The Challenges and Logic of Online, Blended and Hybrid Learning Delivery
With the challenges of COVID-19 mostly behind us – do not become complacent, cases are still very high and married with the flu season, caution is paramount (not to mention vaccination) – a consideration of the three basic modes of delivery is timely. Each serves a purpose but one is the most logical and flexible moving forward.
Online delivery was mandatory throughout the peak of COVID-19 and remains a practical solution at present. My own institution has fared very well in this mode with high levels of student satisfaction (4.3/5), graduate satisfaction (95%) and of course satisfying QILT outcomes – all throughout the COVID-19 period, worth adding. The most recent student survey (T1, 2023) on wanting to return to campus F2F delivery met with a resounding no – with 95% of students wishing to remain online (98.5% in the case of postgraduate students).
Blended delivery is a mixed mode approach marrying online delivery with F2F – ideal for domestic students who are working full time and are essentially – ‘time poor’. My own institution operates this mode for this very reason (3 evening sessions on line and 2 days intensive) and the satisfaction levels are through the roof at 4.8/5. Part venue choice and part master teacher choice – nevertheless an effective mode for this cohort.
Hybrid delivery is a mode of option – that is F2F or online – they run simultaneously so students can opt in an out. It is very much about putting the choice with students – which is a sensible notion if you want to actually achieve high levels of satisfaction and approval. Hybrid is not about retail and real estate it is about students – giving them the opportunity to work in the mode that best suits them and their needs.
My own institution is planning on the hybrid option for T3, 2023 – assuming there is no foolish government intervention. It is the most sensible of options. It does require investment in high quality delivery resources – but it does allow for enormous flexibility. It is the way of the future – and we would be wise to move in that direction. Clearly, based on the empirical evidence of recent surveys, our students will be keen on the option.
Emeritus Professor Greg Whateley is the Deputy Vice Chancellor at UBSS and Vice President (Academic) at GCA.