Embracing the hybrid model in the current education scenario

With the COVID-19 pandemic, established systems like education, health, manufacturing, etc. have been severely impacted. According to the World Economic Forum, more than 1.2 billion children in 186 countries have been affected by school closures due to the pandemic. This impelled educational institutions to adopt online technologies at a break-neck speed. This change has provided a clear picture of existing inequalities and a clearer picture of what steps we need to take in the future, chief among them addressing the education of students whose learning has been hampered due to school closures. It is evident that we cannot return to the world as it existed before the pandemic. One of the strongest messages is that our common humanity necessitates global solidarity.

The heart of any educational process is the human relationship between a student and a teacher. These hybrid systems rely on technology, which is out of reach of many developing countries and more so, there is no infrastructure in place like the internet and electricity. As per a report by the UN on the digital divide in Africa, only 11% of learners in sub-Saharan Africa have a household computer and only 18% have household internet, as compared to the 50% of learners globally who have computers in their homes and 57% who have access to the internet. This is a major impediment for children living in poverty worldwide, who often depend on the physical setting of their schools to provide educational materials, guidance and sometimes, the only decent meal of the day.

Education-related start-ups have already begun to take benefit of the platform afforded by the rapid spread of mobile/smartphones. During the lockout, a hybrid learning system had to be designed to keep the teaching process going. It’s a teaching method in which some students attend class in person while others participate virtually from their homes. Educators use video conferencing hardware and software to teach both remote and in-person students at the same time.

The features of the hybrid course must be specifically tuned to the learning mode, whether it is in person or online, for this approach to be successful. The wide range of learning methods and resources that are provided by online and hybrid learning is a fundamental benefit, allowing each student to obtain a more individualised approach to learning. Student groups created in person, appear to communicate more efficiently online than when they communicate face-to-face, but fewer physical meetings mean less travel time for commuting students and an appealing alternative for non-traditional working students.

Many institutions are adopting hybrid learning for a variety of reasons, including effective learning schedules, exploratory teaching modes, collaboration flexibility and communication between students, teachers and superiors. Online education will become an essential component of classroom education as the convergence of information technology and education develops. It will concentrate on combining the advantages of working from home with the advantages of co-working space.

Working professionals and busy graduate students can benefit from the hybrid model since they can reduce their in-class time while still maintaining productive communication with teachers and peers. The hybrid model is believed to be one of the most effective new educational tactics because it combines the greatest features of both online and face-to-face classroom training (Skill, 2002). Furthermore, educators might choose to use the hybrid option in a variety of situations.

New job openings will emerge and reskilling will be critical to growth as displaced workers seek new employment.

New job profiles have become visible and the future belongs to those who adapt, experiment and transform with the changing times. Work From Home (WFH) Facilitators: Before COVID, less than 5% of companies had remote policies. In the post-pandemic situation, remote work remains the norm. Far from being a futuristic job of tomorrow, WFH facilitators have become “jobs of the now.”

Higher education now includes technology as an essential component. The use of technology in education is continuing to increase and evolve. Being aware of how to appropriately incorporate technology into course design is a crucial component of being a teacher in today’s climate. There is no clear formula for determining how much online versus traditional face-to-face education is the best mix for course design. Even seasoned teachers have trouble determining the right balance of classroom and online components. Educators can benefit from research in this field since it reveals the best way to provide course information in order to maximise learning outcomes.

The future of the employment market is bright, thanks to a new set of talents developed by merging technology and traditional business practices. However, before jobs, sales, earnings and supply chains adapt and embrace the new standard, there will be a transition time.

Further reading