Analysis of the Hybrid Education Model
The rapid advancements in technology have seen it find application in almost every aspect of life. The education sector has not been left behind either in the hype of technology. The internet platform has especially played a big role in changing approaches to education delivery. The internet has been utilized to provide online education to international citizens (Bonk & Graham, 2005).
Online education is quickly taking root and even in many cases replacing the ordinary face-to-face education delivery. The dynamic aspect of technology has seen different applications flood the market day in and out (Ausburn, 2004). This has effectively availed more user friendly applications to the consumer at an affordable price.
This paper will compare and evaluate the online education delivery models that have made it more popular among students than the traditional classroom mode. As a result of the increased online student enrollment, most universities opt for hybrid system in order to be in touch with the course of technology (Bonk & Graham, 2005).
The paper brings out an analysis of the hybrid system as a model of education delivery, technological tools used and how it has helped the university to remain competitive in terms of managing student, faculty and administration.
The hybrid system of education delivery is where a faculty integrates both in-class learning activities with online learning. The online learning in this case takes the bulk of the learning activities as the face-to-face learning activities are reduced.
The recent years have seen an increase in population of students seeking higher education. The increase has been in the inverse proportion with the physical facilities and infrastructure in the university. This effectively limits the number of students that can be admitted to a given course program at any given time because of limited sitting capacity as well as learning and teaching resources (Ausburn, 2004).
Distance was also identified as a hindrance to most students achieving their desired educational goals. The ordinary classroom education requires that a student as a teacher travel to a fixed place for educational interaction (Cameron, 2003).
With the hybrid system, the travelling is highly minimized, with the online platform; a student can be able to attend classes in the university of choice from the comfort of the house and in any part of the world. The hybrid system also reduces the cost of education quiet substantially as compared to the traditional model.
The university has been on course to solve this problem by considering a learning mode that can as much as possible bring on board many students without limitations pegged on seating capacity or teaching and learning resources.
Another objective that motivated the university to design the hybrid course modules is the need to reach as many students from all over the world as possible (Cameron, 2003). The hybrid system has been identified as a flexible program that will allow students learn at their own pace and within their own planning.
The problem of limited physical infrastructure limiting the number of students that can be admitted in any program in a university are real in the wake of the rapidly population growth. Universities admit students based on factors such as; bed capacity, size of lecture halls, the number of teaching resources as well as the number of lecturers available to train the students.
Bonk & Graham (2005) points out the case of Nigeria where the first generation public universities are so competitive. Every student aspires to join at least one of the first generation universities for higher education. The swelling number of students has outgrown the available physical infrastructure as well as the teaching resources.
The increasing number of students qualifying for university education has led to establishment of more universities to cater for the student population. Countries have been pressed by the need for technological and human resource development.
In some cases, public middle level colleges have been converted or awarded university status to offer degrees as a result reducing learning opportunities for students qualifying for diploma courses. The hybrid system invention offers a reliable solution to this problem as it decentralizes educational access to those seeking learning opportunities (Carroll, 2003).
The hybrid system will be used to increase equal to access of education between various communities of the world. There is a major gap in educational access by communities that are marginalized in terms of development. Few women especially in developing countries learn up to high school education. The reason attributed to this is poverty, lack of information and culture.
In the Michigan state for example Carroll (2003) points out that the minority groups who includes; blacks and the Hispanics hardly attain a degree level in academics. Such disparities are on the increase especially in developing nations.
Cost implication is a major impediment to educational access. The hybrid education system can reduce expenses by cutting down the amount of time that one would spend in college. This translates into less expense in terms of traveling expenses, accommodation and subsistence.
Traditional classroom learning is more expensive in terms of printing costs as notes and other learning materials would normally be given out to students to make copies (Carroll, 2003). In the hybrid system arrangement, students access learning material in soft copies online and are not under obligation to make copies.
The number of part time students is on an increase as individuals look to combine work with educational advancement. Such students require a flexible learning program such as the hybrid system. Part time students learning under the traditional classroom arrangements schedule their classes either in the evenings, during holidays or over weekends (Carroll, 2003).
The hybrid system provides students who would like to pursue academics and work a flexible learning situation, they can be able to plan for their time and effectively juggle between academics and work. It is as a result of this that the university has experienced a significant shift of student enrollment from the face-to-face learning model to the hybrid system.
Special Terms Associated with the problem
- Face-to-face: to be directly present.
- Model : a set of teaching and learning methods
- Integrate: to mix
- Impact: the changes either positive or negative as a result of learning
- Retention rates: the number of students who start and finish an education program
- Enrollment: number of students registered for a particular program
- Hybrid education: a mix of online and traditional classroom learning
The advent of distance learning to solve the problem of space as a hindrance to educational access has led to the invention of the hybrid education system. The hybrid system integrates both ordinary face-to-face learning with distance learning (Christensen, 2003). The internet provides a platform through which students and lecturers interact.
The main problem with the hybrid system is that the model proves difficult for instructors and education administrators to evaluate. Most higher learning institutions are motivated to adoption of hybrid education due to its high demand. The institutions are looking at the issue more to a business angle than learning.
Majority of students at the universities satellite locations are part-time and face the problem of coping with the hectic schedules between work and school. The non-traditional students have different learning needs as full-time students (Christensen, 2003). They also have limited time to attend to their studies due to work as well as constraints of family responsibilities.
These constraints affect students’ performance in exams. The hybrid model has become so popular especially among the non-traditional students because of its flexibility. Non-traditional students can be able to manage academic pursuit together with other life responsibilities under the hybrid system with ease than the traditional face-to-face learning (Stein, 2004).
There is an increase in enrollment of non-traditional students who demand flexibility in their academic program. Non-traditional students require flexibility so as to combine education with life issues and responsibilities (Christensen, 2003).
The growing popularity of online education programs across the educational divide makes it a requirement that the program is integrated in education. Teachers must be prepared for a future of online education as the shift has started and there are indications of the program growing in popularity to take over from traditional classroom education (Frazee, 2003).
Teacher education programs should focus more on training in relevant technological areas than outdated systems. The modern world is too dynamic in every life aspect; we need to be on the look out to embrace the changes in order to remain relevant within the changes (Stein, 2004).
The hybrid education system is formed by combining the “best practices of both ordinary education system and online education” (Cameron, 2003). Students and teachers are not restricted to regular visit to school for learning and teaching. In order to shift from the traditional face-to-face education to online model, instructors must prepare learning materials to a form that is compatible with online teaching.
Online learning materials are more effective than what instructors provide in the normal lecture hall scenario (Frazee, 2003). This is because online teaching methods are more interactive. Teaching methods relevant to online teaching include; case studies or tutorials over the internet.
Frazee (2003) points out that hybrid education is growing in popularity and being embraced by learning institution because of the decentralization aspect. It reduces the number of students flocking to campus for learning as they can interact with teachers and fellow students through interactive online platforms (Rheingold, 2002).
The system plays an important role in developing students own computer skills as well as self discipline. Online education research exposes the student to intensive computer use, expanding their skills and knowledge in computer use (Garrison & Kanuta, 2004).
Students learning under the hybrid system have to learn how to manage time and adjust to various changes in schedule on their own. The program further provides students an opportunity to learn under limited supervision (Garrison & Kanuta, 2004).
This helps built the character of the students fit for job occupation. Employers are happy working with employees who apart from having relevant skills for work can work on their own with minimum supervision.
Garrison & Kanuta (2004) observes that the hybrid system requires students to do more on individual basis, translating into active learning. Active learning gives a student an opportunity to master the content learnt through individual research work. Students learning under this program have the opportunity to engage fellow students and lecturers through online discussion fora on various topics (Rheingold, 2002).
Online discussion fora have especially been found to generate meaningful ideas from students’ more than face-to-face discussion (Graff, 2003). The reason is that most of the student who would shy off from open discussion can freely present ideas in writing rather than speaking in a physical gathering (Graff, 2003).
Since the hybrid system combines the best practices of both classroom based learning and online learning it is more superior learning model.
The hybrid system as Graff (2003) concludes, provide an increased access to education by expanding learning opportunities. Students can register for a program in a college of choice and attain a degree without making several trips to the campus.
Learning from the comfort of the home environment has given chance to many aspiring students to acquire various university academic credentials Hiltz & Goldman (2005) observes that the system has helped in overcoming the challenge of limited lecture hall space, library space as well as reducing the cost of printing.
From the environmental view, the hybrid system plays an important role in mitigating environmental degradation. In an era that environmental matters are being become a world concern, every sector is encouraged to adopt working modalities that are less harmful to the environment (Hiltz & Goldman, 2005).
Printing several pages for student handouts, assignments, and exams contribute to destruction of forests and indiscriminate dumping of waste papers that pollute the environment.
Implementation of this program as has been for many other universities, both public and private is not an easy task. Public universities struggle to get funds to invest in technological tools that support online learning.
The federal government has dragged its feet in allocating funds to this program in public universities (Johnson, 2002). Private universities have been leading the line in implementing the program but mostly focus more on the business aspect of it than academic excellence.
There has been resistance to adoption of the changes brought by the hybrid education system. Lecturers are used to the normal face-to-face learning and would not change easily to the new teaching method. Students also find it hard to adopt the new roles bestowed to them by the new learning methodology. In the ordinary learning scenario, students wait for the instructor to lead the way and give them information (Johnson, 2002).
The hybrid system subjects the student to research work and at the same time give them freedom to work on their own. Both instructors and students must shift their mindset from the comfortable teaching and learning methodologies to the new more demanding one for the program to succeed.
More time has to be committed to the design of learning materials for the online program. More emphasis in the design of the learning materials should be committed to the practical aspect (Meyer, 2003).
The material should focus more on learner activities such as; case studies, online discussions, online tests and assignments (Johnson, 2002). Instructors should probably be compensated for the extra time they put in to prepare the online content in order to be more committed to the work.
The design of the learning material should as much as possible be relate online learning methodologies to ordinary classroom learning. The technology used in developing the course materials should be simple as to be understood by the students. Leh (2002) observes that most students taking online classes prefer attending to academic activities from home.
The developed technology should therefore be one that can be accessed from the home environment without the need for high end equipment that would be out of reach in terms of cost for the students. Often students have a misconception that the system is less strenuous than the ordinary classroom program because of the less classroom meetings.
This is not true for the program as students are expected to do more on their own; instructors should guide the learners and inform them of what is required before the program starts (Leh, 2002).
Developing useful program entails collaboration efforts by various stakeholders and experts. Brainstorming is the best strategy for developing an all rounded education program. Different ideas and approaches to the same aspect brought together can generate a more concrete idea and program for learning (Leh, 2002).
This section was focused on the definition of the hybrid or blended system of education, the problem statement of the research, rationale and implementation.
The research was carried out to establish how integration of online education and face-to-face learning to form a blended system has helped achieve success among students, lecturers and administration in the university. It has been observed that the hybrid education is becoming more popular among students because of its flexible nature.
Part-time students who combine work and education can have an opportunity to attend classes with an adjustable schedule thanks to the hybrid system.
Students are also given chance to study at their own pace as long as they adhere to the rules set out by the institution. When developing learning materials, care should be observed to ensure the technology is to the level of students and does not require high-end equipment.
This section discus the methodologies used in this research as well as the research findings. The setting of the research as well as the sample for the research will also be discussed.
Mixed Method Research Design and Approach
Martyn (2003) points out three important aspects of an effective hybrid education system. First is the integration of ordinary face-to-face learning with online education.
Enough time should be committed to developing a relevant learning program, bearing in mind the changes that should be incorporated. The program should focus more on the student; it should offer more activities for the student so as to improve their performance.
This research is designed to use the mixed method of research to investigate the aspects of the hybrid education system. The method comprises of both qualitative and quantitative approaches in data analysis (Martyn, 2003).
The main concern of this work is to find out information and data that express confidence in hybrid system of education. The confidence level lies in the quality as well as the impact that this type of education has on the students. Rates of enrollment of non-traditional students at the college will also be used to gauge the popularity of the system.
The experimental research design will also be useful in this case as the study aims at making a comparison between the traditional face-to-face education and online education. The study will also seek to investigate the relationship between the two types of education in terms of in terms of their effectiveness and quality.
The experimental research will be based on education students pursuing a degree either by; face-to-face, online or hybrid education system. The case of investigation will be finding out how much the hybrid system affects their enrollment at the college.
The qualitative method of study will also be used in the study to establish the impact that the hybrid education model has on course delivery.
This will be based on data formulated from interviews and questionnaires. The research also aims at formulating a hybrid education model curriculum based on the literature review that is an integral part of this study. The data collected and formulated from interviews and questionnaires will be used to justify the use of both qualitative and quantitative research design.
Setting and Sample
The target students for this study will be the adult education students enrolled at the college. Instructors as well as college administrators will also make part of the study samples. The study will seek to find out the feelings of the students instructors and administrators about the program in terms of quality, convenience and preference over other learning models.
In order to effectively determine the sample for the research, the study will use the common scientific sampling methods. Martyn, (2003) points out that the sampling method used has to be in line with the research being conducted. The random sampling technique will be used in this case to determine the research sample.
Random sampling reduces chances of biasness in choosing the sample for the purpose of the study (Meyer, 2003). The process will involve giving numerical symbols to each member of the study. The study sample will then be selected from the whole population at random based on the numerical symbols. The numerical symbols will then be matched to the specific cases or variables designed in the study.
Istrumentation and Materials
The main instruments of information collection that will be used in this study will be; questionnaires and interviews. Questionnaires and interviews will help in collection of qualitative data from the sample population.
The data collected for this study will be analyzed both from the qualitative and quantitative approach. Coded qualitative data will be analyzed by descriptive statistics where as quantitative data will be analyzed by use of statistical software-SPSS. The analyzed data will be interpreted to inform whether the hybrid education system has any positive link with the ordinary face-to-face education.
The Pearson correlation coefficient will be used to determine the degree of relationship between the two variables. Variance and standard deviation will be used to measure variability in the data collected. The nominal variables of the research will be the learning mode, flexibility of learning program, quality of learning, age, suitability of the learning method, and level of student interaction.
Assumptions, Limitations, Scope and Delimitations
The main assumption associated with online and distance learning is that it is likely to influence the students learning outcomes. This variable will be evaluated by comparing the learner outcome for hybrid system and ordinary face-to-face learning.
Limitations experienced in the study include; that respondents must be connected to the internet, this is limiting as some respondents may not have a reliable connection to the internet. Since interaction between the researcher and the respondent was not on a face-to-face basis, it was not possible to seek clarification. The other limitation is that the study was not able get information from part-time students.
Data collection will be carried out by examining how the hybrid education program is organized and delivered to the students. To establish this information, the study will focus on implementation and analysis procedure for the program.
Formative experiment and system analysis will also be utilized in data analysis. In formative experiment, the main focus will be on instruction process, roles played by students and instructors as well as type and effectiveness of the technology platform used.
Limitations of Evaluations
There exist a number of limitations concerning data evaluation in existing data and information about hybrid education system. There is lack of accurate data to evaluating the program, current information and data are based on approximations which do not reveal the actual picture of the model.
Ethical Issues and Concerns
The main ethical consideration observed in this research was the issue of confidentiality and privacy of information given to the researcher by respondents. Information collected from students including test scores, age, name and perception of the course were all coded to hide the identity of the respondents.
The research indicates that the hybrid education model is a major modern invention in education. The model has helped improve student performance and developed interactive learning through online interactive communities.
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