As with any innovation or newly invented methodology, initially there’s confusion regarding terminology. Hybrid learning and blended learning are pretty much defined as separate ideas, for example by Naveen Neelakandan in “How is hybrid learning different from blended learning,” who states his definitions clearly: “blended learning only works by combining two things: eLearning and traditional learning. As for hybrid learning, it works by allowing students to choose whether to learn in person or to participate online.” But perhaps using the adverb “only” is a mistake. What if there are other interpretations?
Celisa Steele in a recent article on www.leadinglearning.com titled “Hybrid vs. Blended Learning: The Difference and Why It Matters” defines hybrid learning as an “educational approach where some individuals participate in person and some participate online. Instructors and facilitators teach remote and in-person learners at the same time using technology like video conferencing.”
This seems like a clear definition of the situation many faced during the pandemic, when some schools decided to practice safe distancing by halving the number of students in the classroom, sending the other half home to call in via Zoom. Meanwhile, the unprepared teacher was left to juggle the in-house kids and the online kids, AND learn the tech on the fly.
Steele also defines blended learning, with which “instructors and facilitators combine in-person instruction with online learning activities. Learners complete some components online and some others in person.” She also says that “Both types of learning involve a mix of in-person and online learning, but the “who” differs in the two scenarios. With hybrid learning, the in-person learners and the online learners are different individuals. With blended learning, the same individuals learn both in person and online.”
Precisely. And what if the two scenarios amalgamate into one?
For the purposes of our project: Connected Learning - implementing international and intercultural online student collaboration, focused on 21st century skills, our definition of hybrid learning will differ, in that the online collaboration amongst groups of students from different classes, schools, cities or even countries mixes the two concepts, hybrid and blended. The students participating in the collaboration are all in-person learners at some point of the learning, and at the same time, they’re online learners, too.