Doesn’t it seem like every recent article is talking about the hybrid learning system?
About how it’s effective. About how it’s efficient. About how it’s being utilized for many different industries, including K-12, universities, corporate training, and just about anybody who needs to learn something.
But what is it?
Well, it’s got “learning” right in the title, so it must be educational.
But exactly what does hybrid learning mean for school? And what does it mean for corporate training?
We can tell you that it’s a super flexible education system that combines both in-person, instructor-led learning, and online distance learning. Want to know more?
Well, buckle your seatbelt because I’m about to unleash everything you want to know about hybrid learning…and maybe even a few things you never knew you wanted.
We’re going to go over the definition, benefits, some of the common challenges hybrid learning environments face, how a good LMS software can make your classes easier, and so much more.
What is Hybrid Learning?
Soooo…what is it? Is hybrid learning online?
It can be.
A hybrid learning environment is where some learners attend class in person and others attend virtually. Instructors teach both remote learners and face-to-face learners at the same time using traditional techniques and video conferencing hardware and software.
Hybrid learners have the choice of both in-person and online courses, being able to choose the learning model that suits them at any point in the program. You may have a blend of face-to-face and remote learning, or complete the course totally online.
It’s similar to blended learning, but blended learning puts emphasis on the combination of remote online learning and in-person learning, but hybrid learning is about finding the right combination for you – whatever that may be.
It’s an amazing, intuitive system that’s really taking off. Here are some killer hybrid learning statistics to chew on:
- 93% of companies globally plan to adopt online learning
- 62% of companies use online learning to close gaps in employee knowledge.
- 21% of colleges have adopted a hybrid model of learning.
- 95% of students agree that online education is satisfying, more fun, and helps them retain information.
- But on the other side, 66% of surveyed learners said that they had a hard time focusing remotely and finding a decent study space, preferring a face-to-face class.
Distance learning and in-person learning both have strengths and weaknesses. By combining them you can weed out any weaknesses and find the ultimate form of teaching.
Okay, so maybe not the ultimate form.
Why is hybrid online learning the ultimate form? Just try comparing it to a traditional education model.
It doesn’t take a genius to see why classroom hybrid learning is so hot.
What Are the Benefits of Hybrid Learning?
What is hybrid learning not good for?
It’s safe to say that distance learning is here to stay, but that face-to-face education is still valid and useful. I mean, you love Uber Eats but you still like going out to dinner, right?
But some people only like one. Or have access to one. This leads to our very first point.
By offering the option for both in-person schooling and virtual schooling, a hybrid learning system is much more accessible. Accessible not only to all schedules but to all people. Regardless of their lifestyles, disabilities, or location, every individual is able to attend.
For more on accessibility, read our blog post on Accessibility: eLearning for Everyone.
2. Flexible learning experience
Hybrid online learning’s accessibility is exactly what makes it so damn flexible. 60% of internet users reported that online courses are preferable to fit with their lifestyle and schedules.
Learners can skip ahead or rewatch material as needed, without being hindered by others in the group who might be faster or slower. Each student can learn at their own pace.
3. Lowers training cost
With some of your learners attending virtually, you won’t have to rent such a large conference room at that fancy hotel like you used to. Not to mention that you save on materials as e-training manuals are cheaper and easier to produce than standard corporate learning necessities.
You can further lower the cost by implementing quick, easy-to-make microlearning modules a part of your hybrid learning system.
4. Boost corporate training effectiveness
Classroom hybrid learning has been shown to increase knowledge retention and shorten training time – which by itself is going to help corporate training effectiveness.
But consider how many generations you employ. Younger generations are at-home in a digital environment and they’ve seen the stats: remote learning works. Generation Z folks are much more likely to succeed and ace training when faced with an environment they know, enjoy, and understand.
5. Effective time management
Consider when you rent out that hotel conference room we mentioned. You sent out the reminders, you got the “OK” back from every attendee (or most attendees), you all commuted there, and then you all waited until every learner showed up and you could finally start.
It isn’t surprising that distance learning takes 40% - 60% less time for employees and students than conventional learning now that I’ve set that up, hmm?
6. Freedom for independent academic exploration
Offering online and hybrid learning for employees lets them spread their wings a little. It allows them to explore and discover by their own means in their own time.
Letting learners research and study material in a hybrid learning environment opens up independent academic exploration, which boosts self-motivation, self-confidence, and really makes information stick.
7. Ability to track and measure progress
Reports, data, and analytics enable you to measure not only a learner’s progress but a training course’s effectiveness. Implementing online and hybrid learning in your training allows you to more accurately ascertain how well a learner is absorbing the material by tracking analytics and supplying assessments.
Assessing hybrid learning statistics has never been easier.
We all know this one. Remote learning’s use in preventing sickness is well-established…but it’s definitely worth noting.
Having a hybrid learning system will make it possible to have learners present who otherwise could pass colds or flu to the other trainees. We’ve also heard of some workers with auto-immune issues being grateful for distance learning so they can continue training and working without the worry of their own health issues.
If you’re interested in a little more reading material regarding the benefits of distance education, check out this article to learn how eLearning software can change your business.
Common Challenges of Hybrid Learning
With every great practice and method come challenges, but it ain’t anything we can’t take on. Traditional training has its headaches and obstacles, doesn’t it?
Let’s review the most common challenges faced in a hybrid learning environment.
1. Technical issues
Technical issues are always a pain in the rear, but now when the internet falters, your computer won’t recognize new software or hardware or a certain system feature is hard to learn or is unclear, you’ve lost your student. And when you lose a student, that means the rest of the day gets held up which is a punch to the gut in:
- Other trainees’ times and schedules
- Any other classes or work the instructor had scheduled
To combat this, you’ll need some good IT know-how and solid, user-friendly LMS software like Tovuti.
It’s easy to forget that those remote trainees aren’t getting the attention they normally would be. Communicating between teacher and learner is vital – but so is communication between remote learner and in-person learner.
Peer-to-peer communication and knowledge-sharing is training you don’t even have to plan or pay for. And the forums, social profiles, and communities in a good LMS facilitate that.
There’s certainly a tricky balance to ensure both types of learners are equally engaged, both remote and in-person. Being at a distance can let learners slip through your watch and you may not even realize your trainees aren’t interested or digesting the course. Or maybe you’re only focusing on the remote learners and the in-person trainees are suffering from lack of engagement.
And making sure your trainees are engaged is one of the most important factors to knowledge retention.
Not like that.
A great way to engage any learner is gamifying. In fact, an employee’s ability to learn new skills is increased by 40% when the content is fun and engaging.
Trainees having friendly competition with leaderboards and badges really get them interested in the material. Read more about it in LMS Gamification: A Learner Motivation Strategy.
4. Passive learning
Some learners get through every course by doing the bare minimum. We all knew one in school, right? It’s easy to just go through the motions…tick it off like a checklist.
But online and hybrid learning require you to be more active: volunteering, working with the group, taking initiative, speaking up – even more than a traditional class. So you really can’t have trainees just letting classes fly by them. They’ll be missing more vital points and information than usual.
Encourage cooperation. The more one interacts with others the more active they are in class. Connecting with colleagues boosts active learning and participation at the same time as increasing engagement.
5. Poor tech skills
Trust us, this is different from the “technical issues” bullet point.
Students with little to no tech know-how are either going to slow others down or fall behind due to not knowing video call basics, flailing around with the software, and more.
Holding up training is going to waste time and money and that student is barely going to be digesting the class, are they?
A little digital training goes a long way and at least knowing terms and phrases will help out. Why not brush up with a Comprehensive Glossary: eLearning Terminology?
If you aren’t careful, collaboration experiences could be few and far between with some trainees remote and some attending in-person. Not just peer-to-peer, but between learners and the instructor.
Stay on top of this and encourage group projects, group discussions, and more. Collaboration is an excellent teaching method, letting students learn from each other, develop social and team skills, and help knowledge retention.
7. Sharing files and materials
Being able to share files, materials, and resources is critical. It keeps everyone on the same page, digesting the right information, and reduces costs overall (everyone doesn’t need their own version or copy of every resource). But when you aren’t physically in attendance, difficulties arise.
It’s a huge benefit if everyone’s using the same software. Sharing documents and manuals is quick and simple using an LMS like Tovuti. It’s just as simple as handing someone a pamphlet…but more cost-efficient.
It also saves on paper! The trees would approve.
Things To Consider When Providing Hybrid Learning to Employees
With so many people asking "What is hybrid learning in schools?" you may not consider what it means to implement a hybrid learning system for employees.
It isn’t quite the same as K-12.
Time is money. Trite but true.
You’ll need to figure out how you’re going to spend class time so it doesn’t cut into productivity and work time. A hybrid learning environment is actually better at this than a traditional class.
Having course content accessible online makes more room for active learning during class and makes the whole training session faster and more streamlined.
Ensuring you invest in the best software for your hybrid learning system is a must. A good LMS will make your training program run smoothly every time you have new hires.
Smart companies realize how important the right software is – these relevant hybrid learning statistics show it.
- 67% of businesses have increased spending on web conferencing software
- 57% increased spending on collaboration tools
- And 23% increased spending on LMS software
Spending more money on software will increase your overall revenue. 86% of millennials would be kept from leaving their current position if better training was offered by their employer.
Take into consideration the cost of tech and software, but also how much you’ll be saving on less physical space. And fewer physical training manuals, documents, and doughnuts.
You can also purchase pre-made and pre-prepared courses for little cost and that’ll save you big on time.
Don’t make us say “time is money” again.
4. Make time for remote learners
Touch base, ask questions, be proactive - just because they aren’t there physically doesn’t mean they don’t need attention.
Getting involved is important with any learner, but employees that receive attention and recognition from their company have a 14% increase in productivity, engagement, and performance.
5. Master tech basics
No one can account for freak accidents like a lightning strike taking out a powerline. But taking responsibility for whatever you can control will make your training more efficient and effective.
Mastering screen share, online slides and PowerPoint, and remembering to do a see/hear check for everyone are great for starters. It’ll also set you ahead being ready and able to troubleshoot problems.
Features of Hybrid Learning in an LMS
Hybrid online learning can really be boosted by any feature in an LMS like Tovuti – even the in-person learners via laptop or during off-hours. But these specific features are our top choices.
They’re the superstars of a hybrid learning environment.
1. Learning paths
Learning paths help ensure everyone’s on the same page and they can be set to individuals or groups, as needed. Create checklists that include courses, activities, events, and assessments, that then dynamically assign or unassign based on a trainee’s completed milestones.
They can also have dynamic due dates, which means no more setting due dates for training material every time you get a new hire.
For more info, check out this informative overview of learning paths.
2. Social learning tools
Social profiles, communities, forums, and leaderboards all ensure that your remote trainees are bonding and interacting with your in-person trainees.
Personalized, white-labeled learner portals further this by giving employees their own page with earned badges and certificates, their spot on the company leaderboard, and even a customizable banner image. It’s like your company’s own LinkedIn.
3. Virtual classrooms
Real-time virtual classrooms allow learners to actively engage and interact with the instructor via emotes and an interactable whiteboard. You can also share screens, share webcams, and track attendance and time attended for each trainee.
Breakout rooms are also available for separating learners into groups or organized one-on-one sessions.
4. Analytics and reporting tools
A user-friendly analytics dashboard helps you track learner progress, attendance, business training finances, and any other hybrid learning statistics you need.
Add Tovuti’s report builder to the mix – easily creating custom reports on learner performance, payments, purchases, and events – and you’ve got a winning duo.
Microlearning can be implemented into a hybrid learning environment easily and helps reduce cost and improve engagement by giving learners quick, easy-to-digest pieces of information.
Microlearning can be quick videos, slideshows, infographics, informative animations, and so much more. It could even be a very broad topic broken down into several short videos, presentations, and quizzes to help the trainee digest the knowledge better.
And 58% of employees would be more likely to use a company’s learning tools if microlearning was implemented.
Thirsty for more? Check out Microlearning: eLearning in Bite Sizes.
How Can Hybrid Learning Be Integrated into an LMS?
Listen up! ‘Cause I’m about to give you some important tips on implementing an LMS in your hybrid learning environment!
Integrating online hybrid learning with a learning management system is simple and will make your job, the instructor’s job, and all the trainees’ jobs so much easier.
An LMS helps you conduct assessments, gets your learners communicating and collaborating, and facilitates unique learner engagement with interactivity.
Here are a few ways an LMS fits into your hybrid learning course:
- Use for content delivery
- Create learning paths for employees
- Develop and conduct assessments online
- Provide space for interactions
- Incorporate hands-on activities online
Let’s go over these a little more in-depth, shall we?
Integrating an LMS into hybrid learning can be smooth, efficient, and effective. A learning management system is really just a souped-up administrative assistant ready and willing to help with instructor-led training (ILT). They help:
- Schedule training sessions
- Send important emails and updates to attendees
- Send automated notifications to remind employees of upcoming sessions
- Record attendance for both remote and in-person attendees.
For more tips on meshing in-person with LMS, check out this article on ILT instructor lead training LMS.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does Hybrid Learning mean?
Hybrid learning is a course or training session where some of the learners attend virtually (say, via video call) and others attend face-to-face. The learner can customize their experience to their own needs with both online and in-person lessons.
It’s a hybrid combo of elearning and brick-and-mortar that’s accessible and effective.
See what we did there?
What are some Hybrid Learning tools?
First and foremost: a learning management system. An LMS is going to provide you with most of the tools you’ll need: assessments, webinars, course management, analytics, and more.
Other essentials are communication tools like Zoom, GoToMeeting, and Webex, which all seamlessly integrate into your LMS.
How do you implement Hybrid Learning?
It isn’t hard, but take some time considering how it’s best done for your business. Maybe start course building in your LMS, including some online-accessible content for your trainees such as learning paths and quizzes, then run it through a pilot run to see how it works out.
This concludes today’s lesson on classroom hybrid learning – any questions?
Jokes aside, we think we answered all questions pretty well.
Hands-on instruction definitely isn’t going anywhere and has solid benefits that can’t be replaced, but elearning is growing in popularity that can’t be ignored.
77% of online learners who’ve studied in a face-to-face class feel their online experience is the same or better than their physical classroom experience. So why not combine them?
Just keep in mind the challenges of engagement, technical issues, and communication, and the considerations of time, cost, and tools and you’re well on your way to designing the perfect hybrid learning system.
We can knock off one of those points right now if you watch our demo and arm yourself with one of the best bits of hybrid learning software available.
Until then, remember that we just effectively educated you remotely.