By: Karen Spencer, OrasiLabs Product Manager

Why do I need hybrid learning? This question may have sounded valid to many people before 2020. But as the pandemic hit, this question became redundant for the global industry, for many HR departments, and IT teams. Anywhere and everywhere you look, people are learning via remote tools. The need to integrate two different models of learning seems so outdated today. But pause and think, is hybrid learning really not relevant anymore?

A recent Manifest report found remote learning is more expensive than it appears on the surface. The effectiveness of such learning hinges a lot on learners’ ability to get access to the appropriate technical environment. Not everybody is geared up for learning via only the online tools. Some need,

  • More attention from instructors,
  • Face-to-face discussions,
  • Personalized problem-solving and
  • To apply and experiment with whatever they learn.

That’s why hybrid learning stays a viable option, even in the post-pandemic landscape of training, learning, and development. It is a learning model where some people can attend class in-person with face-to-face learning, while others can learn through virtual tools.

Another variant of hybrid learning is when a learner can benefit from a mix of tools at different learning stages. This is very helpful when someone is learning a new application or a new software feature that requires a lot of practical understanding. Instructors can customize the content, schedules, and learning experiences by using blended learning and technology together. It allows learners to get that much needed hands-on experience when a particular skill requires it.

How is hybrid learning different today?
Hybrid learning is not a new term. But its ease and affordability have become stronger because of the emergence of modern solutions. Technology developments like the cloud, analytics, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, etc., have added a new dimension to hybrid learning. Thanks to hands-on virtual labs, the impact of learning has increased manifold in the following ways:

  1. Ease and simplicity of learning
  2. Cost-effective learning because of cloud-native platforms
  3. More engagement and learner immersion
  4. Application-oriented learning
  5. Personalized learning
  6. Over-the-shoulder guidance of instructors
  7. Intelligence-driven learning
  8. Better time and schedule management
  9. Integration of timely and apt assignments and projects
  10. Goal-oriented learning for specific career needs or for fixing some learning gaps

When used in hybrid learning, virtual labs can elevate the combination of traditional classroom experiences, experiential learning, digital course delivery, learner collaboration, discussion, face-to-face interactions, and a versatile mix of online educational materials with offline tools.

Augmenting hybrid learning with virtual labs

The effectiveness of hybrid learning heavily rests on the training design, the execution, and the choice available to both learners and educators. If instructors can make sure they have the right balance between online and offline features, synchronous (conducted as an in-class course, with set times) and asynchronous (self-paced) learning, between fast-track learners and slow-paced learners then they can truly leverage the power of hybrid learning. As per the Manifest survey, e-learning is “not just a fad” but likely to remain the ‘new normal’ for a while, even after the pandemic’s effect dilutes or ends.

So, the way we learn may change with technology adoption, but the strategy and execution are still in the hands of the humans who use it.

  • Make sure you have the best training designs, templates, features, expertise, and access.
  • Use well-crafted hands-on activities that virtual labs enable with ease and choices.
  • Enhance the power of your course, learning efforts, investments, and learning management systems (LMS) with the environments that virtual labs efficiently provide.
  • Use individualized analytics and insights, deploy intelligent assessment mechanisms, and create engagement-driven hybrid learning.

It’s all up to you. Keep getting better and smarter.