Home/Hybrid Learning vs. Blended Learning – What’s the Difference?
Hybrid Learning vs. Blended Learning – What’s the Difference?
Hybrid learning is a term some have may have heard before while it may be completely new to others, it has nonetheless become a very prevalent term in education over the last year. While hybrid learning is a term that is thrown around a lot and is very significant to teachers and learners in today’s evolving education environment, there does not seem to be a clear definition.
Is hybrid education synonymous with blending?
If yes, why use both terms? If no, how are they different?
How many competing definitions are there?
After much research and deliberation, however, we have found a workable definition for hybrid learning and how it is distinct from blended learning.
What is Blended Learning?
Before we can jump into how hybrid and blended learning are different, we first need to establish what is blended learning?
Blended learning is any combination of traditional analog education with modern digital technologies. At its broadest, blended learning describes the introduction of computer labs, interactive flat panel displays, and educational software to the learning process. Mostly, however, blended learning is used to refer to the more recent practice of including online self-study to supplement in-class lessons.
Though hybrid is often treated as a synonym for blended learning, this is not the case at all.
What is Hybrid Learning?
Hybrid teaching implements synchronous lessons taught simultaneously in-person and online. It is a type of blended learning that focuses more on bridging the physical classroom and virtual learning spaces closer together into a more complete education. Put it another way, hybrid it is a form of synchronous learning that happens both physically and remotely.
However, an exact definition still varies based on the source.
Since hybrid learning is a relatively new term, there is still very little consensus when we ask what it means. As such, it can be very confusing locking down what individuals or institutions mean with the term.
So, while we have defined what hybrid learning is to us, here are a few other interpretations in common use by reputable sources.
1. In-Person and Online
One common phrase that comes up is that hybrid learning “overlaps” with blended learning. This means that while they are two separate things, they are still distinct methodologies. The main difference between the two, in this case, is that hybrid focuses on both in-person and online education, often with no preference for one or the other.
2. A Pedagogy
Another way that hybrid teaching is defined – especially in relation to blended learning – is that it is a pedagogy or teaching strategy more than a set of processes or procedures. As such, it represents an ideology that provides the scaffolding for a wide variety of teaching strategies that fall under the umbrella of blended learning.
3. On a Spectrum
Some sources see hybrid education as a point along a spectrum of technological adoption. The spectrum that this definition follows usually follows these main points:
Face-to-face only lessons that only rely on traditional teaching methods. These methods may incorporate some technology, but it will be primarily devices installed in a physical classroom such as ViewSonic smart boards.
Blended learning is a model that uses online learning to supplement in-class teaching, but it still focuses primarily on teachers and students being physically present for the majority of the teaching time.
Hybrid learning describes an educational model in which students spend at least half of their time learning online and the rest of their time learning in physical classrooms (according to this interpretation).
Online only is just what it sounds like: a course that is entirely online
Hybrid Learning vs. Blended Learning: What’s the Difference?
With all the confusion over the definition of hybrid and its relationship to blended, it’s important to establish how they are unique. And while some experts view them as synonymous or equivalent in other ways, our understanding is a matter of scope.
Blended learning encompasses all education that integrates digital technologies, especially web-based learning tools. Hybrid learning refers specifically to synchronous lessons that are taught live and remotely at the same time.
This means that hybrid learning is a part of blended learning as an overarching topic that also includes methodologies like flipped classrooms and SCALE-UP. In other words, all hybrid is blended, but not all blended is hybrid.
Why is Hybrid Learning Important?
Hybrid teaching as we mean it – synchronous learning both live and online simultaneously – is and will continue to be part of the emerging landscape of education. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, educators have realized that a certain amount of flexibility is required both during the current situation and onward into the future.
While in-person teaching will remain an essential part of education for the foreseeable future, we now see the need to open up multiple channels to respond to not just extreme conditions like a global disaster but the day-to-day interruptions of effective education. Hybrid teaching not only makes learning more accessible to the differently-abled, but it also allows educators to reach remote areas, helps students stay connected during long absences, and familiarizes both educators and learners with the latest communication technologies.
Hybrid learning focuses on bridging the physical classroom and virtual learning spaces closer together into a more complete education environment. Put another way, hybrid learning is a form of synchronous learning (learning that occurs at the same time, but not in the same place) that happens both physically and remotely.
Blended learning encompasses all education that integrates digital technologies, especially web-based learning tools. Hybrid learning refers specifically to synchronous lessons that are taught live and remotely at the same time. In other words, hybrid learning is a type of blended learning.
Hybrid learning in school refers to students learning both in the physical classroom and remotely via virtual learning. Hybrid learning in school allows educators to reach remote areas and helps students stay connected during long absences.