The differences between hybrid and blended learning

The future of learning is online – and it seems COVID-19 has accelerated the process (for those who can afford it).

It’s becoming clear that more and more parents are leaning towards different schooling options for their kids since the COVID-19 pandemic started.

We’re living in crazy times. With the opening of schools delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and staggered school days, many parents fear their children are not going to cope with the school year ahead. Some parents have deregistered their children, while others are searching for other learning options.

Stuck between a rock and a hard place, some parents are investigating online learning options for their children – either at their current school or at one of the new online educational institutions popping up all over the Internet since the start of the coronavirus last year.

Hybrid learning

Hybrid learning combines face-to-face and online teaching into one seamless learning experience. At some schools in SA, a percentage of the class attends lessons on campus, while the rest of the learners remain at home, working online. Some schools offer learners the option of studying at home (via live-streamed lessons or notes) and coming into school for pracs (like art or drama), and writing tests and exams.

Hybrid learning offers some unique opportunities, but teachers need to be trained to identify how online and face-to-face teaching can be implemented to work cohesively.

Valenture Institute is a local example of a school that uses hybrid learning. They launched their boutique hotel in Dunkeld, Johannesburg in September. These facilities allow them to facilitate the face-to-face lessons, while a bulk of the teaching happens online.  The Academy Hout Bay also uses the same model of teaching, using “a blend of distance online learning and experiential on-campus teaching to prepare its students for a rapidly changing world.”

According to Valenture’s CEO Rob Paddock “innovation is a culture, and brick and mortar schools have not yet inculcated the culture of innovation”. Institutions like Valenture work at cultivating a culture of invocation.

Hybrid in comparison to blended learning

You may have heard the words “hybrid” and “blended” being used interchangeably, but they mean different things. That difference lies mainly in the PROPORTION of face-to-face and online sessions. Hybrid is a more equal split between the two, whereas blended refers to mostly traditional face-to-face teaching, with a few online lessons thrown into the mix. (This can be more accurately described as ‘web-enhanced’ teaching.)

Online learning

If you register your child at an online educational institution, all their lessons will take place online, and can include face-to-face teaching, interaction with other learners in a ‘virtual classroom’ as well group activities.

Online learning can work really well for a child who is stimulated by independent exploration, is highly tech-literate or passionate about technology, (most teenagers), and enjoys innovative ways of teaching. The learner is exposed to more videos, links to content and can complete assignments in their own time – and in their home environment. Online discussion forums may be less intimidating than speaking in front of their peers in a face-to-face physical classroom.

3 Online education options available in SA

  1. SPARK Schools:  They have an Online Home Learning portal with live lessons online for those parents who have access to data and want to keep their children home. They also provide material via WhatsApp and paper-based Home Learning packs that parents can collect from the school for those with limited, or no access to data.
  2. Curro Online:  If you enrol your child at Curro Online, they have access to the extra-curricular activities offered at your nearest physical Curro School, and can play sport or debate, sing, dance, and act with other Curro learners.
  3. TENEO Education:  Affordable private education for Grades 4 to 12, Teneo School’s experienced teachers are passionate about delivering structured learning through the digital medium. Available in both English and Afrikaans, enjoy quality education from the safety of your own home. Like a regular school, they offer timetabled classes, independent study, learning structure, and assignments. Qualified teachers interact with our students during live lessons and other digital channels.