Hybrid Teaching & Learning - Future of Education

When does a student or a learner benefit the most?

Or when do we achieve the fullest teaching-learning objectives? This is when the pace of learning is comfortable for the learner. In the pedagogical tool "lecture" the contents are delivered at a common pace for 60 students. Adjusting the lecture pace to suit individual learners is not feasible. Even experienced teachers cannot overcome this aspect to a certain extent. Effective learning depends on the student revisiting the lecture and understanding the contents at his own comfortable pace, which at most times is difficult. First, the student cannot recollect the entire lecture discussion or cannot "rewind" the lecture. Second, there would be multiple lectures delivered in a day, and revisiting all of them within the same day would be near impossible. Trying to revisit the lectures later or just before the exam would be much less fruitful.

The hybrid instructional methodology is a teaching and learning approach that combines in-class lecture methods with technology-assisted video lectures. This concept addresses the problem of different learning paces of students. To every student, the contents related to the concept, model solutions to basic problems, and some exercises are delivered in the asynchronous mode. The concept applies to business problems along with doubt resolution if any are conducted in the synchronous mode. This pedagogical approach offers a mix of face-to-face and online class activities. The integration of synchronous and asynchronous learning tools thus provides an optimal solution for an effective learning process.

Hybrid learning is the term given to the educational practice of combining digital learning tools with more traditional classroom face-to-face teaching. In a true hybrid learning environment, both student and teacher should be physically located in the same space or digitally connected with a live session. This process then assures that the learning is maximized with a student completing the asynchronous content at his own time, space & pace with the self-learning getting reinforced in the classroom lecture. The lectures would cover the application of the concepts, problem-solving, and critical thinking required for managerial solutions to business problems.

An important element is that the student should complete the asynchronous component before attending the synchronous lecture on that topic. If for some reason this requirement is not complied with, it would render the process ineffective. A quiz or a test and a minimum cut-off for eligibility to attend the lecture sessions should be informed in advance.

Resources such as video lectures, podcasts, recordings, and articles would be provided to students before each class. This then frees up time in class for teachers to support students in activities, lead discussions and facilitate engagement.

As per Herbert Simmons, “Enlightenments, like accidents, happen only to prepared minds.”

What is the benefit of Hybrid Teaching to the Student?

As mentioned earlier in this write-up, self-learning at your own pace is the best way to learn a new concept. The competition should be between you v/s you. Doubts, suggestions, and applications of the concepts will get addressed by faculty in class. Generally, in the present format, the students refer to google search for answers to their queries and doubts. However, in Hybrid teaching, the structured narrative in the concept-building stages would present the concepts better. The National Education Policy (NEP) prefers to refer to this concept as Education 4.0. The NEP states its objective as satisfying the stakeholders, which is the student or learner, and believes that the hybrid model is in their best interest. Harvard Business Publishing provides teaching resources for Hybrid Teaching. The resources cover pedagogical tools to make student engagement better in the asynchronous mode and the synchronous mode. The convenience of timing for the asynchronous mode is perhaps the biggest benefit of this model. The possibility of start-stop pause rewind and replay works in the best interest of the students.

What is the benefit of Hybrid Teaching to the Faculty?

Most B-schools grapple with a perennial shortage of experienced faculty and the right faculty for multiple classes. Hybrid teaching has advantages like the recruits or junior faculties can also observe the video sessions of experienced faculties and hone their teaching skills. The lecture time will be best utilized for the important aspects of interaction, participation, and business applications. The recruiting companies are looking out for conceptual clarity in the students along with the concept application to real-life situations. In the exiting format of a lecture-only model, it takes more time and effort to get the concepts across to the entire class. The question raised by students with diverse backgrounds and the different pace of learning cuts the available time for covering the important aspects. The faculty should focus more on giving feedback to the students. The feedback for improvement is very valuable. The hybrid model and the asynchronous component evaluations with LMS (learning management systems) is an effective methods of giving feedback to the students.

The flexibility provided by the Hybrid Learning model can be applied to any course under most B-school MBA programs. It is a lot more effective and likable than anything in the past. Most leading global B-schools are at the forefront of using the Hybrid model of teaching as they see ample merit in it.

What is the benefit of Hybrid Teaching to the B-school?

The cost of such a hybrid model is lower than the in-class teaching model cost. The teaching hours are distinctly less and around 1/3rd of the original hours. The asynchronous components can be repeated in other divisions and across multiple courses, wherever feasible. The assessment of quizzes and preparedness for the class will be done by the LMS automatically, and this reduces the effort required in conducting the examinations. The students are now better prepared with concept application knowledge and can solve real-life problems. The hybrid model helps in the holistic development of the management graduates.

The institute can assure the uniform quality of teaching across divisions, as the asynchronous component remains the same. When multiple faculties are teaching the course, each faculty could contribute to the combined asynchronous teaching component. The institute is better able to monitor the delivery of content in the classrooms and the easily measurable learning outcomes. Further, for audit purposes or documentation for any certification process, these technology-enabled pedagogical tools would be much appreciated.

Advantages of Hybrid Learning

  • Increased student engagement in learning.
  • Enhanced teacher and student interaction.
  • Responsibility for learning.
  • Time management and flexibility
  • Improved student learning outcomes
  • Enhanced institutional reputation.
  • More flexible teaching and learning environment
  • More amenable to self and continuous learning
  • Better opportunities for experiential learning

Requirements for Hybrid Learning

  • Learning Management Software (LMS).
  • Asynchronous Content delivery expertise.
  • Experienced teacher for the synchronous component
  • Adequate time for the students to onboard the asynchronous component.
About the Author
Author: Pradeep Pai
Professor with higher education teaching experience of over 32 years in leading B schools. I believe in creating magic in the classroom even for the most difficult quantitative subjects like Business Statistics, Operations Research, Project Management, Supply Chain Analytics, and Services Operations Analytics.

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