Hybrid? When we think hybrid, we think hybrid cars. What does hybrid mean? Mixing old and new technology… Or having the choice of how you want to drive your car? If we translate this to hybrid learning, we see similarities.
But let’s start at the beginning. Why are we even talking about hybrid learning? Hybrid learning is positioned as the next default learning style. It can be seen as Blended Learning 2.0. According to a survey, 49% of the respondents define blended learning as a training program that consists of a mix of face-to-face and eLearning (source: Jane Hart C4LPT Blog). The survey shows that people have different views on blended learning. At ITpreneurs, our blended programs align with the definition agreed upon by the majority of the respondents. We have designed our blended courses such that the theoretical aspects are learned through self-study (eLearning) and practical aspects in a classroom (or virtual classroom) environment. This format enables learners to come together to bring the theory to practice, do case studies, have discussions and prepare for the exam.
Example: Agenda TOGAF Blended Learning
|10h of Self-Study||Classroom Day 1||Classroom Day 2|
So is Blended and Hybrid One of the Same?
If so, why would we need a new term? Well, most training these days have a digital component. This can be an online mock exam, using the web to solve in-class exercises or even downloading and reading a complimentary white paper. Even using eBooks in class can be considered as blended learning. So all modern-day learning can technically be considered blended learning. But what if there are learning programs, like the TOGAF® example above, designed for combining learning strategies? How do we differentiate those types of courses from courses with a digital component? That’s where the term hybrid comes to play.
With hybrid learning, we are entering a new era. Learners have access to devices such as desktops, laptops, smartphones, tablets, phablets… They spend a lot of time on these devices and we want to bring the learning closer to them by offering content on these devices. That requires a different setup for training courses. Providing content that is relevant in-time is the new key to success. Therefore learning programs should support micro-learning (consume content in 5 to 20 minutes) and if required, social learning (interact with peers and experts on the subject). Therefore we see the rise of this new style of online learning programs. They are not slide-based, audio-guided, but full of small videos of experts, animations, web readings, articles, and white papers.
While blended courses combine classroom learning with a digital component, we expect from hybrid courses that the didactics are adjusted based on the new style of learning (refer to my earlier blog posts Video-Based Learning is Hot and Mobile Learning: What You Need to Know). Just like cars, we mix old “technologies” (classroom and learning management systems) with new technologies (mobile and video) and the learner can choose what he/she wants to learn, where and when.
When you Google ‘Hybrid Learning’, we see many authors using blended and hybrid interchangeably. In the same sentence, they mention “flipping the classroom”. The term hybrid is gaining popularity and is replacing blended in many cases. Sometimes it is correct, as the learning didactics deserve the new name, in other cases, it is more or less the same.
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About the author
Ellen studies the art of learning. Being a cognitive psychologist, she has the background and knowledge of the science of learning. Having the theoretical knowledge on how the brain works, how we store information and how we retrieve information helps her design and conceptualize innovative learning products. With her creative mind and feel for technology, she is able to turn concepts into products.
As an independent consultant, I advise and support organizations in developing and implementing learning experiences.