Hybrid learning is set to become the de facto educational approach worldwide. What can educators and learners do to benefit?

Over the past year, the field of education has been flipped on its head.

For the first time, many educators have found themselves experimenting with disparate technology solutions and new tools to manage continuity in their lessons. Students have had to adapt to remote-learning using a range of devices and collaboration platforms.

Many in the education sector believe virtual classrooms and online learning are here to stay. So, how can teachers and educators keep students academically engaged and take advantage of new methods to help students learn better than before? 

Provide a unified learning experience

Institutions of higher learning around the world have acknowledged that digital technologies will play a significant role in the future of education. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the issue of remote-learning and accelerated the adoption of online-based learning modules across the region and globally.

As a result, more local universities and polytechnics now deliver diverse forms of hybrid learning, creating online learning experiences that are just as accessible as in-person classroom lessons. 

At the top of mind in conversations around the future of academia is hybrid learning. This solution enables students and teachers to collaborate in real-time, virtual environments. For example, the use of an in-classroom video wall and audio-visual streaming tools enables teachers to communicate with students individually or as a group, and allow for effective participation in a true, two-way dialog during sessions.

With this type of technology, distance learning does not have to be a second-class version of traditional face-to-face teaching and learning. It can complement the latter and open new ways of improving the experience for both the teacher and students. Remote participants can engage and collaborate in real-time with their peers and teachers as if they were in a physical classroom, from anywhere. 

Improving teacher-student bonding

One of the most crucial roles technology has played in the past year has been keeping students connected. As students are no longer physically based in one location, online learning has become the new standard, with teachers, professors, and learning administrators relying on video conferencing and chat services to stay connected with their students. 

Through increased use of these digital technologies, students and teachers can collaborate more easily and build closer bonds. This also presents lecturers with the ability to learn alongside their students as they work through problems together in a group. Lecturers can then interact and share information seamlessly with one another and with other education communities.

As a result, teacher-student relationships and the quality of teaching will improve in spite of the social distancing restrictions. 

Meeting evolving student needs with tech

Bespoke holistic learning solutions can empower educators to improve how they organize, automate and boost the pedagogy of their curriculum. By using a comprehensive learning platform with powerful built-in functionality powered by AI, educators are better connected and engaged with their students.

For example, AI is providing data-driven insights allowing educators to tailor their teaching methods and optimize learning for any student mix in any class. 

To utilize these tools well, teachers should ask themselves how students want to embrace technology in the classroom; not just why they need it. Today’s generation of digital natives use technology in all aspects of their lives and so they demand digital tools that suit their ever-evolving learning needs.

These students have also come to realize that digital learning can create a set of skills that will help them throughout their future careers. This can be beneficial in the long run as these solutions can help universities create curricula that match the learning needs of students and simultaneously empower lecturers to enhance pedagogy. 

Combat cheating with AI

With advanced technology in remote-learning arises the specter of cheating. According to ProctorU, the cheating rate rose to above 8% between April and June 2020, up from 1% before the pandemic.

Students have felt more inclined to cheat during this time not only because it is easier, but because they feel that their instructors may be less concerned about the work that they are producing, and/or due to lower levels of interaction. As such, it has become more important than ever for teachers to foster cohesive and engaging communities with their students, to increase accountability, encourage learning and combat the possibilities of cheating.  

Today, cutting-edge learning management systems provide educators with the ability to quickly pivot between in-person and remote-learning, creating a successful hybrid teaching and learning experience for themselves and their students.

Not only does online learning provide the flexibility that students and teachers both crave, but it also allows real-time engagement between peers, more efficient use of resources, and ultimately, a better learning environment for all.