Education in many parts of the world is still being neglected. Here, we take you through the methods of how to enhance the learning capacities within kids. Hybrid learning is one such technique which increases the learning span amongst students.
~260 million children around the world are not even enrolled in primary or secondary school (Source: UNESCO, 2016).
“The name of the dog is Puppy.”, Grade 3 students in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania could not even read this simple sentence (Source: World Development Report, 2018).
In rural India, approximately three-quarters of students in grade 3 could not solve a two-digit subtraction such as 46 – 17, and by grade 5 half could still not do so (Source: Annual Status of Education Report, 2017).
We are lagging behind, and we need to take an educational quantum leap. However, we cannot leapfrog our curricular goals.
Unburdening learners by simplifying the curriculum deteriorates the quality of education. Dropping certain subjects or reducing the intricacy of conceptual understanding of subjects will not solve the purpose. Flat learning profiles of young learners display time spent not skills gained.
The World Development Report 2018 urges on prioritising learning to address the learning crisis. The WDR recommends action by:
• Assessing learning outcomes
• Acting on the evidence to make schools suitable for all
• Aligning all actors to make the whole system work for learning
Hybrid learning/ blended learning can be one of the potential solutions to address the learning crisis.
Blended learning is a flexible concept to empower teachers as well as students to improve learning outcomes. International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) defined blended learning as “learning that combines two modes of instruction, online and face-to-face, but at potentially different points in time.”
Types of Hybrid Learning Models which can be implemented by educators are as follows:
1. The Flex Model – Flex model can be implemented by secondary schools. Online instruction delivery is a vital part of this model. Teachers deliver instructions online and students can access the online content in the sanctity of their home. This model appeals to out-of-school students who get involved in work-study programs, students who find it difficult to attend traditional schools and students who need a part-time schooling program.
2. The Rotation Model – Students move from face-to-face instruction to online instruction following a schedule prepared by the teachers. Elementary schools benefit from the rotation model where learning is divided between literacy skills and mathematical skills.
3. Self-Blend Model – This model allows autonomous learning as students can choose online courses in addition to the traditional courses they have enrolled for. Students can enhance their skill set by enrolling for the courses which prepare them for college.
4. Face-to-Face Driver Model – Students can participate in online learning depending upon their levels of ability and mastery. Highly capable students may opt for multiple courses to proceed at a rapid pace. Average performing students may get remediation classes and more time to grasp concepts.
5. The Online Driver Model – This is a full-fledged online instructional model for students who cannot attend a traditional school and are ready to learn from remote locations. Online learning can assist specially-abled students, students who want to take up additional courses and students who work while studying and need a flexible learning schedule.
6. Online Lab School Model – Students are required to attend a traditional school where entire courses are delivered on online platforms. Trained paraprofessionals supervise the sessions. Schools with a stringent budget who are not able to accommodate students due to facility restraints or lack of availability of teachers can benefit from an Online Lab School Model.
Blended Learning is a dynamic concept. Thousands of Blended Learning models can be created and adopted using these basic models. Susceptibility to technology, lack of Government funding, lack of knowledge and lack of strong leadership are some of the challenges which hinder the implementation of Hybrid Learning models in education. Policymakers and regulators need to advocate online learning to make significant improvements in the current scenario. Collective efforts are a mandate to improve the quality of online educational content and change the status of online education from ‘casual’ to ‘formal’.