroom: teachers provide students content and lessons before class and students research (through books or online materials) and prepare in advance. Once class starts, students can review content, present views and findings, and ask questions.
How Teachers Benefit from Blended Learning
As mentioned, blended learning also benefits teachers, allowing them to balance traditional classroom instruction while encouraging students to take control of their learning journeys. Teachers act as mentors, altering a traditional classroom’s “top-down” approach to be more “bottom-up.”
Likewise, in blended learning, the learning process is also more student-driven. Because of the customizable attribute, this method provides a good balance between online instruction and teacher-led instruction.
At the same time, this method also provides teachers with a more comprehensive picture of how students are performing. The data gathered from online learning platforms, such as Fuse Classroom, relay comprehensive information about academic areas students struggle with. Using this, teachers can accordingly intervene and support students’ needs.
Blended learning also enables more frequent and personal teacher-student interactions. Because blended learning enhances self-learning, teachers can be free to give attention to students’ struggles and needs. This module combines the best aspects of online and direct instruction. Thus, it helps teachers and students efficiently manage the learning process without adding to the workload. In conclusion, the difference between hybrid learning vs blended learning when thought in terms of the learning context- the term “blended” refers to the learning activities. Students can blend the learning activities and complete some components online and do others in person.
To summarize, choosing the right option when it comes to hybrid learning vs blended learning depends on the specific needs of the school and the students. When one gets right down to it, both hybrid and blended learning are on the rise, given their flexibility and positive results. Both provide dynamic ways for students to learn. Teachers also get the opportunity to expand the courses. In addition, they also help administrators do their jobs. As education becomes digitized, educators should consider ways they can incorporate different learning methods into their curricula.
Furthermore, you can also read our previous blog that discusses the difference between eLearning and online learning: eLearning vs Online Learning – What’s the Difference?
Fuse Classroom is an AI-enabled all-inclusive online education platform by Fusemachines, featuring online-live classroom experiences and tutoring, student-progress tracking, interactive online learning, and data-driven methods for an easy, effective, and optimized online learning experience. The developers have embedded in Fuse Classroom AI-assisted learning features. Attributes like the Student Status, Activity Recommendation, Automated Discussion Forums, Question Answering Systems, and a Chatbot Interface offer many benefits. Such facets make it easy to assess student progress, recommend study material, or automatically answer student questions. The platform’s Learning Management System (LMS) and the Student Management System (SIS) also enable tracking academic and student information in one centralized location. Learn more about Fuse Classroom in our About section.