5 Ways You Can Nail Hybrid Teaching

6 mins read
Tara Walsh

It’s fair to say that the last two years have been a challenge. From being thrown a massive curveball in 2020, educators not only adapted, but they also evolved. What initially felt like going backwards (Flack, at al., 2020), a growing confidence in the use of digital tools and an appetite to learn how to take their online teaching further emerged. Remote learning did not prove to be as effective as we had hoped, because the learning gap has widened. We can attribute its ineffectiveness to things like the digital divide, the unpreparedness of many schools for the seismic shift in instruction, and the broad range of difficulties that students from low socio-economic backgrounds, special needs, English as a second language and remote and rural populations (Finkel, 2020) face when accessing education. This year is different. Schools are better prepared, planning for and in many cases adopting hybrid teaching and learning. It’s a trend that moved at a glacial pace before the pandemic, but now one that continues to grow. But is it a trend we should embrace, or should we cast it aside the first chance we get?

[Spoiler alert, you may be pleasantly surprised by what you’re about to read.]

Hybrid Learning can be as Effective as Face to Face Teaching

Some students thrived when learning went online. Others didn’t fare so well (Finkel, 2020). Remote teaching, however, is not hybrid teaching. Hybrid teaching takes the best of both worlds and fuses them together to create an altogether unique experience. Whilst research has found that remote teaching and learning during the pandemic was found wanting, this is not the case for hybrid approaches. High-quality blended (hybrid) learning has been shown to result in equivalent or in some cases superior student outcomes to traditional classroom learning (Finkel, 2020). Moreover, it’s not just in an Australian context that these findings were found. They were also found in the UK and US too. So, if hybrid learning seems to work, can research give us any insight into what works best? The answer is yes. Here are five things that you can do to make your hybrid teaching a success.

Design Matters

We know that good design is invisible, and makes life easier: tissue boxes, toothpaste tubes and cardboard sleeves on your takeaway coffee cup. Good learning design is the same. Hybrid learning programs that work are carefully planned, provide engaging opportunities for interaction with teachers and peers, and most importantly provide lots of support for learners. Practically that means:

  • Online and offline activities are given the same weight in teaching,
  • You become an expert curator of online content to support student learning,
  • The scope and sequence of the hybrid lessons are planned for, and
  • You reflect and revise your hybrid teaching practices.

The strategies listed above are what good planning looks like, so you’re likely to be doing a lot of these things already. But instead of applying these strategies to just face to face teaching, you’re planning for online too.

Know your Tools

You don’t need to know how to use multiple tools with your classes to make hybrid learning a success. What you need to do is use the tools well. Basic literacy, the ability to use content-specific educational software outside of your LMS and being able to use an LMS are the most effective things you can do to set yourself up for success.  For example, if ClickView is your tool of choice, use it, and get to know all its features. In this context it means you’ll create playlists of curated content, upload videos to provide feedback to your students, create interactive videos to measure knowledge and comprehension and optimise the analytics to help you with planning and reporting. This will save you time. Time you can spend finding additional resources and helping students. Interestingly, media creation skills and the use of multiple communication tools to communicate with parents, students and other stakeholders have not been shown to equate to hybrid teaching success. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t effective, it may simply mean that fewer studies have reported on them. Keeping it simple, however, seems like the best approach. But if you’re stuck about what is the best technology to use, check out the video.

Data Informed Choices

Data, you’re hearing that word a lot, right? From data informed practice to data analytics, it’s great to see how data is being used to inform educational policy, Ed-Tech tools and curricula. In hybrid learning it’s something that can really support your planning. Research has found that data is more effective in hybrid teaching when it is used to help guide instructional design making, to identify patterns in student performance, and when it is used to recommend focused learning activities for specific students.  Interactive videos and classroom analytics for instance, can help you understand whether the content you are sharing is appropriate for all students, that they understand the concepts being taught, and can help you decide whether learning has or hasn’t occurred. This use of data doesn’t need to be complicated. Use the data sources you have at your disposal so you can design hybrid learning experiences for impact.

Personalisation

Hybrid and online learning provides educators a plethora of ways to personalise a student’s learning experience. In the context of the classroom, personalisation can be a challenge (Watkins, 2012), however hybrid learning provides an opportunity to personalise in ways that you might not have been able to do in a face to face classroom. To be honest, personalising learning takes time. But as you become a master curator, you’ll find the task less onerous. Research has found that developing strategies for personalising learning activities or creating a personalisation plan for your class, are the best ways to do this. That means use the Ed-Tech that’s available to you. Allowing students to learn at their own pace, using collaborative workspaces and giving them multiple ways to share their knowledge are others ways you can personalise your students learning.

Student Ownership and Agency

Finally, providing students with opportunities for ownership and choice helps make hybrid learning a success. Shifting from a teacher-led to a student-centered instruction allows students to take more responsibility for making decisions about the time, place, path, and goals of their learning. In fact, research has shown that student-to-student interaction when teaching online can produce high student achievement outcomes, especially compared to student-teacher interaction (Moore, 1989), and the most effective student-student interaction treatments online are those that are designed and implemented intentionally to provide students with opportunities to work collaboratively (Bernard, et. al., 2009; Borokhovski et. al., 2012).

Over to You

Many of the practices that are highlighted are things you may be doing already. Hopefully understanding the power of these practices will make planning for hybrid learning easier.  Finally, technology has the power to amplify learning, for you and your students. To take your learning further, join the ClickView community on Facebook and Twitter so you can share your experiences, your wins and losses with other professionals. Utilise the collective expertise of the education community to help make hybrid learning a success.

References

Bernard, R. M., Abrami, P.C., Borokhovski, E., Wade, C.A., Tamim, R. M, Surkes, M.A., and Bethel, E.C., (2009) A Meta-Analysis of Three Types of Interaction Treatments in Distance Education, Review of Educational Research, 79 (3): 1,243–89.

Borokhovski, E., Bernard, R.M., Tamim, R.M., Schmid, R.F., Sokolovskaya, A. (2016) Technology-supported student interaction in post-secondary education: A meta-analysis of designed versus contextual treatments, Computers and Education, 96:15 – 28

Escueta, M., Quan, V., Nickow, A. & Oreopoulos, P. (2017) Education technology: An evidence-based review [online] https://www.nber.org/papers/w23744 Accessed 23/01/2022

Flack, C. B., Walker, L., Bickerstaff, A., Earle, H., & Margetts, C. (2020). Educator perspectives on the impact of COVID-19 on teaching and learning in Australia and New Zealand. Melbourne, Australia: Pivot Professional Learning.

Means, B., Toyama, Y., Murphy, R., Bakia, M. & Jones, K. (2009) Evaluation of evidence-based practices in online learning: A meta-analysis and review of online learning studies. [online] https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED505824.pdf Accessed 23/01/2022

Moore, M.G. (1989) Three types of interaction, American Journal of Education, 3(2):1-7, DOI: 10.1080/08923648909526659

Short, C.R., Graham, C.R., Sabey, E. (2021) K-12 Blended Teaching Skills and Abilities: An Analysis of Blended Teaching Artifacts, Journal of Online Learning Research, 7(1), 5 – 33, [online] https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1301101.pdf, Accessed 23/01/2022

Watkins C. (2012) Personalisation and the Classroom Context. In: Personalisation of Education in Contexts. Comparative and International Education (A Diversity of Voices), vol 18. Sense Publishers, Rotterdam. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-6209-028-6_1