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Hybrid Learning - The Way Forward

According to reports published by UNESCO, nearly 70 percent of the world’s student population is impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic. In India alone, 32

crore learners across various economic segments experienced adverse effects due to the closure of educational institutions beginning in 2020. As of now, we are somehow trying to pick up from where we left off!

The learning ecosystem has been undergoing a major transformation for a long time. In the midst of all this, we have come up with a new method in the teaching-learning concept - ‘the virtual way.’ Virtual education platforms today not only complement and supplement classroom teaching, but they have also each independently evolved in terms of heightened synchronization and convenience for a wide range of users. This transformation is primarily due to increased experimentation in the virtual learning space because of the recent changes in demographic profiles throughout the world.

It is common knowledge that COVID 19 acted as the catalyst for this change. It forced everyone to switch from physical classroom teaching to online teaching overnight.

Hybrid learning is a comprehensive approach that combines the best of traditional learning and online education methods. It redefines conventional educational roles. This method stands to benefit learners who do well in an organized environment that includes face-to-face interaction, and others, who do better with digital systems. The seamless learning provides an opportunity to explore endless possibilities.

A key advantage of blended learning is that it maintains a connection between the educator and the learner by superimposing computerized and physical learning. It helps in individualizing the delivery of education, which allows educators to play the role of a mentor as it takes the pressure off the occurrence wherein knowledge is imparted in a manner of rigid instruction.

This increases collaboration with peers in a blended learning environment and improves the social characteristics of learners. It allows students to cooperate, work together, participate in fruitful and stimulating discussions, and give useful feedback to one another, which significantly improves performance.

It also offers flexibility with the usage of diverse applications and programs to teach concepts, letting students have the ability to control and engage with material at their own pace. This helps balance classrooms comprising both fast and slow

learners because each individual has the chance to interact with information in their own unique way. This promotes stable and steady learning, reduces stress and anxiety, and increases learner gratification, all while maintaining learner equality.

A hybrid learning approach would be cost-effective and time-saving. It requires fewer classrooms and training centers, fewer instructors, and less commuting time.

Thus, both current times and a post-COVID era surely see a hybrid learning environment as the need of the hour, because of the harmonious coexistence of both physical and virtual teaching-learning platforms to provide quality education and make learning enjoyable with the mix of academics and co-scholastic activities.

By Rhea Oommen

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