Hybrid | Blended Courses – The Sum Can Be Greater Than the Parts
Hybrid|Blended courses have become a topic of interest within Quebec. Fully one–quarter of the participants who recently attended the EdTech Webinar Series - Hybrid | Blended Courses: a New Breed of Learning? hosted jointly by APOP and La Vitrine Technologie-Éducation, indicated that they had already taught or were currently teaching a hybrid|blended course.
The invitation to the webinar included links to articles which reflect the growing popularity of the hybrid|blended model. Two of the articles cited were published in Profweb in 2011:
- Investigating the Effects of Technology-Assisted Instruction on Cégep Students, by Helen Stavaris
- Preparing for a Hybrid Course to Better Serve 'Gestion de commerces' Students of Varying English Skills, by Norm Spatz
Although both of these articles describe a ‘hybrid|blended course’, the models used for blending elements of distance learning and face-to-face classroom instruction were completely different.
Gina Bennett, an e-learning specialist at the Education Technology Centre of the College of the Rockies animated the EdTech Webinar and began by discussing the use of the terms hybrid and blended. In general, the terms are synonymous.
During the webinar, Gina asked participants to respond to a survey entitled ‘Hybridization: how many different ways can you slice it?’ with the following choices:
- Alternate classroom and distance
- Have one group in classroom, one group remote
- Lectures in classroom, study and discussion by distance
- Study and discussion in class, lectures by distance
- Team teaching: lectures by distance, labs in class
Participants almost immediately began writing in additional hybrid|blended choices. These included the following:
- Formative online, summative in class
- Two groups – mixed levels – labs where students are grouped online by skill levels
- 100% distance: part synchronous and part asynchronous
- 30% of the course content is delivered online
- Virtual team teaching: Two classes with two teachers in different colleges
- Formative distance mentoring (self study), support and evaluation in class.
This webinar highlighted the increasing popularity of hybrid courses within the Quebec College Network and the variety of models that are currently being used. Half of the participants surveyed indicated that their reason for teaching a hybrid|blended course was to develop some learning outcomes that might work better using online tools.
It was noted that studies have shown that a blended approach results in better performance for students than either online alone or face-to-face alone.
The growing use of a hybrid|blended model indicates that teachers are adopting those aspects of information and communication technology that they find most useful to compliment the features of traditional instruction that continue to serve them well.
Gina cautioned teachers to monitor student workload and avoid building a course and a half, given the ease of access to teaching material on the internet.
There are several approaches that can be used when teachers begin looking at developing a hybrid|blended course and Gina encouraged participants to look at the Blended Learning Toolkit, which she has found to be an excellent resource on the topic.
Watch for the video recording of this webinar on the APOP website. Learn more about pedagogical uses of information technology in the cegep network through Profweb's resources, columns, stories, continuing education posts and other features contributed by our IT Partners.