So what is hybrid learning?

Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay

I posted the other day what hybrid wasn’t and was rightly asked by Craig Trousdale to explain what it is, so this post is my definition and understanding of hybrid.

To clarify from the start: blended learning is not hybrid learning. Blending is a technique that falls under the hybrid banner but is, in itself, just a design choice. You can compare it to the choice to create training or an alternative intervention; training is a design choice that falls under the umbrella of learning.

Hybrid learning might be described as the shift to a more context specific form of learning. Its design is more fluid and flexible than the former models we have used previously, and follows the discourse that learning has moved from just in case to just enough. That means it will likely contain – but not be limited to – one or more of the following elements:

Incorporating a range of learning theories in the way we design hybrid learning is essential. Too many learning professionals are stuck using dated processes and ways of working that are not reflective of modern thinking and learning practice. This means working outside the traditional boxes and being open to be more fluid in both intervention design and delivery, but more importantly, also recognising when learning is not required.

The opportunity to use channels above and beyond ‘video’ has been available for many years but – as I mentioned – we seem to be stuck inside delivery models that over specify the inputs at the expense of creative and worthwhile outputs.

Technology has moved the learning field forward but there is still and expectation and demand for face to face, and physical and analogue approaches to learning. This is noticeable in the less digitally resident and the hybrid design will acknowledge and incorporate this into its design principles.

Social constructivism has its critics and is by no means the answer to everything. However, the expectation within an organisation – rather than education – that someone working in the hierarchy/structure has knowledge about how someone can do their job better should be encouraged. Not all knowledge is new, and setting people an expectation to seek out for themselves is more likely to produce more meaningful outputs. The fixation with curricula in workplace learning and a minimum expected input leads to an industry creating content.

I’ve mentioned asynchronous before and any hybrid approach has to accept that not everyone will be learning the same thing at the same time. This will be more acknowledged by organisations as the move away from knowledge workers, at a venue, working the same hours, becomes more common.

Lastly, hybrid is a scale issue. Anyone can craft a learning programme and call it blended by adding some online elements. To make it truly blended is to make EVERYTHING that the learning function does in the image of the points above.

How would you define hybrid? Please let me know.

6 thoughts on “So what is hybrid learning?

  1. […] Restrictions in the UK are easing because of Covid. It’s not going to create a ‘Great Return’ though and I still think we’re going to be working in a hybrid way for a long time to come. As I’ve said before, if our knowledge work is hybrid, our learning will be hybrid. […]


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