Schools are understandably grappling with how to provide learning in 2021. For planning purposes, it is impossible to know for certain what level of disruption to class time there will be. Faced with this uncertainty, there is a clear need to redesign learning for resiliency. A hybrid learning model, combining online tuition and face-to-face teaching in the classroom, can support ongoing learning while providing schools with the flexibility to adapt as circumstances evolve.
The sustained period of time many students spent out of school in 2020 has created a learning deficit that the coming year’s tuition will aim to plug. It’s unlikely technology point solutions, such as document sharing, word processing and video conferencing apps, alone will address the challenge. A comprehensive learning solution is required for teachers to provide instruction, activities, engagement and communication, all the while leveraging best practice pedagogies for online learning to meet the needs of all students.
The hybrid classroom
The challenge is to accommodate students both face-to-face and through distributed learning, teaching in–person one day and fully online the next, seamlessly and without interruption of learning. Such a hybrid learning model relies on a number of factors:
- Student access to suitable devices (which may not always be laptops/PCs but could be mobile/ smart devices)
- Digital infrastructure
- Professional development in online and blended pedagogy for teachers.
It is a different approach to tuition and, while significant experience will have been gained from 2020, it still requires a particular mindset and approach to teaching.
In-person days are used as ‘flipped’ learning days in the hybrid classroom. This means that students use their face-to-face time to seek help from teachers on the lessons and assignments given online. Teachers can provide in-person interventions and individualised and small group support, as well as address the social and emotional needs of students.
Of course, the situation is likely to remain unpredictable in the coming months with a higher than usual level of online teaching still required. The aim is that this is possible across schools, without adding to teaching staff workload or compromising the quality of student tuition.
8 tips for hybrid learning
With this in mind, the following provides a set of tips for the hybrid classroom:
- Set learning objectives, activities, and content for students to complete on a weekly or daily basis. Students then submit evidence of their learning and activity completion through the learning platform
- Keep students connected, engaged and informed through 1-2-1 support, discussions, the attainment of ‘awards’ and a range of content formats
- Provide group and individual student feedback in a variety of ways according to the task – assignment annotations, post-engagement discussions and video-based feedback are all possible through the learning platform
- Individualise learning pathways according to each student’s starting level and needs. It needn’t be time-consuming to create personalised content, activities and assessments with release conditions and other features within the learning platform
- Keep students on track through timely interventions made possible by the tracking and measurement the platform enables. Use student engagement data (such as logins and time spent online) and learning analytics to inform when to provide additional check-ins and touchpoints
- Provide social engagement opportunities through group assignments and activities, student-to-student video feedback and virtual social clubs
- Address welfare needs by providing school counselling and other student welfare services through connections via the learning platform and the provision of resources
- Involve parents by encouraging them to view assignments, activities, due dates, feedback and grades.
A comprehensive learning solution, through a hybrid model, can help resilience in education during 2021. A learning platform can functionally enable the hybrid learning model and provide teachers with the ability to meet student needs. That’s the medium, but it’s teachers who make it happen through their instructional methods and strategies for success, so help, support and training on technology-enabled learning will be even more essential this coming year.
To find out more about the hybrid classroom download our eBook here.
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