This Is Why Hybrid Learning Is Here To Stay
The pandemic finally forced us to deal with our inefficient education system
We’re witnessing a sea change in the way that schools deliver instruction and how students learn. In fact, education as a whole is undergoing a paradigm shift.
In the last two decades, universities have been offering online classes in myriad subjects — often times for free. This has been invaluable for students who have neither the time nor income to attend in-person classes.
Both students and administrators know that this model works and benefits both parties. Of course, not all subjects can be substituted with online lectures and quizzes. Laboratories can’t be digitized, neither can workshops.
What this proves is that schools can function within hybrid models: existing as both physical and digital spaces. Additionally, much like most mobile education apps like Khan Academy, a freemium model is essential.
We’ve learned a thing or two from students and the online-learning model since the beginning of the pandemic.
Health & wellness
For obvious reasons, reducing the number of students in school on any given day has a preventative outcome in regards to coronavirus transmission. Fewer students at school also means more resources become available for those in attendance. No more crowded classrooms. Also, teachers aren’t overwhelmed by droves of students and can offer them more attention.
Our time is important
Mobile technology allows us to do more in a day than ever before. And remote learning grants more students access to educational opportunities.
Students take the lead
The role of the teacher— as Millennials know it — is dead. What’s taken over in prior years is a new pedagogical role that facilitates learning.
Self-guided learning is the current leading pedagogical methodology. It’s an idea that gives students responsibility over their own learning.
50 years ago, this idea would have been unconscionable. Traditional multinational models have always instructed via the tabula rasa methodology. This assumes that a student enters a classroom with a blank slate which the teacher fills with information.
Instruction and discipline
Tutors used to teach definitive way of writing an essay or solving an equation. Their methodology was conservative. There was only one right way of teaching, and if the students demonstrated a lack of comprehension, it was a sign of either delinquency or stupidity.
Scolding and corporal punishment was commonplace. Experts tell us that positive reinforcement is not only more effective, but more ethical. Thankfully, our methods of teaching and disciplining have evolved.
Regrettably, much has indeed stayed the same. Administrative bodies still assess students’ aptitude in unfair and inequitable ways. Tests take little consideration regarding a student’s disabilities or socio-economic background.
Format and standardization
School administrators perpetuate an arcane and austere classroom format. More progressive schools have gotten rid of rows of chairs and instead adopted a more communicative learning format like table groups. But by and large, teachers still expect students to sit quietly in a room for several hours if only to display obeisance.
Online models at least allow students freedom to set their own schedules and choose a comfortable environment in which to learn. This freedom accommodates and enhances students’ learning experience better than any school can.
In many ways, we’re more productive when we can work from home. We’re in a more comfortable environment, can attend to housework more conveniently and spend more time with our loved ones.
Students and administrators know that distance learning is the way of the future — even while it’s not ideal for social and behavioral development.
Young students should be in physical contact with their own kind. But if online learning is just as academically effective — if not more than — in-person instruction, then we shouldn’t rush to fill our classrooms again. Let’s have it both ways.
We ought to utilize the technology that’s presently at our fingertips to supplement our children's schooling.
Not all students perform their best when they’re forced out of bed. Disrupting their sleep cycles — circadian rhythms — can lead to stunted brain development.
Dr. Mathew Walker writes in his book Why We Sleep on the myth of the night owl and the early lark. He argues that, due to evolution, some of us are biologically programmed to rise early and sleep early, while others rise late and sleep late. Forcing a night owl to conform to an early-morning schedule guarantees that they will underperform until their brains finally wake up later in the day.
Since many classes have moved online, we should remove schedule requirements and allow students to learn when they are most productive. Hybrid learning via Zoom and videos on demand can help students access lessons when they’re best able to learn.
The future is now
The pandemic forced schools to adapt to a digital model. Technology was the lifeboat that preserved our modern way of life. Though many seek a return to a more unplugged existence, it’s not a viable option.
We were already approaching a hybrid model of education decades before the pandemic. Instead of backpedaling, let’s assess the benefits — accessibility, convenience and a freer schedule — before we send students back full-time.