Hybrid Teaching and Learning
Hybrid Teaching and Learning
This chapter examines the importance of evaluating hybrid courses for their impact on faculty, students, and the institution. Research on best practices in hybrid courses is discussed and examples provided.
Evaluating the Outcomes and Impact of Hybrid Courses
Patsy D. Moskal
Hybrid, or blended, learning is appealing to many institutions of higher education. Definitions of hybrid learning vary by institution including flipped classes, the incorporation of lecture capture and other technology integrations (Clayton Christensen Institute 2012; Graham, Henrie, and Gibbons 2014). Hybrid learning is something of an amalgam, integrating online learning with what is more commonly known as traditional face-to-face instruction in an instructionally effective manner. The percentage of instructional components that are online varies, but percentages range from 20 to 79 percent of course content (Garrison and Kanuka 2004; Graham 2013; Picciano 2006).
Hybrid learning research has found many advantages to this instructional approach, with findings of student performance exceeding that found in either exclusively face-to-face or fully online environments (Cavanagh 2011; Garrison, Kanuka, and Hawes 2002; Means, Toyama, Murphy, and Baki 2013; Moskal, Dziuban, and Hartman 2013; Riley et al. 2014; Vaughan 2007). Students in hybrid courses have been reported to have higher satisfaction in these modalities (Garrison, Kanuka, and Hawes 2002; Vaughan 2007) and universities report a benefit of maximizing classroom space and providing increased access to students in spite of increasingly tight economic times (Moskal, Dziuban, and Hartman 2013).
Certainly, hybrid learning is finding its place in the educational landscape, with institutions of higher education determining what "blend" best fits their academic goals, as well as student and faculty cultures. Although hybrid learning has the potential to be the best of both the face-to-face and online worlds, research can help us produce quality hybrid instruction by pinpointing successes and challenges.
Planning an Evaluation
Evaluation is often the last thought for those who are involved with change. Time, money, and support are often limited and much of the effort goes into development and implementation of the new approach, technology, or modality. However, with some forethought and careful planning, valuable data can be collected that is critical to informing those involved with the initiative's successes and challenges. Designed effectively, research can be used to establish a means of iterative and continual improvement for future courses, programs, and initiatives.
Anecdote is a poor measure of the effectiveness, benefits, and challenges of implementing of a hybrid initiative. So, it is imperative that careful planning of a research design occurs before the initiative begins. In designing research, there are a number of key guidelines that can help improve the quality and success of any evaluation project.
You can't analyze what you don't have . Researchers may administer a survey, but forget to ask for student demographics. Or, a Likert scale is given that shows a surprising change in student opinions, yet no open-ended question allowed students to explain. If research is designed with a thought toward the future and "what if," then it is possible to minimize the regrets of not collecting data that may be needed at some point.
Be objective . It is imperative that research include all the news and not just the good news. Results may not always provide you with the data you expect, but even negative results (or negative comments) can be valuable for continued improvement.
Tell the story well . Data are not valuable unless you use the analyses to produce a story that others can understand. Consider the audience, whether