Understanding the Difference Between Hybrid Education and Blended Learning

Contributed By

Lauren Davis

EdTech Editor, Former Department Chair and Instructional Coach

Understanding the Difference Between Hybrid Education and Blended Learning

Posted in Evolving Ed | August 06, 2020

What’s the difference between Hybrid Education and Blended Learning? 

We’re all quite familiar with blended learning. After all, many of us have been implementing its components long before the onset of COVID-19 and school closures. For reference, though, blended learning is essentially a mix of in-person and comprehensive virtual learning. Now, I’d like to challenge you to think beyond mere blended learning and add the term Hybrid Education to your education-related repertoire.  

Hybrid education is a teaching and learning model that meets the needs of students, teachers, and staff with integrated edtech tools that address blended learning, professional development, staff support, the learning gap, social emotional learning, flexible scheduling, and attendance. Think of it as an umbrella term that includes blended learning, but is not limited to just that.  

In Hybrid Education, learning comes first, and can include many of the instructional approaches we’re familiar with, including:  

Online Learning 

Online learning refers to learning that is facilitated wholly by the use of digital tools and technology. 

Distance Learning 

Distance learning occurs when teachers, students, and classrooms are separate and uses a range of approaches including online usually over significant physical distances. 

Remote Learning 

Remote Learning has emerged to describe emergency measures to move instruction from physical schools to homes in online and offline modes. 

Blended Learning 

Blended learning, as mentioned above, involves a ‘blend’ of face-to-face and digital experiences usually delivered as part of a physical classroom experience. 

Flipped Learning 

Flipped learning is a pedagogical approach that inverts the traditional method of the teacher leading learning, instead handing responsibility over to the student. Students receive and engage with material prior to the classroom learning through videos and/or tutorials delivered online. 

Hybrid Learning 

Hybrid Learning is a hybrid approach that builds on the successes of flipped, blended, remote, distance and online learning to intentionally create learner-centered experiences that are profoundly personalized, relevant and engaging. 

As mentioned earlier, Hybrid Education also addresses student support needs (e.g.: learning gaps, social-emotional learning (SEL), hybrid scheduling and attendance) as well as many operational functions that must take place for school or district in order to provide the former. It’s estimated that students will return to school this fall with less than 50% of learning gains in math, and in some grades, nearly a full year behind what we would expect in normal conditions. Addressing these learning gaps is crucial, and ideally, should be an immediate priority. Assessment tools—like Performance Matters—can help identify and address learning gaps because:  

  • It allows you to build and deliver your own standards-aligned assessments to identify instructional gaps between what students should know and their actual abilities. 
  • It provides you with the most comprehensive view into student progress including additional data like attendance, behavior, grades, third-party assessment results, and SEL information. 
  • It saves you time with centrally created reports that can be securely distributed to staff and automatically filtered so that users only see the student data that they have permission to see. 

Additionally, 31% of teachers say they are spending less time now on social-emotional support due to distance and blended learning. Strengthening your SEL program and resources, and monitoring it with sophisticated analytics can help accelerate the much-needed services that support the needs of the whole child and their family during these times. 

Stay tuned to the Schoology Exchange Blog for more comprehensive information on Hybrid Education! 

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