Hybrid Learning: A Strategic Imperative for Career Advancement in the Digital Era

Hybrid Learning: A Strategic Imperative for Career Advancement in the Digital Era

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Is hybrid education—a blended modality inclusive of both online and in-person courses—the best of both worlds? Most postgraduate prospects believe it is. In a recent survey, 61% of graduate students chose the hybrid modality as their preferred option.¹ While faculty seem to be less keen on the idea,² the adage “the customer is always right” is as true in higher education as it is in other industries. Colleges and universities that want to remain competitive must offer hybrid modalities to meet student demand.

Hybrid Learning Pathways in Higher Education

A hybrid course or program consists of both in-person and online sessions. There is no set standard for the division of time spent in each modality, but the split tends to range between 25% and 75% in either modality,³ depending on the university, program or course. The online portions can be synchronous or asynchronous, with the latter offering more flexibility. In-person portions can be used for course modules or lessons that benefit from face-to-face interaction or require in-person presence in a specific location: labs and practicums, experiential learning, class discussions, or group projects. These in-person experiences also allow students to network and build relationships with peers and faculty in ways that can be more challenging (though not impossible) in a purely online setting.

The Benefits of Hybrid Education for Working Professionals

The benefits of hybrid programs and courses are especially significant for busy adults juggling career and life responsibilities alongside educational pursuits. They include:

  • Flexibility: With a lessened commitment for their physical presence versus fully on-campus modalities, hybrid students are able to pursue the higher education and professional development needed to advance their careers while continuing to work or have time for personal responsibilities.
  • Affordability and opportunity: Many mid-career prospective students may not have the economic resources or bandwidth to attend entirely in-person courses. Blended learning opens the door to career advancement.
  • Access to campus facilities: College campuses have abundant resources, including libraries, labs, conference rooms, gyms and more—hybrid learning gives students unlimited access to these resources along with the flexibility of pursuing some of their coursework online.
  • Personalized learning experiences: Students must meet deadlines and course requirements, but they can navigate many aspects of online learning at their own pace and choose the location and timing that best fits their learning style.
  • Emotional connections and networking: Face-to-face interaction remains invaluable in the remote digital era. These powerful interactions are preserved in the hybrid modality.

Expanding Hybrid Options at Your Institution

Offering well-designed, outcomes-driven, engaging courses and programs is the key to successful hybrid education. To meet this demand, colleges and universities need to strategically incorporate more online and hybrid options into their portfolio planning. Here are three steps to get started:

  1. Establish an online portfolio roadmap.
    1. Analyze your institution’s market position.
    2. Conduct a competitive analysis.
    3. Identify your ideal prospective student mix.
  2. Take stock of your existing resources and capabilities.
    1. Audit existing online learning tools and personnel to identify expansion opportunities.
    2. Identify where you can leverage internal expertise for online learning infrastructure, pinpointing resource gaps.
  3. Consider working with an education technology (EdTech) provider to assist with:
    1. Market research and portfolio planning
    2. Instructional design and faculty support
    3. Marketing and recruitment
    4. Enrollment management
    5. Student retention
    6. Technology infrastructure and analytics

Navigating the Future with Hybrid Learning in Higher Education

Hybrid learning has emerged as a critical bridge to career advancement in the digital era, balancing the need for flexible, accessible education with the invaluable benefits of in-person interactions and networking. As universities strive to meet the evolving student preferences and demands, developing a strategic approach to incorporate both online and traditional learning methods will be paramount. This balanced approach not only aligns with student preferences but also ensures that universities remain competitive and responsive to the needs of a diverse student population seeking to advance their careers in a digitally connected world.

Contact Everspring to learn more about how we can help you implement the transformative potential of hybrid learning.

1. Encoura Eduventures, Hybrid Learning: Where Students and Institutions Currently Stand
2. Tyton Partners, Time for Class Report
3. Best Colleges, What Are Hybrid Courses?