With the recent Corona pandemic, times of educational learning were challenging. Everyone had to switch to fully online or hybrid learning modules. This way of educating was something relatively new for majority of teachers and students. In the beginning, people were hesitant to this new approach, but it has proved to be efficient for numerous reasons. The new approach was so impactful that many schools and colleges will keep this education approach for future purposes. So, the question is, how to keep your students engaged in hybrid sessions and how to maintain the same quality as in-person classes?
Hybrid class sessions consist of students attending online (remotely) and students attending in-person at the same time. The main takeaway is to provide qualitative learning experience for both parties. Another important thing to remember is that hybrid learning isn’t just about posting the curriculum to online platforms. Hybrid learning is about equally engaging students that are online and in class. The key is to make the class interesting and interactive, so students wish to join the discussion or ask questions. There are special techniques in doing so for those that are joining online.
First step is to achieve common ground with students and to let them know that their engagement is very much appreciated. It is important that online students engage even more because they are not present in on-site classes. The engagement can be achieved with break-out rooms or any other conference tool that divides students into smaller groups. Dividing students into groups makes it easier to communicate, network, share ideas and brainstorm.
Additional fun objectives:
There are different methods to engage students even more for educational and networking purposes. Classes should not be a one-way conversation where professors only talk and students listen. It should be an active two-way conversation, but sometimes students need to be incentivized. Our suggestion is to incorporate quizzes and Q&As into class. Quizzes can be used so professors can test student’s knowledge. Q&As are designed specifically for students; they may be more willing to ask questions and engage in this way. These features also break the monotony of usual passive classes.
Students that are listening to classes in an online format should have the same quality of tools that are used in in-person class. Meaning, professors should provide textbooks, additional materials, PDFs or PowerPoints. Since most students are tech-savvy there shouldn’t be an issue with downloading materials to their desktops or mobile devices. Good thing about hybrid learning is that they provide the chance for students to learn at their own pace. Technology has brought easiness to learning, there is the Internet for additional information, but students can also reach out to their professors much faster.
Professors can provide tutoring lessons or office hours online; students can join without the need to travel to campus which is more convenient for everyone involved.
Clear explanation of class structure:
In synchronous sessions it is important to establish rules as much as establishing common ground. For example, establishing early on how to use the chat function and when to use it. For hybrid sessions to work, all students must stick to one conversation thread. This shows that students pay attention to each other and that they can respond to each other’s thoughts and ideas.
Chat functions should be used to implode technical difficulties also, but not as a tool for class communication. It can disrupt the dynamics of learning if the conversation is not clear and concise.
Discussion boards encourage thought reflection:
Limitations and boundaries between live and online classes are no longer relevant for engagement purposes. Professors can choose asynchronous assignments and ask students to join discussions with the help of various tools. Students can reflect on course materials and provide their input which doesn’t have to be only during fixed class time. This is a major benefit of hybrid learning, students can engage prior, during and after class. Another objective of discussion boards is that students can comment on other student’s posts. Discussions are a great educational tool because students will remember class material in a more meaningful and effective way.
In conclusion, it is essential to incorporate synchronous and asynchronous elements to each class. It will maximize engagement and learning experience. Use the tools that hybrid learning provides and implement it so everyone can learn easier and have the opportunity to customize their learning schedule.