Hybrid learning: Taking education to the next level

    When the pandemic started in 2020, schools were forced to shut and send 1.2 billion students in 186 countries back to their homes and continue their learning remotely, using virtual platforms for lessons. While schools have already adopted some form of online learning pre-pandemic, lockdowns globally underscored the importance of education technology. It’s enabled schools to continue lessons amid one of the biggest crises in the world’s history.

    However, education technology should be seen as more than a stop-gap measure during crises. If anything, the experience of the past 18 months ought to encourage schools to think about a future where learning can take place anywhere, anytime, with access to learning resources and environments beyond the school’s four walls. With the help of technology, learning will become increasingly more personalized, collaborative and immersive, and this future of education will be one that is enabled by hybrid learning.

    The true benefit of ‘learn anywhere, anytime’

    Flexibility, is one of the key benefits of hybrid learning.

    In a hybrid learning setting, some students may be physically present in the classroom, while others may be logged on remotely for the lesson. A hybrid learning classroom enables learners to continue participating in lessons despite obstacles such as physical disabilities, or physical distance from the school.

    The flexible nature of hybrid learning also empowers students to take learning into their own hands. With online learning software, students are encouraged to acquire knowledge independently, beyond the classrooms and textbooks, being able to revisit the lessons and review what the teachers covered during class through rewinding of the recordings. And with a learning-management system, students are able to identify learning gaps through data analytics and reporting.

    Hybrid learning also enables teachers to expand on topics or concepts that students may struggle with. When they need to, teachers can provide students who need extra help remotely. But the hybrid learning model is more than just about incorporating lessons online in the syllabus. Teachers can maximize time and use digital resources to make learning more effective, collaborative and fun. This includes conducting international virtual exchange programs with schools overseas, inviting external lecturers to conduct a lesson. And with emerging technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), teachers can truly bring lessons to life. This makes hybrid learning different from blended learning, which primarily involves in-person classes complemented by online learning, whereas hybrid learning emphasizes both in-person and virtual learning that combines both synchronous and asynchronous methods to create a flexible learning environment.

    Growing acceptance of hybrid learning

    Hybrid learning combines the benefits of classroom learning and digital lessons and resources, enhancing the learning experience for students everywhere. The US is already embracing the benefits of hybrid learning. According to the American Enterprise Institute, 45% of K-12 schools in the US have adopted a hybrid learning approach in June 2021. Separately, a Gartner® research report1 states that “by 2025, 25% of institutions will leverage hybrid classrooms to deliver all core teaching.” The National School Board Association (NSBA) has also called for additional funding to help schools upgrade their systems and facilitate the move towards a hybrid world. The World Economic Forum expects ‘learning anywhere anytime’ to be more widely embraced by learners and solution providers, as 5G technology becomes more prevalent in countries such as China, US and Japan.

    Succeed in hybrid learning by investing in technology smartly

    The digital transformation of education makes it possible for schools to adopt a hybrid learning model. But this new model of learning needs to equip teachers and students with the right devices to facilitate a conducive learning environment. For instance, WiFi optimizers to manage the increased volume of online traffic with classes conducted at the same time, and noise-cancelling equipment to prevent disruptions during class.

    In addition, learners need school essentials that foster a seamless learning experience. This comes in the form of devices such as garage styluses with pressure-sensitive tips for notetaking and hardy laptops that can withstand the knocks and bumps of everyday use. A tablet with a world-facing camera can also facilitate virtual group discussions, allowing students to snap and share pictures and videos instantly on collaboration apps and foster intuitive and seamless learning.

    As students learn and share information every day, it’s just as important to keep their personal information safe and secure. Institutions using the hybrid learning model will need multiple layers of IT security. These include hardware protection like security slots, identity protection such as data encryption software, and tools for IT staff to manage devices remotely and prevent data breaches.

    The hybrid learning model is a move away from a traditional learning experience to one that is flexible, collaborative and expansive. By equipping students and teachers with suitable devices, backed by the right IT and infrastructure, schools will be able to take education to the next level.

    Recommended products for hybrid learning

    • ASUS Education BR1100 Windows laptops are available in 11.6-inch clamshell form (BR1100C) for a traditional experience, and a convertible design (BR1100F) that flips to become an 11.6-inch multi-touch tablet. Classrooms are tough and demanding environments, so these models are built to withstand everyday knocks, bumps, drops and spills without serious damage. They also feature AI-powered noise-cancelation technology for clear, focused learning and conferencing, and a noise-reducing camera for superior images.

    • ASUS Education Chromebook Detachable CZ1 laptop is packed with protective features, including a wrap-around rubber trim, shockproof cover and durable 3D-textured finish. It features a free-angle adjustable stand cover and full-size keyboard with 1.5 mm key travel, plus an ErgoLift design — all to facilitate productivity, flexibility and comfort. A garaged stylus and world-facing camera enable creativity, and an eye-friendly TÜV Rheinland-certified display and all-day battery life combine to let students explore the world without limits.

    • ASUS ExpertBook B3 Flip is built to embrace the new normal – hybrid learning. It is the best companion for teachers and students. With a versatile, tough design, studying or working everywhere is no longer a dream. It’s equipped with a 360° hinge to for total display flexibility, a world-facing camera for a new perspective, and a garaged stylus to for simple, safe input.

    • ASUS ExpertBook B1 offers 14-inch (B1400) and 15 inch (B1500) thin and light form factor for teachers to take anywhere. It benefits from a high-speed, high-capacity dual-storage design, comprehensive connectivity compatible, and a display that can be opened a full 180° for easy content sharing and collaboration.

    1 Gartner, Top Technology Trends Impacting Higher Education in 2021, Glenda Morgan, Jan-Martin Lowendahl, Terri-Lynn Thayer, Robert Yanckello, Tony Sheehan, 23 February 2021.