E-learning has been in the market for quite a long time now. This mode of education, which was largely a matter of choice for students and professionals has become the need of the hour in the present time of COVID-19. While many eLearning platforms were already growing and becoming popular among students of remote areas, the educational institutes largely were stuck with offline classroom learning. Today, however, they have realized the importance of online mode of education and how it can positively impact the learning process of students.
As far as professionals are concerned, online learning is already a preferred mode of education for them. The reason is it easily fits into one’s busy schedule and saves the time and effort which would otherwise be spent on going to a physical location and researching the study material. More often, professionals try to achieve certain certifications for which they need to dedicate three to four months of regular studies. And online courses are most suitable to prepare for achieving such certifications. For example, professionals willing to get ahead in the field of IT Service and Management, usually go for ITIL certification and achieve it through ITIL 4 Foundation online training.
But the question that arises here is – Will the online mode of education be as effective for school students as it is for professionals? There are certain drawbacks of online education when it comes to training school and college students. This is where a hybrid model of learning comes into the picture.
The hybrid model of learning, also known as blended learning, incorporates the advantages of both the traditional and modern eLearning mode of education. The classes are basically conducted at a physical location as done traditionally, but instead of using offline study material, there are online videos and other interactive resources to make the learning experience more lively for the students. While the student queries can be resolved by the tutor present in the class, revisions can be conducted by providing the class recordings to the students. These recordings can be referred to anytime when the student completes the assignments or prepares for tests.
The hybrid model of learning is beneficial for both students and instructors. The instructors are spared of explaining the same concepts over and over again in the future iterations of the program by reusing the recorded content and get to focus more on clearing the doubts of each student. The students, on the other hand, learn better through visuals and animated content and performing activities online further increase their interest in the subjects.
Randy Stoecker, Working at College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, University Of Wisconsin–Madison, clearly states “We live in a world where information and communication technologies (ICTs) offer both great potential and a great distraction. Blended learning provides a framework that can maximize the potential and minimize the distraction. By linking ICTs with active learning pedagogy, blended learning can move students from passive observers in the learning process to active participants.” Universities and other educational institutions across the world are now realizing the importance of blended learning and keeping up with the technological advancements taking place. Moreover, many eLearning platforms have also considered their drawbacks and shifted their focus more on adopting a blended approach for their training programs.
Though schools and colleges cannot switch to blended learning in a matter of some days, a well-planned infrastructure can be developed and efforts can be made to adopt it sooner. Instructors need to be trained well on how to use the online course materials and engage the students throughout the class. Students too should be made comfortable using the digitized content, studying, and completing their assessments online.