Published August 17, 2022

Hybrid Learning V/s Blended Learning

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Dr. Hamna Labeeb
Content Editor

4 min read

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Hybrid learning and blended learning are two terms that are often confused with each other and used interchangeably. But do they really mean the same? Well, the answer would be a big ‘No!’. Blended learning and hybrid learning are two different learning approaches. They differ in their pedagogy, flexibility, use of technology and other aspects. Let’s see the distinction in detail below.

Blended Learning vs Hybrid Learning

Blended Learning is a learning approach that combines the traditional face-to-face classroom experience and innovative learning technologies. Blended Learning focuses on bringing a holistic learning experience by giving more emphasis to technology-led instruction. Here, both learners and instructors are able to have a better comprehension of the process of learning. The learning is also individualistic and student-centric in this model, hence, the differences in their interest and pace are addressed and considered.

Hybrid Learning is a heterogeneous learning approach where learners have the choice of attending the classes synchronously in the classroom or remotely from their home through online platforms but the instructors teach both the groups simultaneously. Here, the instructors are required to have double skills in instruction as they have to address both the teams.

Hybrid learning is more like distance learning. There is greater flexibility in terms of time and place. But when compared to blended learning, the effect can differ as blended learning is an integration of technology, human and experiential elements which is not replacing or substituting one another but rather adding to the whole learning experience. When it comes to hybrid learning, one mode is substituting the other element. So, the learning outcome is not remarkably better or comparable.

In simple terms, we can say that blended learning involves online and in-person learning, whereas Hybrid Learning involves Online or in-person learning. In hybrid learning, learners can choose their schedules but in blended learning it is compulsory to have an instructor-led interaction to bridge the gaps in the self-directed or self-organized learning process.

Blended learning is more of a sequential approach where the instructor is focusing on one at a time whereas, hybrid learning is a parallel approach where the instructor is teaching different groups simultaneously, say one group attending in-person class and one group attending the class via online mode.

Which do you think is more flexible? With hybrid learning there is no compulsion on the learners to come and attend the classes in person. There are individual differences where some of them can attend physical classes and others can attend through online mode. The learners are heterogeneous. Blended Learning demands the learners to attend in-person classes for interactions and collaborative works and the role of technology is critical here which promotes individualized learning in the form of video conferencing, podcasts, online materials, collaborative activities, etc. Blended learning encourages activity-based learning. That is a greater limitation in hybrid learners where the quality of the learning process is a matter of question as the learning is more or less confined to conceptual learning.

As an instructor, I would say blended learning has a bright future because it is student-centric, skill-based, cost-efficient, integrative in nature and can yield excellent learning outcomes. Many studies have been conducted on blended learning and have found that Blended Learning strategies can influence and enhance our cognitive skills, motivation, academic achievement, student self-efficacy and their level of interest in learning.

Which would you choose for your institution in the current scenario?

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