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The differences between hybrid and traditional high schools
Keep hearing about the hybrid learning model, but still unsure what it is and how it compares to the traditional schooling system everyone was used to?
As times change, new technologies emerge, and our lives change with them. One of these technologies, for example, is Artificial Intelligence - which has taken over as everyone’s personal assistant in the blink of an eye. On the other hand, hybrid education is another big change in education infrastructure, and people are curious to find out what makes it special. Well, quite a lot of things.
Defining Traditional Education
Most of today’s adults grew up attending a traditional high school. Traditional education is the type of education that always relies on the teacher's direct engagement with students.
The students must attend a physical school, and most of the time, the teaching methods include a teacher presenting the subject matter or reading instructions for exercises and/or assessing the students’ knowledge.
This educational form is a time-honoured method that follows a strict schedule, and classes are usually made up of groups of 10-30 students - depending on the location and population number of the area.
The Hybrid Learning Model
Hybrid learning, also known as blended learning, has gained traction as an innovation that brings us closer to the future of education. It combines a mix of online education with in-person experiences, erasing traditional education's boundaries, like physical location or having to adhere to strict schedules.
For example, Spark Hybrid High School - a hybrid high school created by the founder and CEO of Transylvania College, Ruxandra Mercea - is one of the high schools that accepted the challenge of adopting the hybrid learning model.
Their teaching approach reflects a commitment to meet the needs of families who seek an alternative to the traditional schooling system and seek to develop students as whole human beings - not just academic learners.
The hybrid learning model at Spark School is a dynamic fusion of online and offline learning, adhering to an 80/20 formula. Digital learning constitutes 80% of the educational experience, leaving the remaining 20% for in-person interactions.
While the percentage split can vary across schools, the fundamental idea remains consistent – the modern family values the flexibility and individualised approach that the hybrid learning offers.
In contrast to the rigid admission periods of traditional schools, hybrid schools like Spark usually embrace flexibility at every turn - including the admissions period.
Students can enrol at any point in the year without adhering to admissions schedules. The fusion of active and passive learning styles empowers students to personalise their educational journeys and follow a learning path they are truly interested in.
They have the autonomy to determine when, where, and how they learn, unlike following rigid schedules or being physically tied to a place like a traditional school.
Empowering Students Through Choice
One of the main differences between hybrid and traditional high schools lies in the curriculum's adaptability to every student’s individual learning pace.
Traditional classrooms often must adhere to a set curriculum, regardless of students' comprehension levels. In contrast, the hybrid model permits students to pace their learning according to their understanding and schedule.
While it might be harder to follow everyone’s individual learning style and pace, hybrid schools make this possible because of the asynchronous learning nature that allows students to learn together when they want to but also allows them the space to learn alone - or with the support of a tutor, faster or slower when they need it.
Exploring Diverse Learning Styles
Hybrid High Schools foster authenticity through diverse learning styles that you don’t usually meet in traditional classrooms.
For example, peer-to-peer learning empowers students to share insights, mirroring the natural inclination to heed peers' opinions. Project-based learning immerses students in hands-on experiences, mirroring the efficacy of learning through practical application. Small group discussions and 1:1 tutoring sessions dismantle the conventional lecture format, cultivating an engaging learning environment.
In a traditional school, the learning methods usually consist of reading materials, exercises, homework, group projects, and knowledge assessments.
Offline Learning: Bridging the Physical Gap
It is also important to acknowledge the offline components that enrich the learning journey of every student who is attending a hybrid high school.
For example, subjects like chemistry and biology necessitate laboratory work that cannot be done online. Exams are also an important part of a learning journey, and most of the time, these happen offline as well.
Hybrid schools facilitate these experiences through local learning hubs or exam centres.
Pros and cons of Traditional Learning
- Structured Learning Approach
- Cultivates punctuality
- Enhanced Social Interaction Opportunities
- Positive Competitiveness between students (can become a negative thing quickly)
- Additional travel and/or housing costs to attend a certain physical school
- Limited Flexibility in Study Hours, physical location, admission period, etc.
- Time-consuming travel or commute in case school is not near
- Note-taking pressures
- Dangers such as bullying, physical accidents in the classroom, etc.
Pros and Cons of Hybrid Learning
- Personalised Interactions with tutors and Learning Journey advisors - Diverse Learning Approaches
- Allows Learning from Comfort Zones
- Flexibility in Study Hours & Location, Admission Period, learning style - Teaches students time management & personal responsibility skills - Allows for a personalised learning path following the interests and goals of every student
- Requires technology such as laptop, phone, tablet, earphones, etc.
- Parents' & students’ responsibility to find exam centres
Choosing Your Path: Is Hybrid Right for You?
Hybrid learning may not be a universal solution for every family, but it holds immense potential for those seeking a dynamic and revolutionary educational experience.
The journey from traditional to hybrid learning is a transformative shift in the landscape of high school education, and we expect things to develop even further in the coming years.
As we strive towards an era of dynamic learning, the hybrid model highlights the importance of choice, flexibility, and embracing innovation to pave the way for a future-ready generation. Would you try hybrid schooling?
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