Hybrid Learning: The Perils and Promise of Blending Online and Face-to-Face Instruction in Higher Education

Hybrid Learning: The Perils and Promise of Blending Online and Face-to-Face Instruction in Higher Education

Hybrid Learning: The Perils and Promise of Blending Online and Face-to-Face Instruction in Higher Education

Hybrid Learning: The Perils and Promise of Blending Online and Face-to-Face Instruction in Higher Education

Synopsis

Hybrid learning could be the new century's educational game changer. Combining online with face-to-face instruction, hybrid learning promises a best-of-both-worlds solution to higher education's acute problems of student retention, success, and engagement. Yet, in the absence of adequate faculty care and institutional support, hybrid learning can aggravate the very problems it is meant to address.

Excerpt

In his 1926 book on the then-burgeoning business of correspondence schools, John Noffsinger relegated their educational status to terra incognita. The processes and outcomes associated with teaching and learning by correspondence could not be adequately monitored, measured, regulated, or evaluated relative to traditional, classroom learning. Distance education by correspondence, all the vogue in Noffsinger’s day, would eventually become what we know today as online learning.

A variation on the idea of learning at a distance is now emerging across the higher education landscape. It brings together elements of the traditional classroom environment and elements of modern online delivery. Hybrid, or blended, learning represents for many a potential best-of-both-worlds educational model, one that might draw on the most effective aspects of face-to-face (f2f) and online instruction. But, like the correspondence education of yesteryear, hybrid learning risks becoming terra incognita in the landscape of higher education without informed decision making early on.

Many economic, technological, and demographic factors are converging today to encourage institutional efforts—sometimes aggressive efforts—to develop blended learning options for students as quickly and as broadly as possible. The promise of blending face-to-face and online instruction in a delivery mode that will grow enrollments and fatten coffers, all while alleviating problems of limited classroom space and . . .

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