Are hybrid and blended learning better options for learning going forward?

When schools were allowed to re-open during the early days of lockdown, many parents were nervous to send their children back to school because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But the fear of the loss of the academic year was also at the forefront. Many parents deregistered their children, while others searched 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 lockdown was introduced in March.

ALSO SEE: 4 more free online educational resources to keep kids learning

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 to write 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.

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.

Is ‘hybrid’ the same as ‘blended’ learning?

Nope. 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.

ALSO SEE: 4 ways to ensure your child’s getting the most out of their new learning environment

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.

These are some of the online education options available in SA

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,” says CEO Stacey Brewer.

To find out more visit their website.

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.

Find out how to enrol your Grade 4 to Grade 9 child with Curro Online here.

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.

Find out more here.

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

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