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How to Navigate Hybrid Learning: Strategies for Student Success

 

How to Navigate Hybrid Learning: Strategies for Student Success

In a world where attention spans are getting shorter and instant gratification is celebrated, it can be challenging to cultivate patience. But it’s essential for student success in hybrid learning.

Set realistic goals for yourself, your students, and the class as a whole. Make sure you have the proper tools in place and that your curriculum adapts to the hybrid model.

1. Establish Clear Expectations

While teaching a hybrid class is undoubtedly about flexibility in 2020, students still need to meet course requirements. They may also need to overcome the logistical challenges of a remote learning environment, like finding quiet space or scheduling work around childcare, home maintenance, and other daily activities.

It’s essential for instructors to set clear, long- and short-term goals and provide clear guidance on what is expected from their students in a hybrid format. This includes establishing what is expected of them in both the synchronous online and in-person portions of the course and providing clear instructions on how to complete assignments and engage with other students in a virtual classroom.

A good strategy is to use a variety of virtual classroom tools to keep students engaged online, such as lean-forward video techniques, online quizzing, group note-taking, and asynchronous discussion forums that allow students to share their ideas with one another. This can help prevent students from viewing the online portion of their classes as less important, and it may even increase student motivation.

2. Build a Community of Support

The success of a hybrid learning program requires a unique blend of pedagogical expertise, technological proficiency, and student-centered teaching. It’s important for educators to understand these unique challenges and provide students with the support they need in order to thrive.

Keep in mind that learners may experience a lack of motivation when they’re learning something they’ll never use or if the content doesn’t seem relevant. Make sure the course is highly engaging and interactive, and offer plenty of opportunities for students to collaborate with one another and share ideas.

Educators also need to ensure that they’re communicating effectively with parents, who are often acting as learners’ virtual school facilitators and coaches. Consistent and streamlined communication will help establish a strong hybrid community, set expectations for both in-person and online work, and address any technology speed bumps.

3. Make Thinking Visible

The flexibility and freedom that hybrid learning offers are appealing, but they’re not without their challenges. Students need to be aware of what’s expected when working online, and teachers must be prepared to engage with students through a variety of formats.

This means that it’s important for teachers to develop clear classroom strategies to make thinking visible in hybrid learning environments, such as using a concept mapping technique like Ritchhart and Church’s (Make Thinking Visible) or leveraging ClassPoint’s Short Answer activity type for student engagement. Having these tools in place makes it easy for teachers to connect with students and keep them engaged throughout their hybrid learning journey.

Also, it’s a good idea for teachers to establish clear protocols for when and where they will check in with their students online. This will help them stay on top of assignments and ensure that students have access to the necessary materials. It’s also important for students to have a clear understanding of how their teacher will assess the work they do online and in person, if applicable.

4. Give Your Hybrid Plan a Trial Run

For teachers who are used to focusing on students in front of them, making hybrid learning work can take some practice. They may need to check in with remote students and make sure they understand instructions, or build meaningful relationships with them online just as they do with in-person learners.

A key to success is to engage both groups of learners by ensuring that the learning materials are relevant and engaging. People tend to zone out when they’re learning things that have no relevance to them, so it’s important to design a mix of synchronous and asynchronous activities, such as quizzes, presentations, videos, and interactive infographics.

Another way to keep both groups of learners engaged is to use a video conference tool that makes it easy for them to collaborate and interact with each other, or even share their screen. It’s also helpful to add interactivity to the asynchronous learning material by using tools like hover effects, clickable links, and pop-ups.

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