4 Tips for a Successful Hybrid Higher Ed Learning Experience
While hybrid learning has been around for a while, it has only recently become the “norm” and commonplace after everyone transitioned to remote work and learning due to the pandemic. However, though many industries have returned to an entirely in-person environment, hybrid learning, especially in higher education settings, is likely here to stay.
Unfortunately, though remote and hybrid learning is quickly becoming more mainstream, many are struggling to adapt to the unique demands of a digital learning environment. Everything is happening and changing so fast that teachers and students alike have had little time to prepare. New practices, systems, and technologies need to be quickly adopted and integrated, but implementing these new systems and strategies has become a challenge without the time and resources.
So what can be done to make hybrid learning less of a challenge? Not only do we need to think about how to make the initial transition and integration of new systems smoother, but we need to additionally come up with ways to maintain the hybrid learning environment and ensure both students and teachers are continually getting the most out of it as time goes on.
1. Utilize Elements That Compliment In-Person and Digital Learning Environments
Teachers and professors seem to be particularly struggling with integrating elements and practices that work both for in-person and online learning. For example, if something doesn’t get completed during a face-to-face class, faculty need to find ways for it to seamlessly carry over into the digital setting.
Such as a discussion that gets cut off and needs to pick back up online, or assignments that weren’t completed and handed in physically need to be accepted through a predetermined method like email or some other online submission platform. It’s important for instructors to use channels and methods that complement both the face-to-face and online settings.
2. Be Receptive To Feedback From Learners
No matter how good of a system you think you have going on, there will always be someone who finds a flaw. It’s important for instructors to be open and receptive to the issues their students are having with the systems in place. The point of the learning environment, after all, is for the students to get what they need out of it. So if they are struggling, then something likely isn’t working. Allowing for open communication is imperative. Students need to know that they can trust that their professors have their best interests in mind and are open to their feedback, so they don’t get left behind. Having the students fill out weekly or monthly surveys is a great way to get their input, or even hosting a virtual “town hall” can allow them to openly air their concerns.
3. Flexibility is Key
As everyone adapts to these changes, flexibility and openness to methods that don’t follow tradition will be critical to a successful hybrid learning environment. Things happen and go wrong, and sometimes no amount of planning can prepare you for these challenges. It’s how you adjust and adapt in response that matters. Having strict policies and timelines for handing in assignments, for example, may not work so well for hybrid environments.
Most students are not out to take advantage of the system, so it’s essential to be flexible when they couldn’t make it to an in-person class and need to turn something in online instead. Additionally, no two students are the same, and thus the standard lecture may not work for them. Some may need their instructors to be open to more individualized models, such as one-on-one sessions or more open office hours for them to come to you when they are struggling.
4. Make The Most of Available Technology
Of course, when it comes to hybrid environments that involve remote learning, technology is essential. Things like video recording tech and apps, video conferencing software, and other audiovisual tools and devices are necessary to create a hybrid learning environment that works for everyone.
You need tools with robust features that allow for seamless integration in both online and face-to-face settings. Just be mindful that the software or devices you go with do not come with a steep learning curve; these tools need to be user-friendly, so you are not constantly running into problems in the middle of class.
Hybrid Learning Solutions With Haverford Systems
While faculty might be the face of institutions, the technology they use is like the foundation that supports them and makes what they do possible in hybrid learning environments. Without audiovisual tools, hybrid learning would be more challenging than it already is. To ensure you make the most of the hybrid classroom setting, it’s important to utilize technology that integrates seamlessly with your existing systems and practices.
At Haverford Systems, we have been helping those in higher education settings integrate audiovisual technologies for over 30 years. We work with you to ensure our systems are thoughtfully integrated to meet the personalized needs of you and your students. We offer full site assessments to determine your needs, provide detailed recommendations and action plans, personally customize installations and integration, and provide the training needed to familiarize you with our systems.