What is the HyFlex Course Model and is it here to stay?
The acceleration to Online Learning as a result of campus closures has led to educators having to reimagine Teaching and Learning. The innovative use of online tools has brought with it a completely new way of engaging with students and this presents a number of challenges. While some might see this as a short-term solution until reopening campus, others see this as an opportunity to introduce a new OnDemand approach to education.
What is HyFlex?
HyFlex turns on its head the traditional model in the same way Netflix has affected terrestrial TV. Hyflex is OnDemand education and requires institutions to rethink how students engage with educators, course resources, and their peers.
Hyflex combines face-to-face and online learning. Each lecture and learning activity is offered in-person, synchronously online, and asynchronously online. Students decide how they want to participate in each class. The model provides students autonomy, flexibility, and seamless engagement no matter where, how, or when students engage in the course. The model not only benefits students but also educators who can attend remotely while students join physically from a classroom.
Synchronous learning is online or distance education that happens in real-time.
Asynchronous learning occurs through online channels without real-time interaction.
How does HyFlex compare to Hybrid Learning and Blended Learning?
Blended Learning combines in-person teaching with asynchronous learning methods. Asynchronous learning is where students have access to online exercises and instructional videos that they can access in their own time. Blended learning pre-dates campus closures.
Hybrid Learning is a teaching method where educators teach in-person and remote students at the same time. Asynchronous teaching methods can be used to supplement synchronous, face to face learning.
HyFlex Learning, as the name suggests, brings together Hybrid Learning with the flexibility that gives students the option of attending sessions in-person, online, or the option of both. Students can change their mode of attendance weekly or by topic, according to need or preference.
How does it work?
Educators develop the course, tools, and channels and organises the curriculum to reflect that structure. This means that all physical classrooms must have the technology to stream classes online. All educational resources must be available online prior to the original live class, with chat functionality available for student participation.
What are the main adoption challenges?
The main challenge to implementing HyFlex revolves around the technology requirements needed to adopt a multi-channel course, along with the people requirement to consistently deliver all coursework on multiple channels.
Is HyFlex a reaction to COVID19?
Hyflex was developed in 2006 by Brian Beatty, associate professor of instructional technologies at San Francisco State University, so it is nothing new. Of course, recent events have driven this model to the top of many institutions’ agendas.
While COVID19 is top of the agenda presently, this model anticipates other threats including climate change, natural disasters, and other health crises.
Why is HyFlex gaining so much traction?
Over the last few months, institutions have been deciding how they will deliver teaching and learning for the upcoming academic year. Some are putting in place strict campus guidelines and moving forward with reopening their campus for in-person teaching. Other institutions have decided to continue online learning exclusively with plans to return to campus when certain criteria are met. While other institutions are looking to deliver a hybrid approach to accommodate student’s needs. All three approaches have an eye on returning to campus ASAP.
Problems start to arise when student’s decide to either defer or refuse to set foot on campus for personal reasons. This has caused a severe backlog in enrolment as administrators deal with student registration on a case by case basis. What if there was a way to cater to all students, regardless of external developments, by delivering teaching and learning to accommodate everyone?
HyFlex aims to deliver a flexible solution that meets the needs of all students immediately. By offering in-person, synchronously online, and asynchronously online, students can decide how they wish to participate.