When you hear the phrase “Hybrid classes,” what comes to mind? If you are to consider the idea, what would you say are Hybrid Classes Pros and Cons? The truth is that these days, teaching is different from what it used to be in the past. That’s because we now explore other ways to do the same thing—passing teacher to students’ information—thanks to the advancement in technology. Before now, in-person meetings, facilitated by classrooms on campus, was the most common means of teaching. However, virtual classes and online platforms where students can access course materials, interact with teachers, pick and submit assignments have also gained prominence—welcome to the twenty-first century!
Aside from in-person classroom teaching and online classes, another means of teaching that has gained prominence recently is the Hybrid college classes. Many schools are beginning to employ this teaching strategy and making it a thing for students. What are hybrid classes? How did this system of teaching come into existence? How effective can it be? And what are its pros and cons? We’ll be looking into these questions and more in the following paragraphs of this article. Continue reading, and let’s take you on this journey!
- What are Hybrid College Classes?
- History of Hybrid Classes for College Students
- Types of Hybrid Classes
- Hybrid Classes Pros and Cons
What are Hybrid College Classes?
No system, they say, is a hundred percent effective. The same applies to traditional classes’ methods of teaching. As effective as it can be, it has its downsides. That’s why modern-day system advocates propose replacing formal classroom learning with online teaching. But, this method is not also free from downsides. Its downsides have been the major points for those who advocate that we keep the traditional classroom setting. But, let’s imagine it this way; what if we have a blend of both systems? Well, that’s where hybrid classes for college students come in.
Hybrid classes refer to the system designed to make students complete part of their school work in person and the other part of the class in an online setting—through virtual learning platforms. It’s different from the traditional classroom setting and online classes because students only take 25-50% of physical classes and then complete the rest of the school activities online. The structure of hybrid classes differs according to schools. In some schools, students meet for physical classes up to three times a week. In some other schools, they meet less frequently, relying on online sessions to fulfill the other part of learning—depending on how well the school weighs Hybrid classes Pros and Cons for college students.
History of Hybrid Classes for College Students
The concept of a hybrid class is not new. It has been in existence since the early 1840s. It’s a system designed by Sir. Isaac Pitman in the form of distance learning courses. Though the concept was in existence in various forms before then, Pitman’s concept has a closer resemblance to Hybrid learning as we know it today. Even since then, the idea grew into multiple forms, using different tools such as the Mainframe computer-based training, TV-based training that supported live teaching, CD-ROM training, and graduated into Web-based Training. The first generation web-based training is what graduated into what we know today as online training. A blend of it with the traditional classes gives us the hybrid classes of the twenty-first century.
Though the system based solely on classroom learning is still an effective means of teaching, many schools of thought suggest the need to reform our education system. They say we have to embrace online education fully. The belief is that embracing online education is a form of graduation from what education used to be to what our present society demands. The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 further reiterated the belief of those clamoring for the switch. The pandemic forced schools to engage students with online learning, and after the pandemic, the school struggled to fit both in-person classroom learning and online classes. That is because most schools have now seen the need for online courses but are unwilling to let go of physical classes due to Hybrid classes Pros and Cons, which we will look into later on in this article.
Types of Hybrid Classes
Schools design hybrid classes as they deem fit. However, if your school is particular about hybrid classes, the chances are that you’ll come across one of these types;
Day In or Day Out
This method is most common these days where schools mandate students to come for in-person learning about two to three times a week. Online learning takes care of the rest. Sometimes, the school designs this system where students spend the first half of the day in the classroom and the second half doing online learning.
Here, face-to-face interaction drives a majority of the academic work such that the lecturer lectures, gives room for students to ask questions, and answers the question in the face-to-face period. However, everything about learning, such as completing assignments, handling projects, and even taking exams, is done online. These online activities can also take a collaborative form where students come together online to complete an assignment or a project.
The internet is the primary driver in this type of system. The instructor places learning materials such as lecture notes, videos, etc., via various online platforms and grants students access. Some courses require the students to participate in multiple online forums. However, students are to access the lectures, process them, and re-watch if need be. The face-to-face interaction is strictly for discussing the principles learned in the online class, asking questions, and lightening grey areas.
This method is most embraced by courses that involve laboratory participation. The lecturer determines the schedule for online classes while the physical session takes place in the lab to get hands-on involvement and experience.
Universities are commonly known to use the flex system of hybrid learning. It is such that the students are made to come in physical contact with lecturers and colleagues only during the first part of the semester. In the second part, students switch to online learning for one or more months. During this time, the school may require students to make a few check-ins—it may be online or face-to-face as the university requires.
These are the five major types of hybrid classes. They may be as described, or your university might choose to make a little twist to any of them. However, it’s the student’s responsibility to determine how the school designed the course hybrid class and follow them.
Hybrid Classes Pros and Cons
Most people are new to the concept of hybrid class and don’t know much about it. Only a few schools have such a system before now, and those schools are at the university level. If anyone is familiar with it before now, they are usually college students. Even those who are familiar with the concept are worried about its efficiency. To answer the burning question in the hearts of many, let’s look at the pros and cons of this concept.
Hybrid Classes Pros and Cons: Pros
Hybrid means control over your time.
Ask any student to tell you one thing they wish to have more in college, and most will mention that they wish they had more time. Time is a luxury to an average college student, mainly a student going through on-campus learning. However, with hybrid classes, you get to have the time you’ve always wanted. The online session of a hybrid system puts time in your hands and lets you manage it the way you deem fit to meet the week’s deadline, work on assignments, and participate in each coursework.
It fits into diverse learning styles.
Students learn in diverse ways. Some students do well in an in-person classroom setting, while most students don’t. However, for a student who doesn’t enjoy sitting almost all day listening to a lecturer, the hybrid learning system gives another opportunity in an online setting. This opportunity is most beneficial to auditory learners because of the ability to rewind or re-listen to recorded lectures. Visual learners can also benefit from this system because they get to play and scroll through learning slides at their pace. In summary, hybrid learning caters to a broad learning style, keeping everyone at the breast with the coursework.
Hybrid Classes Pros and Cons: Maintains equality for all
During in-person class, students that are not of the forceful personality type usually lag behind other students that are outspoken. In other words, extroverted students can dominate the conversation in an in-person class. The issue becomes complicated if a student is not fluent in the college’s first language; for example, international students can struggle in such an environment. However, everyone is equal in an online setting because it gives everyone a shot at being thoughtful and contributing meaningfully.
The Learning Continues After The Classroom
You have to show up for learning in the in-person classroom setting each time you have a course scheduled. While there’s nothing wrong with that setting, the problem is how learning stops the moment you leave the campus premises. You’re most probably not connected in the in-person learning setting or be able to discuss with your classmates after leaving campus. However, with the hybrid class setting, you take part in a physical class, and you’re expected to stay active online with other students—interacting meaningfully.
It offers a more profound and practical form of learning.
The significant opposition towards adopting hybrid learning—especially in its early days of introduction—is the question of effectiveness. Many questioned the effectiveness of this system; of course, it’s a newly introduced system. Though it has been in existence, it wasn’t as prominent as it is right now. But, of the other two main methods of learning, it is the most effective. You don’t have to take our word for it. You only need to check through the United States Department of Education study that Evaluated Evidence-Based Practice in Online Learning. That study’s report summarises that most students prefer hybrid learning and found it a more effective learning form.
Hybrid Classes Pros and Cons: Cons
Requires Strong Self-discipline and Top-notch Organizational Skill
Here is the major problem most students face and the primary reason anti-hybrid spokespersons believe it is not the best learning system. The fact holds that for hybrid learning to be as effective as expected, students must have strong self-discipline and the ability to put their time to good use. Unfortunately, most students don’t have such attributes. We are in the twenty-first century, and there are many things to distract an average student. These things relatively cause the inefficiency of the hybrid system as most students eventually get carried away by them.
Hybrid Classes Pros and Cons: Requires Technological Gadget
Aside from the cost of study—popularly known as tuition fee—and other related costs, students will also have to incur the cost of buying technological gadgets needed for the hybrid class setting—especially for the online classes. Some students will have to get a new computer gadget or upgrade the one they already have, costing some money. There is also the need for reliable internet access needed for the hybrid class. Putting these costs together raises the price of an already expensive cost of learning for most students. Some programs may even require you to purchase a software program which may not sit well for most students.
Makes Lecturers Overwork
Lecturers have a great deal of extra work in the different stages of hybrid learning. This workload could lead lecturers to respond in ways that may benefit students or be of the other way round. Lecturers are the primary antagonist of this system which is quite understandable considering the load of work they have to do both online and offline to fulfill the course requirement. When the university chooses to go ahead with implementing the system, lecturers respond in different ways. Some take up the challenge, while some prefer the other side, putting students at the receiving end.
Based on the above analysis, it’s safe to conclude that hybrid learning has its dark and bright side as with any other learning method. However, the combination of online and face-to-face learning systems can be of great benefit when applied wisely. That’s because the students and lecturers—working collaboratively—can overcome the Hybrid classes Pros and Cons. If lecturers take up the challenge and keep an eye on the students, providing them with needed support, learning will occur smoothly and effectively.