Essential Guide to Hybrid Classroom Technology

What is a Hybrid or a Hyflex Classroom?

A hybrid classroom is a learning environment that is designed to accommodate students for face-to-face learning in combination with online learners. It is also known as a blended classroom, hybrid learning environment or hyflex.  For a hybrid classroom to effectively bring participants together on the same level, hybrid classroom technology solutions need to be adopted to create an optimal learning experience for all. 

Learning that takes place in a hybrid classroom allows students the opportunity to attend class in a physical room or, join the same session using hybrid classroom technology. Hybrid learning is not to be confused with hybrid teaching which are the strategies and methods used to deliver learning in a hybrid environment. This often requires instructors to be flexible with their teaching style and facilitate lessons by bringing the remote students together with those in the room to learn at the same pace with the same content. 

To help with hybrid teaching, instructors can use hybrid learning technology to host live classes, deliver pre-recorded lectures, and provide a way of sharing materials that allow students to collaborate and interact. 

What Technology Do I Need for a Hybrid Classroom?

An innovative education model, hybrid classrooms are commonplace offering students flexibility, accessibility and personalized learning. To accommodate both in-class and remote students it is important to have the right environment and technology in place to deliver a high-quality learning experience.

Here are the top six technological considerations when setting up or optimizing your hybrid classroom experience:

  1. Audio: Ensure that all students can hear each other and the instructor. For this reason, it is important to invest in high-quality audio equipment including microphones, headphones and speakers.
  2. Cameras: As with audio, cameras need to be strategically positioned in a hybrid classroom so students can see each other and the instructor. Again investment in quality cameras is a must to deliver an enhanced learning experience.
  3. Internet connection: For students who join remotely it’s essential to have an internet connection that is reliable to connect seamlessly and participate in a class.
  4. Video conferencing: Another important consideration when creating your hybrid learning space, is the selection of a video conferencing solution to use. There are free options available including Zoom and Microsoft Teams along with paid-for hybrid classroom solutions such as X2O OneRoom. The right technology makes all the difference when connecting and engaging with remote students in a class and engaging their participation. 
  5. Learning Management Systems: Learning institutions often use an LMS to create and deliver online learning as well as, manage student grades and assignments. Popular options include Moodle, Canvas and Blackboard which often integrate with other video conferencing solutions to provide the ultimate hybrid learning environment.
  6. Interactive displays: To optimize your hybrid classroom, it is worth considering implementing interactive displays to keep students engaged with each other and lesson content. Again some technology solutions provide integrated options or plug-in solutions. 

Why Make the Switch to a Hybrid Environment?

Many factors are part of making the switch to a hybrid learning environment. The key is to consider the learning needs and goals that you are looking to achieve. To ensure a hybrid approach that is suitable, there needs to be consideration for the available resources, student population as well, and physical and technological infrastructure. 

Summarized below are the key motives and their benefits that may influence the decision to shift towards a hybrid environment.

  1. Flexibility: Hybrid learning gives institutions the flexibility to offer classes to students in a physical classroom or alongside remote students using the same teaching materials. It allows learners to join remotely regardless of their location and can help accommodate difficult schedules or commitments. 
  2. Broaden the learning opportunities: Providing the option of face-to-face learning and online, enables institutions to offer a wider range of guest presenters and provide a more diverse and engaging learning experience.
  3. Personalized learning experiences: A hybrid environment enables learning to be tailored to individual student needs and styles. It also provides a personalized way to track progress, and allows students to learn at their own pace or focus on interests, giving a more enriching learning process.
  4. Cost-effectiveness and scalability: Making the switch to hybrid learning provides cost-savings. By reducing the need for physical infrastructure, learning institutions can downsize teaching environments or optimize resources and still teach a large number of students. Hybrid learning environments can help facilitate scaling of learning making education accessible to a broader cohort of students.
  5. Technological skills: As the speed of technological development continues to advance it is important to integrate technology into learning and provide students with the digital skills they need in addition to collaboration skills which are invaluable in the modern workforce.
  6. Enhanced engagement and interaction: Hybrid learning encourages active student engagement and interaction through a combination of in-person and online activities. It provides opportunities for collaborative learning, discussion forums, virtual group projects, and real-time interactions with instructors and peers. These interactive elements can foster a sense of community, improve the student learning experience and promote a deeper understanding of the subject matter.

There are countless ways to evolve your hybrid learning and create effective hybrid teaching environments. At X2O Media we work with our global X2O OneRoom customers to support their switch to hybrid and remote learning. We provide guidance on how best to optimize learning spaces and demonstrate how OneRoom technology can bridge the transition from traditional in-person to online learning. Contact us to understand how we can help with your challenges and requirements. 


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